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Field epidemiologists find social media useful tool during pandemic

Published: 7 September 2021

The coronavirus pandemic has seen field epidemiologists from around the world take to Twitter to accelerate advancements in the specialism, highlights a new paper co-authored by Professor Daniel Thomas, Consultant Epidemiologist in the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre at Public Health Wales.  

Celebrating the first World Field Epidemiology Day (7 September 2021), the perspective piece, published in the International Journal of Infectious diseases, details how the social media platform has allowed field epidemiologists to come together and keep up with the fast pace of advancements that the pandemic demanded.  

Professor Daniel Thomas, who co-authored the paper as part of his work for EPIET, the European Field Epidemiology Training Fellowship Program, said:   

“The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way that public health professionals work and communicate. Over a very short time span, remote working arrangements have become the norm, and meetings have shifted online. Physical distancing measures have accelerated a trend toward digital communication. At the same time, the work of epidemiologists has been held under a magnifying glass by journalists, governments and the general public, in a way not previously seen.”  

“With social media becoming an integral part of our society over the last decade, Twitter is now a key communication tool and platform for professional networking among epidemiologists (#EpiTwitter). 

“This work formed a part of my ongoing commitment to continued professional advancement in field epidemiology, as we now strive to further training opportunities and to putting Public Heath Wales right at the forefront of excellence in this area.” 

’Social media for field epidemiologists: How to use twitter during the #Covid-19 pandemic’ reflects on the use of Twitter by field epidemiologists and public health microbiologists for rapid professional exchange, public communication of science and professional development during the pandemic. It discusses how Twitter can be used in a variety of ways, both at professionals’ home institutions and during field deployment. These include information dissemination, science communication and public health advocacy, professional development, networking and experience exchange. 

For more information: View the paper below

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