As COVID-19 rampages across the country, many are relying on mainstream experts like CNN’s Dr Sanjay Gupta for the latest news on the coronavirus.

But a local doctor and other medical professionals across the country are leading an information crusade in an unorthodox environment: TikTok.

The video service, popular among young Internet users who put all the humor and creativity they can muster into shortened snippets, would seem like an unlikely place for medical education.

But Dr Rose Marie Leslie – @drleslie – has amassed over 541,000 subscribers and over 11 million likes with coronavirus-related videos that mix hilarity and hard facts about the pandemic.

Leslie, a resident physician specializing in family medicine at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, previously worked in adolescent health education. So she thought she could make a difference when she joined TikTok about a year ago. At first, she focused on birth control and the dangers of vaping, among other topics.

“I think especially with teenagers, there’s a urge to find healthcare professionals they can confide in, someone who can be honest and real with them,” said the Minneapolis native. “TikTok’s user base is made up of teenagers, so this is the place to be. “

When the pandemic hit, she redoubled her efforts. Some of her videos are mini-lectures that she kicks off with her now standard line, delivered with a sidelong smile: “I’ll tell you, on Daily Doctor Facts with Dr. Leslie. “

The videos answer questions such as “How does a virus actually infect people! ??? And “Could you have the new coronavirus without any symptoms ????”

@drleslie

#greenscreen #science #scienceiscool #woah #virus #heath

original sound – drleslie

Other videos are set to music with Leslie becoming playful to deliver serious messages.

As MC Hammer shouts “U Can’t Touch This,” she wiggles her finger repeatedly to touch common surfaces without proper hand sanitation. With Luka Graham humming, “Mum Said It’s Alright,” Leslie pantomimes comforting those panicked by the virus. As Lizzo sings “Exactly How I Feel,” she expresses her immense gratitude to those who donate plastic masks and gloves to hospitals.

“Guess what?” she said in another clip aimed at those who blamed Chinese Americans and other Asians for the spread of the virus in this country. “Viruses don’t discriminate… and NEITHER SHOULD WEEEEEE. She adds, in a whisper, “Stop being racist about COVID-19.”

An increase in telemedicine is causing physicians to increasingly see their patients for routine matters using video conferencing, and Leslie is no exception. A video reveals how she dresses up to the waist for the video shoots: shorts, brightly colored socks and fluffy slippers. Another shows her placing her stethoscope on her laptop screen.

The madness in many of his videos comes naturally to him. “In general, I’m a pretty light person, a stupid person. I believe it is important that doctors are seen as real people.

It can have a serious side. With a few videos, Leslie offers a glimpse into her personal life and how she is holding up during a difficult time for healthcare professionals. Viewers learn that her honeymoon had to be canceled due to COVID-19. She shows herself getting ready for another exhausting double shift.

One of the more recent videos on Leslie’s thread, a collaboration with other savvy medical workers at TikTok (and recorded by @footdocdana), has them pretending to pass hand sanitizer from person to person. ‘other.

@drleslie

Continue to wash your hands everyone !!! -Love your favorite Tiktok documents! Thanks for filming @footdocdana !!!

original sound – drleslie

She is one of a growing number of those workers engaged in coronavirus education. These include @austinchiangmd, @ dr.staci.t, @mamadoctorjones, and @balancedanesthesia.

“We all realize the importance we play in this pandemic to disseminate valid and reliable public health information,” she said. “We’re really doing our best to get this message out public. “

TikTok is far from the only social network used to disseminate medical advice aimed at teenagers. Leslie extended to Twitter and YouTube, but TikTok remains its home base on social media.

TikTok is vital, she said, because her brief videos have a disproportionate impact. “They have the potential to reach many, many more people than other social media platforms,” she said.