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Name: Nancy Reau, MD, FAASLD

Institution: Rush University Medical Center

Find me on: Twitter — @NancyReau

How do you use social media in your professional life?
My use of social media is evolving. Initially, I focused on circulating information relevant to our department. However over time, I realized that social media is an important platform for bringing topics into discussion that I felt were important, such as the increasing rates of alcohol use disorder in young people and gender inequality in positions of leadership.

What platforms bring you the most value and why?
Twitter has been the easiest tool for me as a physician because it is very user friendly, content is concise (no more than 280 characters), and it offers high visibility. Twitter is also incredibly useful in sharing educational resources and new information from conferences (like The Liver Meeting®) with fellow physicians who might not normally attend the meeting. Much of what I circulate on Twitter has a broad audience and is meant to stimulate more reading / education, not as a "go to" exhaustive resource. YouTube is also an excellent tool for offering educational resources. The Transplant Team at Rush uses our YouTube channel as a resource for our patients to learn more about the liver and kidney transplantation process.

Why is it important for hepatologists and hepatology health care professionals to be on social media?
Visibility is important to our patients, but awareness is the most powerful medium. Most liver disease is asymptomatic until severe complications. Making those at risk aware is equally as important as making those tasked with screening aware. In addition, the more kudos you can offer to the hard working individuals who allow your department to run, the better. Patients need to know that your medical team is more than your physician. Rush’s Hepatology department, along with several of our clinicians and staff, have been recognized within the system as some of the most innovative and hard working.

What tips do you have for your colleagues who want to get started on social media?
Don’t be intimidated. The process may take time. When I first started my Twitter account, my 14 year old son offered to friend me because I had so few followers! Twitter and YouTube are amazing platforms, but have a vision beyond just capturing views.