The Worldwide Community of Rheumatologists (Part 2: Southern Hemisphere Edition)

2012-07-17 19.30.21

“The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.” – Bill Gates

In my last post I started talking about reasons for building your community in social media. For newcomers to social media, the idea of connecting with people on the other side of the world can be both intimidating and exciting.

On his blog, Derek Sivers (entrepreneur/programmer and must-read blogger) said this about balancing your local and global community:

You can focus your time locally or globally.

But if you over-commit yourself locally, you under-commit yourself globally, and vice-versa.

Derek concludes that:

 Both are necessary. Neither is right or wrong, but you need to be aware that you can choose the local/global balance that feels best to you, no matter the norms.

Although I agree with this, I also feel that for most people, the balance is probably shifted locally. The fact we can even consider the possibility of over-committing globally is something that probably has only been possible in the last generation or so with high-speed travel and widespread communications. I think most people would benefit from expanding their network globally.

Over this series of posts, I hope to profile a number of the most active rheumatologists in the world of social media, with hopes that we can continue to expand our global community. In this post I start with three rheumatologists from the Southern hemisphere: two from Australia and one from Colombia.


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Name: Dr. Irwin Lim
Twitter: @_connectedcare
Website: bjcconnectedcare.com

1. Briefly tell us about your background/training in medicine. Did you have any prior career before/outside medicine? 

I received my medical education at the University of Sydney. I was going to opt for cardiology but while working as a junior internal medicine registrar in rheumatology, I decided that I really enjoyed the diversity of conditions & the long-term patient relationships one has in rheumatology. I also liked the work-life balance most rheumatologists seemed to enjoy.

I am now in my 10 year as a specialist rheumatologist.

2. Where are you located? If someone were to visit from another country, what 2-3 things would you want them to see or do where you live?

I live in Sydney, Australia.

Two things I would suggest an overseas visitor do:
a) Walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the North Shore to Circular Quay, where they can then enjoy the Sydney Opera House & have a lovely meal with gorgeous views of our beautiful harbour
b) Visit one of our iconic beaches, such as Bondi Beach. Go along a walk on the foreshore.

3. What languages do you speak?

Only English

4. Is there anything unique about practicing rheumatology where you live (advantages, difficulties, etc)?

I am lucky to live in a cosmopolitan city in a rich, modern country. While all health systems have their problems, on the whole, patients here are lucky and receive a very high standard of care in both public and private sectors.

5. Any interests or hobbies outside of rheumatology that you would like to mention?

I have 3 children under 9, and that invariably means a busy, fulfilling family life.

My other work role is as a director of a multidisciplinary, group rheumatology practice. The number of people in our organisation, BJC Health, now numbers over 30.

I am lucky that my work is also my main interest. My conviction is that best care for arthritis & rheumatic conditions requires an integrated approach and so much of what I do involves working towards the goal of creating an environment for us to deliver positive outcomes for patients through this Connected Care.

6. What types of social media do you use most frequently? Which are the most useful?

I mostly use my blog and twitter. I have a LinkedIn profile, a personal Facebook account & my clinic has a Facebook page.

7. Has social media affected how you practice rheumatology? If so, how?

Yes, I actually have a circle of international rheumatologists that I can now rapidly communicate with & get help from.

I have also learnt more about what patients think and feel, and I think that in turn improves how I interact and treat my own patients.

In my clinic, I believe that I do good work and help people. With social media, I can extend this. My interactions can potentially help many more people. This does empower me, and at the same time, creates a clear sense of responsibility.

8. Do you have a blog? If so, how often do you blog? What do you try to write about?

bjcconnectedcare.com

Attempting to write 2-3 posts a week.

Quoting the site, my reason for blogging:
Sadly, there is a general lack of awareness and misinformation about Arthritis & related Musculoskeletal diseases. This blog does attempt to correct this. In addition, we discuss good health & rheumatology in general. 

bjcconnectedcare.com now attracts over 3000 unique visitors a month so that motivates me to continue


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Name: Dr. Philip Robinson
Twitter: @philipcrobinson

1. Briefly tell us about your background/training in medicine. Did you have any prior career before/outside medicine?

I started medical school at the age of 17 (as is the way in the undergraduate medical system in New Zealand), I finished and trained in internal medicine and rheumatology, and became a consultant/specialist in 2010. I thought I wanted to be a pharmacist, but on getting to university medicine seemed much cooler, so I decided to do that. I was the last one into my medical class, so by the skin of my teeth.

2. Where are you located? If someone were to visit from another country, what 2-3 things would you want them to see or do where you live?

I live in Brisbane, Australia, where I was working seeing patients and doing research. If you want to visit Australia, I would be the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru (also called Ayers rock) and also visit the exciting contemporary city of Sydney. If you were to ask me where to go in New Zealand, (I am a New Zealander) then I would say the Bay of Islands in the north, with beautiful bush, inlets and history, the Tongariro plateau in the middle of the north island for skiing, climbing, walking and sightseeing, Rotorua for a cultural and geothermal experience, and the bottom of the South Island where Queenstown is and skiing, white water rafting and other adventure sports are. Lastly Wellington, which is a small capital city of only 300,00 or so, which has the greatest coffee in the world and interesting art and people.

3. What languages do you speak?

English

4. Is there anything unique about practicing rheumatology where you live (advantages, difficulties, etc)?

Australia has great access to biologics (7 for RA), compared to NZ (only 2 for RA), the difference is based on a single public payer in each country with differing thresholds for paying for things based on both cost, budget and cost-effectiveness assessments. The medicare system in Australia supports many people to see private rheumatologists, and as such about 80% percent of people see private rheumatologists. This has advantages and disadvantages, but it means combined research/clinical jobs in hospitals are difficult to secure (and fund) and as such research in clinical rheumatology is held back in my opinion.

5. Any interests or hobbies outside of rheumatology that you would like to mention?

I like to cycle for fitness.

6. What types of social media do you use most frequently? Which are the most useful?

I use Twitter for interacting about professional/rheumatology topics, and I use Facebook to keep track of friends. FB really is just for making sure I don’t lose contact with people. I think Twitter is much better and more up-to-date and accessible. I use Twitter daily.

7. Has social media affected how you practice rheumatology? If so, how?

It has made me aware that there are many people who source their information from the internet, and often act upon it without hesitation (they tell me this in clinic), this in empowering for patients only if they have the right sort of information in my opinion.

8. Do you have a blog? If so, how often do you blog? What do you try to write about?

No, I don’t have a blog because I don’t think I would time to post regularly on it (I am trying to finish a PhD).

My PhD is on the genetics of ankylosing spondylitis, specifically on a gene called ERAP1 which edits what antigens are shown to the immune system. I am using mostly computational/statistical genetics, but also doing laboratory immunology to determine the functional consequences of the genetic changes associated with AS. 


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Name: Dr. Carlo V Caballero
Twitter: @carvicab
Blog: phdciencia.blogspot.com

1. Briefly tell us about your background/training in medicine. Did you have any prior career before/outside medicine?

My dad was a Pediatrician. I am Internist and Rheumatologist now for 20 years. I also studied health care management because a law in our country similar to Obamacare , then studied medical ultrasound to improve my skills reviewing patients and now doing a PhD in health communication because I love the possibilities of Social Media.

2. Where are you located? If someone were to visit from another country, what 2-3 things would you want them to see or do where you live?

Barranquilla, Colombia. The corner of South America.

1. Happiest country of the world and Barranquilla is the happiest City in the Country. So, the people.

2. Second biggest carnival in the world just after Rio de Janeiro. It’s a masterpiece of UNESCO because a great diversity. So, the carnival in february its a most.

3. 1 and a half Million people, 4th largest city in Colombia. Its 5 times a port (air, land, river, sea and communications). Largest city at Atlantic Coast and 2 and 15 minutes by airplane from Miami (We are close)

3. What languages do you speak?

Spanish and English

4. Is there anything unique about practicing rheumatology where you live (advantages, difficulties, etc)?

We have to do everything. In the mornings I am a Associate Professor of Medicine at a University Hospital. I attend also patients there (4 times a week), teach and do research. In the afternoon my private practice (patients all weekdays) and twice a week I have another consult in a clinic with associated rheumatologist.

I wake up early (5-5-30 am) and finish late (7-8 pm) everyday.

5. Any interests or hobbies outside of rheumatology that you would like to mention?

Tennis (club player), try to play 3 or 4 times a week (weekends for sure, Fridays in the morning and another day in the week). Writing and reading about everything and not just medicine also its a kind of hobby .

6. What types of social media do you use most frequently? Which are the most useful?

Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn and recently also Pinterest. Twitter its a great news feed, love hangouts and communities features in Google plus, very social in Facebook and work and field connections in LinkedIn. So each one counts in some way. Using Pinterest for quotes and boards for patients.

7. Has social media affected how you practice rheumatology? If so, how?

Most important to me is that my practice is updated with current trends in the Rheumatology World being in a ¨Third world country.¨ And my colleagues, students and patients know that.

8. Do you have a blog? If so, how often do you blog? What do you try to write about?

Yes, about Medicine, Rheumatology, medical Education and Web 2.0. I blog as often I can and have something to tell (at least 1 post a week is current goal, mostly each 2 weeks)

9. Anything else you would like to say that I wouldn’t know to ask about?

I see Social Media as my Personal Learning Enviroment. Learn and engage with so many intelligent people around the world. It’s a big change. No barriers for knowledge.

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Thanks to everyone who has helped on this project. More to come…

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