Fall 2015

New Channel

A website is born for the community of almost-doctors

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Illustration: Ryan Snook

For the most part, medical students are drowning in information; it comes with the territory. You could say that this naturally overwhelmed state of affairs supplied the starting point for Rohan Jotwani, M.D./M.B.A. ’17, two years ago when he set about cofounding the (Almost) Doctor’s Channel, a collegial, relaxed-feeling website for anyone pursuing—or interested in pursuing—a medical career.

“If you spend all day looking at textbooks, you want the exact opposite of that in a website to put your mind at ease,” says Jotwani. He took what he calls “a minimalist approach” in designing the site, working to create an appealing  mix of serious and lighthearted content ranging from discussions of recent research findings and health policy to tips on dating while in school or occasional restaurant reviews. Everything here is bite-sized, perfect for a quick snack between classes and intense, sustained bouts of studying.

The site has drawn its share of laurels, most notably the Web Health Award’s bronze medal for Best Media Site for Health-care Professionals in 2014. Given that others vying for the award included such well-established venues as WebMD or Stanford Medicine, Jotwani’s channel is clearly punching above its weight.

Who visits the (Almost) Doctor’s Channel? The answer is medical students, of course, but also residents and college students, premed or otherwise, who may be considering the white-coated life. “There are those who are trying to figure out what it means to be a doctor, and we consider that audience just as legitimate,” says Jotwani, who serves as the site’s managing editor. Typical entries may address physician burnout, or what difference it makes where you take your residency, or the larger question of how a career in medicine shapes your life—topics largely ignored by conventional media.

Jotwani has earned his digital stripes. After graduating from Columbia University, he spent a year as a producer at the Doctor’s Channel in New York City, exploring ways of connecting online with that site’s more established, somewhat older medical audience. Then, a few months after landing at Tufts in the fall of 2013, he was one of the lead organizers of MedStart, a group that fosters innovation and collaboration between the medical and high-tech communities.

Last winter, in its third annual hackathon, MedStart drew more than 120 participants to the Boston campus.

It’s all of a piece, in his view. “My goal is to create platforms for medical students that fit within our lifestyle and reflect spaces that we’re already a part of,” Jotwani says. “That’s going to be important because as a generation, that’s where we live.”

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