Embracing Wikipedia as a teaching and learning tool benefits health professional schools and the populations they serve
Keywords:medical education, medical communication, Wikipedia
To paraphrase Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia co-founder, “Imagine a world where all people have access to high quality health information clearly written in their own language.” I believe that most health professional students endorse that goal, as do individuals who volunteer to contribute to Wikipedia’s health-related content. Bringing these two communities together inspired my team’s efforts: a course for medical students to earn academic credit for improving Wikipedia. Here I describe the evolution of that course between 2013 – 2017, and highlight ongoing partnerships with Wikiproject Medicine, Translators Without Borders, and Wikipedia Zero. These collaborations align with health professional schools’ local service missions. If more faculty and schools embrace Wikipedia as a teaching and learning tool for tomorrow’s health professionals, those local service missions suddenly expand into a truly global network—accelerating fulfillment of Wikipedia’s audacious goal. In this manuscript, I reflect on my experiences embracing Wikipedia as a medical educator, and speculate about potential implications for the future of health professional education globally.
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