To amplify Black voices in medicine, non-Black doctors hand over their Twitter accounts

#ShareTheMicNowMed is giving a louder voice to Black female doctors on Twitter.

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By Erika Edwards

Voices of Black women in the field of medicine are reaching a broader audience Monday, as non-Black doctors handed over their Twitter accounts to Black female colleagues.

The online event called #ShareTheMicNowMed is meant to highlight the work of Black female physicians and encourage more diversified conversations on social media.

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"We want to get an opportunity to introduce ourselves and our interests to a larger audience, and also one that very likely looks different than who we usually communicate with," Dr. Rebekah Fenton, a pediatrician and fellow with Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, said.

Fenton is tweeting from the account of Dr. Lucy Kalanithi, an internal medicine doctor with Stanford Health Care. Kalanithi has nearly 30,000 Twitter followers. Fenton has 6,700.

About 10 other Black women in medicine are tweeting from accounts of non-Black physicians for the event.

Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford, a physician specializing in obesity at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Dr. Stella Ammah, an HIV doctor in New York City, are also participating.

The event is an offshoot of a similar social media effort earlier this month, when white celebrities, including the actresses Julia Roberts and Gwyneth Paltrow, turned over their Instagram accounts to influential Black leaders.

On Monday, Dr. Ayana Jordan, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, is taking over the account of Dr. Arghavan Salles, a Stanford surgeon.

#ShareTheMicNowMed is not "a way that white women are trying to uplift Black women in a way that they can't do themselves," Jordan said in a video on Twitter. "No. They're leveraging platforms and power."

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Fenton is using the platform to amplify racial inequalities particular to Black adolescents, as well as the challenges that Black medical students face.

Black physicians have a unique view of the health care system, often coming from communities that have greater health disparities, entering a field that's long been led by predominantly white doctors and scientists.

"The reality is that Black people have either less access to health care, or worse experiences in health care or delayed detection of their conditions," Fenton said.

She encouraged doctors of all races and ethnicities to become more vocal, acknowledging and addressing patterns in which different groups, especially African Americans, are treated in health care.

"If I just do my job as a physician without adding in the experiences that I've had to deconstruct these issues, then I have the same potential to see those inequities in my care, even as a Black physician."