Thursday, December 09, 2010


(Apologies in advance for any obvious signs that this entry was written under duress--my browser crashed after some thoughtful noodling of this entry, and now I have to leave for work in twenty minutes because I'm on call tonight.)

So it's official, I'll be presenting on a panel about blogging in medicine along with these two very talented gentlemen (John from "Glass Hospital" and Rob from "Musings of a Distractible Mind") on a panel about blogging in medicine at the Iowa Writer's Workshop conference in April. We're all pretty excited, they more likely about the conference, me about the prospect of traveling somewhere--anywhere--without two kids and six carry-ons and a easy-one-hand-folding stroller that seems like anything but once you get up to the security checkpoint and everyone is yelling at you to take off your shoes. This will be the first time since Cal was born that I will be going anywhere without kids in tow. Even my Oral Boards, which usually involves some degree of travel for almost everyone, was fortuitously offered in Atlanta my year--which was awesome, because we all know there's no Oral Board prep that can quite equal the night before spent in your own bed.

Anyway, if I may ingratiate myself upon you, a few things:

1.) We need a good title for the panel. Our original panel was something like, "WebMD: a Panel of Doctors from the Blogosphere" which was serviceable. It was catchy at least, and even though I hate the word blogosphere (sounds like someone throwing up a beach ball) there really is no good equivalent that I'm aware of. In any event, we may have to change the title, at least the first part, as it has been pointed out to us by conference administrators that for one, "WebMD" is a copyrighted name, and for deuce, we don't really want to seem like we're affiliated with or endorsing "WebMD."

So what do you think? Since this is a conference that's going to be teeming with doctor/writer types, I think the panel name should make it clear somehow that we're talking specifically about writing on the internet (or "blogging" as it were--I am crusty and ancient and very Web 1.0, but I am aware that this is the vernacular now and will try to say that with a minimum of eye-rolling air-quotes). Ideally it would be something witty though not goofy--our panel will probably be more light-hearted than most, but as many of the other talks tend towards the more serious aspects of writing in medicine (the monitors beeped and I held her wrinkled hand at the moment of her death kind of thing), I don't want us to seem like three yuck-a-lucks piling out of a tiny clown car or anything.

Anyway, any thoughts on a good panel title? Thanks in advance!

2.) Are you in Iowa, or even if you're not, would you perhaps be interested in attending a conference about writing in medicine? You should! At the very least there are some CME credits to eke out of the experience, and you can be sure that I'm going to load myself up with what I can. If enough people are going and interested and very, very bored, maybe we can even have some kind of a meet-up one evening. That's not weird, right? Could be fun? We could meet each other and chat and drink ethanol (because, you know, IOWA). Just don't murder me. Maybe more on this as we get closer to April. Registration for the conference isn't open yet, but I think you can get on their mailing list and they will let you know when it is.

OK, I have to collect my frozen dinner and get ready to go to work now. Later I will tell you about how I got pulled over by the police for reckless driving, a story that sounds much more exciting than it actually was. Be cool, stay in school.


  1. Anonymous11:06 AM

    1. Bloggers, MD.

  2. Anonymous11:11 AM

    Dr Au, I LOVE YOU! Lol your posts totally crack me up ("be school, stay in school" sorry crime of air-quotes could not be helped) and make my day every single time. I'm serious.

    If you have any sort of stats counter you would know where exactly I'm from and how I've been stalking you recently so I'll just play safe and be anonymous :P

    Title suggestion - Blogging, doctoring and everything in between? Would sound better if they somehow rhymed I'm sure...

  3. Anonymous11:36 AM

    you will love Iowa--Is it an open session? I am part of a group of medical librarians. There may be some interest. I would be happy to meet and greet--not a crazy stalker--and show you where you can get official corn-heads for the whole fam damily.

  4. Hm... well, since most discussions about medical student blogging end up with a bunch of sanctimonious people hand-wringing about professionalism... I think I will pass on a conference for medical bloggers. Plus, it looks like it's for attendings only. Of course.

  5. Anonymous1:47 PM

    OMDG: What's with the bitterness? These bloggers are talented people and I for one have been glad over the years that they chose to share their experiences, of course with proper fictionalization/obfuscation of patient details. And aren't most people presenting at conferences attendings (unless it's some kind of AMSA conference or the student section of a conference)?

  6. Anonymous1:56 PM

    Doctoring the Web

  7. I'm planning on going to the conference. Would be great to meet up.

  8. Anonymous3:10 PM

    Congrats, Michelle!

  9. Anonymous3:32 PM

    You just know states by their food, don't you? The first ever post about moving to Georgia was just a picture of a peach...

  10. Anonymous4:48 PM

    The Doctor Will Blog You Now

    NetDocs, NetMeds (you can even all wear those lunch lady hairnets for a gang look)

    InterMeds, InterDoc, DocNet, BlogDocs, Blocs, BlogHeads, BlogMeds, Medicins Sans Papier, BlogoDocs, (better than BlottoDocs, one hopes)

    Okay, I'll stop now. Sounds fun. Good luck.

  11. Anita7:59 PM

    OK Medicins Sans Papier gets my vote!

  12. I think the conference is about writing in medicine in general (probably leaning more towards the traditional media--I don't think there has ever been a panel about blogging) and it is open to everyone, from attendings to residents to med students to public health peoples and even non-medical folks. Check out the program from the last few years, the presenters really run the gamut. Anyway, if enough fun people are there, we will find a way to have a good time, hand-wringing and bellybutton gazing aside!

    (And at the very least, there is probably a bar at the hotel.)

  13. Congratulations! Dr. Au, I'm so excited! I'm a third year med student at Iowa, and really hope to be at the conference to hear and meet you.

    For anyone interested, I was at the writer's conference last year, and it is open to everyone. True, the majority of the people attending seemed to be in the health sciences, but there were visitors from literature, librarianship, etc. It was a very insightful and enjoyable experience.

    P.S. No worries, I did not hear anyone brandish the word "professionalism". I was on the lookout, too.

  14. Anonymous10:51 PM

    I love the idea! I think lots of the younger generation of physicians blog and there would be a lot of interest in a conference such as this.

    How about....

    Doctoring Your Soul: Blogging in Medicine

  15. Cecily4:52 AM

    Longer titles, feel free to take out the word "Tweets" or use some permutation if you find these helpful:

    1) Web vs. Page: Blogs and Tweets Join Journals and Books as Media for Physician Experiences
    2) Letters to the Internet: Physician Self-published Blogs and Tweets the new Letters to the Editor?
    3) Blogs and Tweets: the New Op-Ed for Physicians?

    Cecily, who has yet to visit Iowa

  16. I have a love/hate with the term blogosphere as well.

    These days I am more partial to the term 'blogistan'.

  17. So excited to hear that you will be vising Middle America! I'm a resident here at Iowa and, call schedule permitting, will be at your panel with bells on. Let us know if you need any suggestions for places to stay, eateries, etc.

  18. "Physician, blog thyself"

  19. I was gunning for "Psychic Friends Network," but Michelle and John voted me down. We also got a 'Cease and Desist' from Dionne Warwick. Regardless, I predict that it will be a great conference.

    I am actually more excited about meeting people than the details of the conference itself.