On Instagram, it is quite common to see accounts spreading awareness on various topics through small infographics that are also aesthetically pleasing.
Some Malaysian platforms that actively do so include MISI: Solidariti (on social issues), Simple sum Malaysia (about financial advice) and some platforms that we have covered previously such as Undi 18 (on voting rights) and Safe campus (on sexual harassment).
Recently, we came across another call Twelve, which provides quick tips for all things medical. It is run by two Malaysian brothers, Jared and Yu, young doctors-in-training who want to create a more literate and health-conscious society among Malaysians through verified medical information.
There is no sanitary jargon here
“When we were in medical school, we noticed that there was a huge information gap between healthcare professionals and the public,” the Siow brothers shared with the Vulcan Post.
“We felt that this should not be the case, and we were always frustrated by how difficult it was for the public to access leaked and easy-to-understand health information.”
The brothers also saw health literacy as too lengthy and sophisticated right now, where people would have to spend a lot of time researching to try to understand difficult medical concepts.
So Jared and Yu took advantage of this bite-sized Instagram trend to make health fun, “sexy,” exciting, and most importantly, understandable to people outside of medicine.
On her Instagram, you will find posts usually in the pastel pink theme, with a simple question at the beginning of a thread accompanied by some cute graphics, making it easy on the eyes and more accessible, especially for those with short attention spans.
Ideally, Jared and Yu would want their platform to reach people from all walks of life, regardless of their demographic. However, they are aware of its limitations as a predominantly social media-based platform, and found that it attracts mostly teenagers and young adults.
“However, we strive to reach out to different communities periodically,” they noted.
Docere is not the first health project that the brothers have worked on; once held a virtual workshop with young people from The Kalsom movement on health awareness.
It lasted more than two months, with modules on vaccination, mental health and everyday health, and they plan to organize more similar ones in the future.
The team has never met IRL
Since they began in December 2020, Docere’s team of resident doctors and designers have never met. Jared currently works at University Malaya Medical Center (UMMC), while Yu works at Hull Royal Infirmary in England.
The two are currently in the middle of completing their basic training (a 2-year program) and have yet to decide where they want to specialize, but Jared shared with us that he is very interested in public health.
Because work and communications are done virtually, it is sometimes difficult to collectively stay on the same page, especially when creating content for Docere.
“This process is usually the most laborious, as it requires a lot of research and back-and-forth amendments.”
“Having to navigate through the difference in time zones and communicate with Yu can be challenging at times, especially when combined with the irregularity of our medical shifts,” Jared explained, but he credits his proactivity by intervening when the other is not. can. to how they can keep the platform up and running.
Expand to produce articles too
While his main project is curating bite-sized content for his platform, Docere also onboard doctors to write articles and publish them weekly. They are longer than your Instagram content, but they are mostly 101 in health.
In reality, the articles started with friends of yours and friends of friends who were interested in writing, and gradually were approached by doctors who had heard of your platform and wanted to contribute as well.
Another off-social media initiative that Jared participated in was a podcast by Bersuara 2, a local podcast for students to brainstorm on a variety of topics. The episode The one he was involved in was on COVID-19, where he touched on vaccination concerns like side effects, speculations of an annual jab, low registration rate, etc.
Monetizing your content can be tricky
“We haven’t really thought about monetizing yet, but there had been some opportunities from the beginning,” they told the Vulcan Post. Medical and product companies approached them for sponsored posts or offered to work closely with them on various campaigns.
“The only reason we reject them is the fundamental principle that we adhere to at all times at Docere: to provide the public with free and accessible health information through an objective lens.”
Jared and Yu emphasized that embracing these monetization opportunities can be a slippery slope when it comes to health because information is often shared with an underlying personal agenda, whether for financial gain or more.
“Opinions that are voiced with authority and conviction can sound eerily similar to fact,” they added, and it’s not the approach they want to take with Docere.
Ultimately, the goal the brothers have for Docere is to get Malaysians to think more through the lens of preventive medicine, whereby health problems can be detected before symptoms emerge or speak. To educate even more, they will soon collaborate with other Instagram pages.
- You can check Docere’s Instagram here and your website here.
- You can read more articles on COVID-19 that we have written here.
Featured Image Credit: Jared and Yu Siow, Founders of Docere