Countering medical misinformation through social media

February 16, 2023 | 4pm ET

While medical mis- and disinformation about numerous health topics have long run rampant online, the dissemination of misleading information during the COVID-19 pandemic was unprecedented, leading to vaccine avoidance, mask refusal, and the use of unfounded medications.

This conversation will explore how medical misinformation is impacting the physician community and making it harder for clinicians to build trust with their patients and colleagues. The speakers will offer ways for clinicians to have conversations about misinformation in the exam room and online, as well as provide resources and suggestions for clinicians that want to play an active role in mitigating misinformation on social media.

Daniel Wolfson, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, ABIM Foundation

Hussain Lalani, MD, MPH, General Internal Medicine Fellow, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School

David Scales, MPhil, MD, PhD, Internal medicine hospitalist and medical sociologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and Chief Medical Officer at Critica

Hussain Lalani, MD, MPH,  is a board-certified primary care internist, health policy researcher, and fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He is the Co-Founder of ThisIsOurShot and VacunateYa (TIOS-VY), one of the largest networks of medical professionals (i.e. doctors, nurses, pharmacists) working together to spread accurate health information and combat misinformation via trusted messengers on social media. Hussain is a first-generation Muslim-American from Dallas who earned his medical degree at Duke University, his Master of Public Health at Johns Hopkins, and completed his internal medical residency at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Parkland Hospital. His research at the Program on Regulation, Therapeutics, and Law (PORTAL), focuses on understanding the challenges and inequities patients face in accessing affordable prescription drugs and evaluating the impact of health policies and interventions.

David Scales, MPhil, MD, PhD, is an internal medicine hospitalist and medical sociologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and Chief Medical Officer at Critica, an NGO focused on building scientific literacy. His dissertation examined how the World Health Organization seeks to control the spread of diseases across international borders. His post-doc was at at Harvard Medical School in spatial epidemiology, using non-traditional sources for epidemic disease detection. He completed a primary care Internal Medicine residency at Cambridge Health Alliance. His research focuses on medical communication in clinical and online settings with his current research focus on understanding how to address misinformation within communities as well as how structural factors affect our information environments to allow misinformation to propagate and misconceptions to persist. Dr. Scales’ work leverages qualitative and quantitative methods to the problem of misinformation, training “infodemiologists” to build COVID-19 vaccine confidence in online communities with community-oriented motivational interviewing. He has also written about applying models of epidemic disease surveillance and response as a guide to the problem of misinformation.

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