COVID-19 has upended our lives in a way no one could’ve predicted only a few months ago. At a time like this, many are re-evaluating what’s really important, from the products they purchase to the content they consume.
The influencer economy is now at a crossroads, as brands slash their marketing budgets and the very ‘influence’ that influencers are said to possess is brought into question. Influencers are supposed to be aspirational, but when there’s no place to go and nothing to do, what purpose do they serve? All of sudden, the all-too-perfect content created by celebrities, models, and bloggers seems very out of touch with reality.
At the same time, those very influencers have access to a more captive audience than ever before. As we are all ordered to stay at home, what else is there to do but scroll through our Instagram feeds and hope for a return to normal? When created with the right intentions, content has a very real opportunity to thrive right now and an emerging subset of influencers is taking note.
This pandemic has made way for the most appropriate and deserving influencers of all: medical professionals. The healthcare workers on the frontlines of this crisis have turned to social media to share COVID-19 stories, educate the public, and spread hope. TikTok has become the platform of choice for many, as TikTok dances and short form videos pair perfectly with educational content. Dr. Jason Campbell, otherwise known as the TikTok Doc, has gone viral for the joyful dances he does alongside his fellow doctors after a long day of saving lives. Another viral sensation, nurse Miki Rai brings attention to important coronavirus information with trending dance moves. But, these healthcare heroes aren’t just popular on TikTok. Many use Instagram to share their daily lives and the medical know-how that comes with nearly a decade of med school and residency.
1. Dr. Elvis Francois
Dr. Elvis Francois is an Orthopedic Surgeon at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. The Haitian doctor recently drew attention after recording covers of John Lennon’s “Imagine” and Bill Withers’ “Lean On Me” with Dr. William Robinson. The duo released a new EP that debuted at №21 on Billboard’s Emerging Artists chart. Proceeds from the EP go toward the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s COVID-19 Response Fund.
2. Jake Grez
Jake Grez is a travel nurse and surgical PCU from Chicago, IL. He was inspired to become a nurse after his mom was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2005 and had to undergo various rounds of treatment. After his mom passed away, he turned to social media to connect with people who had similar experiences to him. He now posts about his travels, workout regimen, and daily life as a nurse.
3. Dr. Andrew Neighbors
Dr. Andrew Neighbors is an optometrist, Youtuber, and actor. After graduating from Southern College of Optometry in 2016, he began posting about his professional life as an openly gay doctor. “If somebody can look into my life and see that I live a gay, professional lifestyle and I can normalize that for that person and make that person feel more comfortable about who they are, then I’ve set out to do exactly what I wanted to do.”
4. Dr. Dana Brems
Dr. Dana Brems is a foot and ankle surgeon at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. Dr. Brems graduated from Western University of Health Sciences in 2019, and has now amassed a following of 42k followers on Instagram 488.9k followers on TikTok. She shares her passion for medicine, fitness, and comedy across her social media accounts.
5. Dr. Jason Campbell
Dr. Jason Campbell, also known as the TikTok Doc, is a second-year anesthesiology resident at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon. He started a TikTok account in an attempt to reach the youth in his community and now has over 233k followers. His fun dance videos boost morale among his fellow doctors and help to bring awareness to healthcare workers during a difficult time.
6. Nurse Sarah
Nurse Sarah, or ShesInScrubs, is currently an RN on a COVID unit using her platform on social media to raise awareness about COVID-related issues. Across her Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube accounts, she speaks about the current lack of PPE for medical professionals, the dangers of people not following social distancing orders, and the harmful rhetoric being spread by other a few other nurses on social media over the past few months.
7. Dr. Danielle Jones
Doctor Danielle Jones is a Board Certified ObGyn based in Texas. With a following of 400k on Youtube and 327.3k on TikTok, Dr. Jones is considered a pioneer in the current trend of doctors developing social media brands to share medical information. The mother of four uses her platform to spread fact-based information and educate young people about sexual health.
8. Dr. Rachel Nickels
Dr. Rachel Nickels is an Attending at a Florida hospital that specializes in Internal Medicine. She is currently pregnant with her first child and shares her life as a medical professional and her experience with pregnancy on social media. She works with brands like FIGS and Cozy Earth Bedding on Instagram.
9. Ashley Kay
Ashley Kay is a Board Certified Physician Assistant in Orlando, FL specializing in Vascular Surgery. She uses her social platform to educate current and aspiring physicians, covering topics such as CASPA submission, how to learn as a new PA on the job, and shadowing in the OR. She also spreads information about medical diseases and treatments. On Instagram, she has teamed up with brands like FIGS, Birdies, and Hello Fresh.
10. Miki Rai
Miki Rai is a Pediatric ICU Nurse in San Francisco. Recently, Rai has gone viral for doing TikTok dances while spreading information about how to prevent the spread of coronavirus. In interviews, she has spoken about the power of social media to reach new audiences. “I wanted to put that [educational] message across on a platform audiences are receptive to.” She now has a following of 128k on Youtube and 1.2M on TikTok.
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