Tuesday, October 01, 2013
This is smart PR -- having medical students edit Wikipedia pages for accuracy. The students pass on newly acquired knowledge of medicine. The public gets accurate descriptions of diseases and symptoms. The students get academic credit to induce them to take on the work and practice in communicating to the public without use of medical jargon. This comes under the heading of "Why didn't I think of that.?" It plays to the strength of the medical school and students. It serves the public and is a win-win for everyone. The best PR ideas are this way. Rather than passing publicity stunts, they take on tasks that society needs and endure with them because the jobs are suited for the ones doing them. Why don't more institutions operate this way? Because it is not always easy to find a task of importance to the public and to the organization. That is where creative thinking comes into play -- finding an outlet or creating one. In this case, the need is there and what was missing was commitment to take on the job. One hopes that the for-credit course succeeds and medical students become Wikipedia editors.