I thought there would be a few friends who would pick it up and like it, physicians who I had engaged with about racism, and it was directed at them, but I had no idea that it had general appeal. I still don’t totally understand it. I think it was timing.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 37 – No 05 – May 2018
JF: I think people actually do want to hear doctors’ frontline experiences with that authenticity. A lot of the responses you got were enjoyable, but you also received negative feedback from people who aren’t ready to hear these kinds of things. Could you describe what that’s been like?
EC: To some extent, the trolls will always come out. But there are a lot of people who said that they thought that I made it all up. There were over 2,000 comments on Twitter. There were Facebook posts that blew up even more than the Twitter posts. I really can’t go deep down into the Facebook posts because either they double down on racism or they say I made it up so I could get my “five minutes.” There’s a lot of that. Even with a bunch of other physicians chiming in and saying that it is completely believable and normal in our workplace, other people are like, “It’s too much or too extreme, and I can’t believe that happens.”
JF: You recently said, maybe tongue-in-cheek, that your whole life changed because of a tweet. In what way?
EC: For two weeks, I just got slaughtered with media requests. I had the CNN appearance, which was one of the most stressful experiences of my life because I’m not a public person, and I was trying to finish a research grant. I was ready for things to get back to normal. But I got on the map as a physician who could speak to a number of issues, and my Twitter following is now a ton of journalists. Almost every week, someone in the media reaches out about a new tweet. I’m contributing for SELF and for NBC’s new editorial site. Overall, it’s a positive thing and an opportunity to advocate for our field and portray physicians in a positive light.
JF: Now that you’re known as both an academic and a public figure, what do you think about the balance of FOAM, mainstream media, and peer-reviewed research publication? Which is more important, and how should the academic world respond to this?