This week, in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico some of the country’s thought leaders in medical communication met for the American Medical Association’s National Association of Medical Communicators (NAMC) 29th Annual Conference. NAMC is an organization of physicians and media professionals dedicated to effective medical messaging.
There’s never been a better time for a medical group dedicated to getting the message right.With mainstream media becoming marginalized and journalism in a state of morphogenesis, health messaging has been left to the dogs – or just about anyone with a computer or smartphone.As physicians and we have two choices: 1) allow those with the best SEO to influence the health decisions of the public or 2) create a visible, active presence that educates the public and emphasizes reliable, evidence-based information.
Despite the apparent simplicity of e-health and the empowerment of the patient there actually remains a role for physicians. But for physicians to be relevant they must be present and actively involved in new media. We have to remind the world that as MDs, we’re actually still here. In the words this week of Dr. Valerie Jones, CEO and founder of Better Health, the internet is a swimming pool and we need lifeguards.
While NAMC has traditionally helped physicians use mainstream media outlets to convey the message of health, NAMC could evolve as the coreorganization to help physicians and PR professionals navigate and use new media. No group currently exists for this critical niche.
If you are a medical or media professional with an interest in health communication I would encourage you to join NAMC. Medical professionals need to redefine their role in the social media space and it can only be done with the input of those who are already there.