The #MCSMN Story (10): The Star Wars Team and Mayo Clinic Collaborators

Dr. Farris Timimi and I have been blessed with consistently outstanding team members working with us on the Mayo Clinic social media team.

In some ways I think of our team over the years as a symphony, with three distinct movements.

Our original social media team continued until the end of 2014, with Tony Hart joining the team to support CME promotion in Oct. 2012. The first of our members to move on was Susana Shephard, who took a role with the Mayo Clinic Care Network, and about a year later Jason Pratt went into business full time with his brothers.

At about that time, as our newly consolidated Communications Division was engaged in strategic planning, we renamed our social media team to have a broader focus than only social media, and with an emphasis on continued leadership in innovation.

We became the Social & Digital Innovation team.

Those of us who are of a certain vintage remember the 1980s national defense strategy called the Strategic Defense Initiative, or SDI, aimed at shooting down incoming nuclear missiles, which also was known as “Star Wars.”

Thus our SDI team took on a catchy moniker: The Star Wars Team.

From early 2015 through much of 2019 our Star Wars Team was comprised of the members pictured in the header of this post. This was the second movement of the symphony.

In addition to Makala Arce, Shawn Bishop, Stacy Theobald and me from the original team, we were joined by Shea Jennings, Taryn Offenbacher, Audrey Laine Seymour and Margaret Shepard. Shea took on the CME role after Tony Hart moved to Marketing, while the other three were focused on serving Mayo’s Arizona, Florida and Minnesota campuses, respectively.

As Taryn and Audrey Laine accepted other positions in 2019 we added Jessica Saenz (Arizona) and Robby Weber (Florida) to the Star Wars Team, with Amanda Roe supporting Neurosciences, and they along with Stacy form the team’s ongoing nucleus. With my retirement, Ron Petrovich is back leading the team into the symphony’s third movement, coming full circle from when he was the second person hired when we launched our major expansion in 2010.

Beyond our core team, until COVID-19 intervened we had several part time supplemental staff helping with Mayo Clinic Connect moderation and involved in client-funded social media projects: Lisa Lucier, Justin McClanahan, Ethan McConkey and Kanaaz Pereira. They contributed significantly to the overall work, and in the COVID era the work of our volunteer mentors for Mayo Clinic Connect has been essential to maintaining a healthy community.

Over the past decade we have seen well over 700 Mayo Clinic physicians join the social media revolution by creating Twitter accounts, and scores if not hundreds of key collaborators have advocated for social media adoption within Mayo Clinic.

Just as we benefited from an External Advisory Board we had a parallel Internal Advisory Group that met regularly to serve as a bridge from the Center for Social Media to the units and interests they represented.

Given the sheer number of individuals I won’t link to all of their Twitter bios, but I just want the world to know that what they saw the Star Wars Team doing in social media on behalf of Mayo Clinic was enabled by so many contributors:

  • Media Relations colleagues like Karl Oestreich, Kevin Punsky, Traci Klein, Ginger Plumbo, Sharon Theimer, Rhoda Madson and Tia Ford.
  • Our attorney, Dan Goldman, and Mayo’s domain master, Brian Kaihoi, as well as Monica Seven-Ziebell and John Bloomquist.
  • Marketing allies including Veena Nayar, Elizabeth Rice, Melissa Bear, Cindy Elliott, Elizabeth Klein and Jeff Warnock.
  • MayoClinic.org leaders and staff over the years, including Matt Feyen, Jay Maxwell, Les Polk, Joyce Even, Brian Laing, Tom Pankratz and more.
  • Communications leaders like Amy Davis, Annie Burt, Karl Oestreich, Fran Lynch, Jason Fortin, Suzanne Leaf-Brock and Bryan Anderson, as well as their teams.
  • News and employee communications teams that developed so much of the content we shared on the Mayo Clinic accounts.
  • Physician champions including Drs. Daniel Cabrera, Angela Mattke, Amy Kotsenas, Sharonne Hayes, Vincent Rajkumar, Justin Kreuter, Halena Gazelka and dozens more.
  • Internal Advisory Group advocates such as Gene Dankbar, Jeremy Jensen, Andy Tofilon, Laurie Wilshusen, Elizabeth Harty, Jane Jacobs, Brent Bultema and Yue Dong.

I could go on all night as more of these champions come to mind, but I have resolved to publish this post before midnight CDT, while I am still technically employed by Mayo Clinic.

I’m getting down to my last hour.

I have often said I was blessed to be in the right place at the right time to lead Mayo Clinic’s exploration and eventual embrace of social media. Because of Mayo Clinic’s stature and the support of our leaders, we had an opportunity to play a role in encouraging other health care organizations in their social media journeys.

With the help of the people listed above, and many others, I think we made the most of it.

As I look forward to starting my third career, I’m overwhelmed looking back and remembering so many people who have been so important in these last 21 years, and particularly the last 11.

My cup runneth over.

Tomorrow I’ll share one part of what I have in the works for Career #3.

The #MCSMN Story (9): Evolution of the EAB and A Final Class of Platinum Fellows

The Mayo Clinic Social Media Network (#MCSMN) has been blessed to bring together so many creative and energetic thought leaders over the last decade to serve on our External Advisory Board. Beyond those recognized in this post and this one, others who joined the movement in an official role but have not yet been previously mentioned in this series included:

  • Kristine (KS) Austin
  • Vicki Bencken
  • Dr. Katherine Y. Brown
  • Amanda Changuris
  • Kimberly Dorris
  • Marie Ennis-O’Connor
  • Beth Granger
  • David Grayson, M.D.
  • Claire H. Johnston
  • Janet Kennedy
  • Greg Matthews 
  • Matthew Rehrl, M.D., M.S.
  • Mike Sevilla, M.D.
  • Audun Utengen
  • Kathy Winter

To make room for new EAB members, some of the previous members rotated off. For 10 of them over the years, we created a special category of #MCSMN Fellow – Platinum – as something of a “lifetime achievement award” recognizing their long-term contributions. Those included:

Class of 2013

Class of 2014

Class of 2017

So today, as I retire from Mayo Clinic and we sunset #MCSMN, Dr. Farris Timimi and I decided it would be fitting to designate one final class of #MCSMN Platinum Fellows. Two of them were part of our original External Advisory Board and served continuously for a decade, while others joined more recently and have been particularly active. The Class of 2021 includes:

When we started the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media and the Social Media Health Network 11 years ago I could not have imagined all that we would accomplish, and all of the wonderful people who would join us in this movement.

It’s only fitting on my last day as an active staff member at Mayo Clinic to recognize the people inside and outside of the organization who have been such key contributors.

In my final post in this series this evening, I’ll turn to honoring those who have been part of our social media team – a.k.a. The Star Wars Team – as well as other allies and contributors within Mayo Clinic.

The #MCSMN Story (8): The Power of Collaboration

Teamwork is one of eight fundamental Franciscan values Mayo Clinic espouses in its RICH TIES framework: Respect, Integrity, Compassion, Healing, Teamwork, Innovation, Excellence, and Stewardship.

As important as teamwork is among Mayo Clinic staff, that isn’t its only context. As we showed through various Mayo Clinic Social Media Network projects, collaboration with colleagues and organizations outside of Mayo Clinic multiplied the impact as well.

I’ve previously cited the writing of Bringing the Social Media Revolution to Healthcare, as well as our international social media summits in Australia and Dubai and our work with Hootsuite to produce the first CME-accredited course in the basics of health care social media.

Here are a few more highlights of ways we worked with other organizations on important projects with broader public purposes:

Colorectal Cancer Prevention: Mayo Clinic Gastroenterologist Paul Limburg, M.D. encouraged our team to work with Fight Colorectal Cancer (@FightCRC), a national advocacy organization, to promote colonoscopy and other screening tests for colorectal cancer.

From my perspective this is an ideal situation for applying social media for disease prevention. Colorectal cancer is one of the leading cancer killers, but if screening detects a precancerous polyp it can be removed before it can turn into cancer. And yet only about 70% of eligible adults were getting screened in the middle of the last decade, when #MCSMN began working first with Fight CRC and then with the broader National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT).

In 2015 we conducted the #StrongArmSelfie campaign with Fight CRC, which urged advocates to post selfies of themselves flexing against colorectal cancer to raise awareness of the need for screening. One of Mayo’s key contributions was producing this music video for an anthem country artist Craig Campbell, a Fight CRC ally, wrote and recorded in support of the campaign:

As we were in planning calls with Fight CRC discussing what to do for an encore in 2016, it was about the time Periscope was making live video streaming available to anyone with a cell phone. TV anchors had previously broadcast their experiences in getting a colonoscopy to demystify the process and raise awareness, so we got the idea of streaming a colonoscopy from Mayo Clinic via Periscope.

Thus was conceived the #ScopeScope. And about five minutes into the discussion I recognized it would be a lot simpler from a patient consent perspective if someone who fit the demographic and was part of the planning team were to be the patient whose colonoscopy was streamed. I knew a guy.

We did events with NCCRT at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York in 2017, in Los Angeles in 2018 and at CDC HQ in Atlanta in 2019, all aimed at driving the screening percentage to 80%. Personally, seeing my image on the NASDAQ Jumbotron in Times Square (as shown in the header of this post) was an unforgettable milestone.

Experts by Experience. Medical and scientific experts develop deep understanding of disease processes, but they don’t have the perspective of the patient who actually lives with the disease. John Novack, then with the online patient community Inspire, approached us to take over publication of a monthly series of blog posts by patients, which we did for two years. Authors alternated between Inspire members and those from Mayo Clinic Connect, and we posted them on the #MCSMN site.

#MayoSHSMD Virtual Conference(s). In October 2019 Lisa Hinkle from the Society for Health Care Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD) of the American Hospital Association approached Dan Hinmon and me with an idea to jointly produce an advanced conference on social media and digital marketing in May or June of 2020. This would be in addition to SHSMD’s annual conference later in the year, and would be virtual.

Having just completed the #MCSMN conference and with the #hcsmDXB conference still to come in December 2019, Dan and I agreed, in consultation with Dr. Timimi, that a virtual conference in 2020 would be a good change of pace.

#MayoSHSMD was virtual before virtual was essential. And based on its success, we were delighted to do another virtual conference with SHSMD about eight weeks ago, which as it turned out was our last #MCSMN event. Lisa Hinkle, Diane Weber, Stephanie Stewart and the whole SHSMD team were great collaborators, and they’ve expressed eagerness to continue to serve this movement even as the #MCSMN organization sunsets.

In all of these collaborations, it wasn’t just Mayo Clinic joining with the national organizations. We had many of our external members of #MCSMN participating as well, which made the projects even more powerful.

In the final two posts in this series chronicling the work of #MCSMN and the people who made it happen, I will highlight other external collaborators as well as Mayo Clinic staff (including social media team members through the years) whose contributions have been so meaningful.

The #MCSMN Story (7): Becoming #MCSMN, Going International and Fulfilling the Promise of Mayo Clinic Connect

After the #MayoRagan years Mayo Clinic began hosting annual #MCSMN conferences, rotating among our Rochester, Minn., Phoenix, Ariz. and Jacksonville, Fla. locations.

2015 brought many significant turning points, developments and milestones in Mayo Clinic’s social media program, the first of which was merging the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media (MCCSM) and the Social Media Health Network (SMHN) into a new structure called the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network (#MCSMN).

When we originally conceived our externally facing network in 2010, Mayo Clinic didn’t have a naming convention for an entity that was sponsored by Mayo but was comprised of external members, and thus we had to use the generic, non-branded name. But this also created confusion for our Mayo Clinic staff who we also wanted to be involved. When we invited them to join SMHN, it wasn’t apparent to them that this was a Mayo-sponsored site. Was it really even OK for them to join?

Thankfully, with the founding of the Mayo Clinic Care Network later in 2011, we then had a naming convention to apply to our social media network, which became the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. This reduced both internal and external confusion, and we even had MCSMN membership become part of the benefit package for Mayo Clinic Care Network members.

Mayo Clinic staff and students saw the shields logo and recognized it was an official Mayo site. And as we offered memberships externally, the value we could offer was access to the same training and resources Mayo Clinic provided for its staff.

Among those resources was the Social for Health Certificate from Mayo Clinic and Hootsuite. As Social Media Residency had evolved since 2012, it became apparent we needed to make it a more advanced program while remaining accessible for newer social media users. The online certificate, for which we secured CME accreditation through the Mayo Clinic School of Continuous Professional Development (MCSCPD), provided 24/7 on-demand access to basic training, and was a prerequisite for Social Media Residency.

We unveiled the online course in September 2015 at another milestone event, our first Mayo Clinic International Healthcare and Social Media Summit in Brisbane, Australia. As I mentioned in the previous post, Lisa Wylde from the Australian Private Hospital Association had attended one of the #MayoRagan conferences and strongly suggested we do an event like that in Australia.

Thus was born #MayoInOz, and the sequel the following year in Melbourne. I’m grateful to Lisa and the great planning committee that put together those events, to Ed Bennett and Cynthia Manley for their above-and-beyond support in getting to Brisbane to be part of the faculty and to Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson for keynoting.

See these recaps of Day 1 and Day 2 of the Brisbane conference, which also was where we met Dr. David Grayson from New Zealand, who joined our External Advisory Board and attended several of our conferences, both in the U.S. and in the UAE in December 2019 when we held the first Middle East Healthcare Social Media Summit at Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) in Dubai.

Special thanks to Dr. Amer Sharif (a real Chancellor) and everyone at MBRU for all they did to make that event a success, along with colleagues from (MCSCPD), Mayo Clinic Care Network and American Hospital Dubai. Among many other experiences, one special highlight of that trip was my first camel ride, with Dan Hinmon. Thanks to Dr. Timimi for suggesting we all do that desert safari on the morning we arrived!

Speaking of Dan, I also want to call out him and Colleen Young for the roles they have played since 2015. Dan was the Community Director for MCSMN and did so much to cultivate conversations and plan webinars and conferences. He’s a great colleague and friend, and also played an essential role in our #MayoSHSMD Virtual Conference, which I’ll discuss in a future post.

Both Dan and Colleen were among the authors contributing to Bringing the Social Media Revolution to Health Care, so their interest in this work predates their employment with Mayo.

Colleen still serves as Community Director for Mayo Clinic Connect, Mayo’s owned online patient community which now has more than 110,000 members.

When we launched that community in 2011 it was related to an advertising campaign in which one of the calls to action was “Connect with someone who’s been there.” For the first few years without strategic community management we had a lot more of the ad respondents as members of the site than we did people who had been to Mayo Clinic. Among her many contributions that are too numerous to mention here, Colleen has cultivated a community that is much more in keeping with the original vision of Mayo Clinic Connect, and has helped us achieve even more than we had considered.

And of course she’s Canadian, which is in keeping with the international theme of this post.

When discussing international participation I would be remiss if I were to fail to mention our good friend Shigeo Uehara from Japan, who attended annually both in the U.S. and in Australia, as well as Olga Schibli from Switzerland, who attended the last conferences in Phoenix and Jacksonville and who graciously hosted Lisa and me when we vacationed in Germany, Switzerland and Austria in April 2019.

In my next post I’ll highlight some of the projects we undertook with external collaborators, both for health promotion and disease prevention as well as to equip colleagues to use social media and digital strategies in their work.

The #MCSMN Story (6): Social Media Residency and Bringing the Social Media Revolution to Health Care

From 2012 to 2014, Mayo Clinic’s social media program through the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media (#MCCSM) and the Social Media Health Network (SMHN) continued to grow significantly both in the number of people involved and in concrete accomplishments.

Two of the major developments in this period included Social Media Residency and our book, Bringing the Social Media Revolution to Health Care. After I describe those, I’ll finish with a few other highlights.

We held our first Social Media Residency in conjunction with the #MayoRagan conference in 2012. This was a chance for both our Mayo Clinic staff as well as those coming to the conference from around the U.S. (and increasingly from distant lands) to have an intense, hands-on experience in using social media and discussing health care applications.

We called it “Residency” both because people were “in residence” at Mayo Clinic for this experience, and as an analogy to medical residency as the way medical school graduates get their advanced training. We extended this metaphor throughout the program, as for example we had Facebook, Twitter and video “rotations” and members of my team and External Advisory Board members were “chief residents.”

That first time we carried it a little too far, however. Medical Residency is grueling, so we (or rather I) thought we should do the same with Social Media Residency. We made it a two-day program crammed into a day and a half. How?

We went from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. the first day.

And then we gave the Residents an assignment to draft a social media strategic plan overnight, to present the next morning.

This was after most had already participated in the #MayoRagan conference, which was two full days (plus optional pre-conference workshops.)

We had open rebellion in the ranks.

We learned from our (my) mistake, however, and dialed it back to a single day and with a more normal 8-5 schedule. For the next couple of years held Social Media Residency twice per year on each Mayo Clinic campus (Rochester, Minn., Jacksonville, Fla. and Phoenix/Scottsdale, Ariz.) One was in conjunction with #MayoRagan, while the others were standalone. We maintained a ratio of one Chief Resident per eight Residents, and at the end of the program presented certificates to the strains of Pomp and Circumstance.

In addition to other resources and handouts in their official binder, Residents also received a copy of our book, Bringing the Social Media Revolution to Health Care, as their textbook. We published this just in time for #MayoRagan 2012 and it was the big project Dr. Timimi and I revealed in our opening keynote.

Bringing the Social Media Revolution to Health Care was a collection of essays, mostly from members of our External Advisory Board (EAB), making the argument for why health care organizations and professionals should get involved in social media. Meredith Gould, Ph.D. was our editor, and besides Dr. Timimi and me and a foreword from Mayo Clinic CEO John Noseworthy, M.D. (which I may or may not have had a role in drafting) authors included:

As I flip through the book’s pages even today I’m amazed at the group we pulled together to produce this book, and the concise quality of the contributions. I’m glad it included several patient voices, and that we used all proceeds from sales of the book to support patient scholarships to attend our conferences and Social Media Residency, a decision the authors graciously and enthusiastically supported.

Some other key projects and developments during 2012-14 included:

Our #SocialAtMayo video, produced by Jason Pratt, which included members of our Mayo Clinic social media team explaining Mayo’s employee social media guidelines as well as several employees describing how they use social media in their work. It also has a nice soundtrack that will be familiar to those who watched the video in my last post.

As you’ll see in the video, we had added a new team member, Tony Hart, who had a position using social media to promote CME courses for the Department of Medicine.

We also added several new members to the EAB, as others completed their terms:

We began holding Social Media Grand Rounds, modeled after medical or surgical grand rounds meetings, as a way between conferences to share case studies or best practices, whether those were from within Mayo Clinic or from our member organizations.

Finally, in keeping with the Residency metaphor, we also developed a Social Media Fellows program for those who were taking home the lessons and applying them strategically in their work.

  • Bronze Fellows developed a strategic plan for using social media in their work.
  • Silver Fellows executed their plan and reported back what they had learned.
  • Gold Fellows were those who began giving back by teaching and encouraging others to use social media in health care.

Lisa Wylde was the first person to achieve both Silver and Gold status. As a leader in the Australian Private Hospitals Association, she attended our conference and Residency and not only applied her learnings, but bought 1,000 copies of our book to distribute among hospital leaders in Australia.

Lisa’s involvement in the network led to some developments I never would have imagined.

I’ll describe those in my next post.