Difference between revisions of "Submissions:2019/Engaging with Wikipedia in Medical Education: A Dermatology Case Study"

From WikiConference North America
Jump to: navigation, search
(Created page with "{{WCNA 2019 Session Submission |theme=Reliability of Information<br />+ Relationship Building & Support<br />+ Editor Recruitment & Retention<br /> |type=Presentation |abstrac...")
(Allocated time for lightning talk)
Line 1: Line 1:
{{WCNA 2019 Session Submission
{{WCNA 2019 Session Submission
|theme=Reliability of Information<br />+ Relationship Building & Support<br />+ Editor Recruitment & Retention<br />
|theme=Reliability of Information<br />+ Relationship Building & Support<br />+ Editor Recruitment & Retention<br />

Latest revision as of 07:24, 11 October 2019

This submission has been designated as a lightning talk at WikiConference North America 2019.


Engaging with Wikipedia in Medical Education: A Dermatology Case Study


Reliability of Information
+ Relationship Building & Support
+ Editor Recruitment & Retention

Type of session:



The practice of medicine is rapidly changing as technology and information expands, and medical education is changing with it. Medical articles on Wikipedia receive 10 million daily views, showing that the public is seeking out medical information here before they ever step into our office as patients. It is crucial that the information in medical Wikipedia articles be accessible, accurate and up to date; this way patients receive self-education about their conditions, and are not receiving inaccurate and potentially dangerous information. On the other side, Wikipedia is a valuable resource for medical professionals and trainees as they constantly learn and stay abreast of their field. In this case study, I describe how medical students and residents in the Dermatology department at the University of Colorado became Wikipedia editors in collaboration with the Cochrane Skin Group in order to improve dermatology-related articles. Medical students and trainees in the Dermatology lab were recruited for the project in 2018. They were trained in Wikipedia editing and provided mentorship from an experienced Wikipedia medical editor. Their task was to improve the most popular skin related articles on Wikipedia by adding high quality references and editing to remove contradictory information that could confuse patients. The reference used for dermatology information was Cochrane Skin, which develops comprehensive peer-reviewed systematic reviews of the dermatology literature, and is considered a highly trustworthy resource by physicians. The project was supervised by a board-certified dermatologist. Over the past 15 months, the trainees improved 48 skin-related English language articles on Wikipedia. Since the time of editing, these 48 articles have received over 20 million views. The 5 top viewed articles were psoriasis, leprosy, cellulitis, melanoma, and molluscum contagiosum. Concurrently, we are working to improve the top-viewed dermatology articles on Wikipedia to the standard of an academic paper. This includes checking each reference in the article for accuracy and consulting with world experts on specific dermatology subjects (for example, leprosy) for their input on the respective article. These articles will be submitted to the new Wiki Journal of Medicine for peer review. This project has been a success for several reasons. First, it has ensured that the most frequently viewed dermatology articles on Wikipedia have been reviewed by medical professionals and contain accurate, evidence-based and up-to-date information for patients, and this information is available worldwide. Second, it has raised considerable interest in the dermatology community and other physician specialties on the subject of Wikipedia editing. In our presentations to other physicians, we show that a relatively small Wikipedia editing team has the potential to share evidence-based information with millions of people. For physicians, it is an opportunity for to contribute to evidence-based, informative articles with high impact, with much less time and resources than authoring a traditional study. For medical students, it is a unique learning opportunity to become an expert in a small area of medicine and be able to reach millions of potential patients. We are encouraging all medical professionals and students to participate in this project and help make Wikipedia an accessible, highly trusted medical resource for all.

Academic Peer Review option:


Author name:

Mary Olivia Hutton

E-mail address:


Wikimedia username:


Affiliated organization(s):

University of Colorado School of Medicine

Estimated time:

15-20 minutes

Preferred room size:

no preference

Special requests:


Have you presented on this topic previously? If yes, where/when?:

Yes. 2019 World Congress of Dermatology in Milan, Italy, and 2019 Cochrane Skin Annual Meeting

If your submission is not accepted, would you be open to presenting your topic in another part of the program? (e.g. lightning talk or unconference session)