Dear Program Director: Get your program on Twitter!

Dear Program Director: Get your program on Twitter!


Dear Program Directors,important

I understand how tough it can be to come up with quality resident education to fulfill educational requirements on a weekly basis all year around. For most programs that is approximately 5 hours of conference material, once a week, pretty much every week of the year. That equals 260 hours of educational material that needs to be high yield, engaging, and entertaining enough to hold the attention of the millennial generation. This is an especially daunting task if tackled alone. So don’t do this alone! Start a program-wide Twitter account!


Social media is solving the challenge of bringing learners together, in one geographical location to share in resident education. And this is already happening on a regular basis every week on Twitter via the hashtag #EMConf. A core group of residents and faculty from various EM programs across the country have grouped together and came up with the concept of tweeting out conference learning pearls from their respective weekly EM resident conferences. This way, no matter where a resident or EM program is located, they can access these learning pearls from other residencies. Imagine learning points from interesting simulation cases, EBM literature, inspiration from grand round speakers, career pointers – all funneled to your  account. Twitter is also a great way to review learning points after the fact by simply accessing the hashtag #EMConf.  The resident can browse through the points at their leisure.

Dr. David Marcus (@EMIMDoc), has created a specific website that collects all the tweets that have ever been sent on #EMConf.  (This site also does a great job of listing other hashtags associated with the FOAM conversation.)

How can a program participate?

  1. Create a Twitter account that represents the EM residency program.
  2. Decide who will be in charge of that account: program director, assistant director, chief resident, designated resident.
  3. If there are restrictions placed by the institution’s social media policy, then residents and EM faculty can tweet learning pearls through their own individual accounts.
  4. Modify your institution’s social media policy.
  5. Remember to incorporate the hashtag #EMConf into each tweet.
  6. Write a tweet pearl.
  7. Press send.

Why join?

Mike Cadogan, the brains behind FOAM and collaborative education states it best, use Twitter and #EMConf to:


Nervous about starting?

No problem! You can still participate by simply reading through the pearls that are generated each week without having to comment or contribute.

I look forward to learning from all the programs around the country and engaging with you all in the new wave of medical education via social media and Twitter!

Nikita – your friendly Twitter advocate

P.S. I am more than willing to discuss this further with anyone, just send me a tweet!


Nikita Joshi, MD

Nikita Joshi, MD

ALiEM Chief People Officer and Associate Editor
Clinical Instructor
Department of Emergency Medicine
Stanford University
  • Jeffery Hill, MD

    Great post! I started @UCMorningReport for our residency (University of Cincinnati Emergency Medicine) as a newly minted Education Fellow about a year and a half ago and it has been a great experience. I have a very open and receptive residency leadership team so was fortunate to not encounter any barriers to starting the twitter feed there. I also explored whether our hospital or university had a social media policy (they did not) and sat down with the legal department of the university to discuss the use of social media and a departmental educational blog we’re starting up. I was fearful the legal department would pose a significant obstacle, but in the end they were quite helpful and supportive.

    The biggest obstacle I have faced is getting enough people familiar enough with the technology to help live tweet #EMConf. It’s simply not possible to have one faculty member attend conference each week.

    My 2 biggest pieces of advice would be to define up front what your goals are with the twitter feed (sharing intermittent pearls, live tweets of #EMConf, recruitment, etc.) and to get a group of people together that share those goals to help run the account.

    • njoshi8

      Hi Jeff,
      Thanks so much for sharing your experience. This whole endeavor is an evolving machine, every institution will present a different challenge. Some places are very firm with their social media policy, others are not so much. But the important thing is to try. Social Media in MedED is a paradigm shift, it will not happen by itself, but rather with a few dedicated pioneers. Thank you Jeff for being so active in #EMConf!

  • Adam Kellogg

    We started @BaystateEM about a month ago as an unofficial residency account mostly to participate in #EMConf. Had been pre-contemplative, and then lurking with a personal account for a while, but a few very enthusiastic proponents got us to finally get involved (@njoshi8, @LWestafer, and @CriticalCareNow).
    The biggest questions for now is how to use it beyond #EMConf and getting more of the residency involved.

    • njoshi8

      Hey Adam! Definitely the next challenge is the next step. I believe it will be in recognizing trends in education that happens.. and also to share in large scale journal club, share in grand rounds speakers, share techniques in sim/ebm and other small group workshops. What do you think?

  • Jeffrey’s point of getting legal involved is interesting. I hadn’t though there would be much risk, but I could see in more litigious environments that it could easily be a liability.
    I would like to extend the invite to more than PDs though. I started our program’s @CCEMRP as a lowly assistant prof, and have given the responsibility to our chief residents.

    • njoshi8

      I would love to see more PDs also.. but honestly, I want to see anyone who is enthusiastic about it and will make sure to put in the weekly effort. It may just be that the PD gets wrapped up meetings and can’t attend or other barriers.. regardless, I hope to also one day extend from program accounts to resident private accounts so that each place can develop a dynamic conversation within their own institution.

  • Rahul

    Limited to US only or can ACGME international join in too? Greetings from Singapore.

    • njoshi8

      Hi Rahul, We plan to make this an international project. We also have a map that we have created that is able to include any international program, so far we only have canadian programs, but if you have an account for a program in Singapore, we would love to include you and have you share your learning pearls too! We will include you on the map as well, let us know!

  • Temple EM Residency

    I started @TempleEM last year as a second year resident with the goal of using it for applicant recruitment, but soon found it to be a rich resource for posting about didactics and engaging with other programs through #FOAMed and #EMconf. Our program directors were very enthusiastic about the idea and have been tremendously supportive.

    When starting the account, we reached out to marketing to approve our name and logo, then legal to write a brief disclaimer for the profile:

    They also recommended following these guidelines from KevinMD on avoiding HIPAA violations in social media:

    So far we’ve seen a ton of engagement with our account from outside our institution, and a slowly growing following from our own residents and faculty. Many follow by bookmarking our page without joining Twitter – I think Twitter’s complicated lingo and formatting can still be a major barrier.

    It’s been wonderful to see so many more EM programs getting involved recently! #EMconf is a great way to connect with and to learn from other programs. It’s easy to be limited to our own institution’s style of practice and learning – I love hearing from different perspectives.

    -Shannon McNamara (@ShannonOMac)