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Wiki Project Med Foundation takes off with UCSF pilot[edit]


Wiki Project Med Foundation (WPMEDF) was formally incorporated in New York as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Its mission is bold like Wikipedia's: "Imagine a world in which every single person is given free access to the sum of all medical knowledge."

So far over 70 people have signed on as interested members of WPMEDF! There are folks from all over the world, including: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Poland, Portugal, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Netherlands.

Abhishek led a community process to create a logo. He picked the stethoscope for a symbol, because it's a common tool that connects doctors to patients and helps amplify important signals. He also created a Wikimedia-inspired globe with the Rod of Asclepius logo.

Forming the Board[edit]

WPMEDF formed a provisional board with nine experienced and diverse members from the movement: President James Heilman (Doc James), Vice President Jacob de Wolff, General Secretary Biosthmors, Treasurer RexxS, Membership Secretary Anthony Cole, Outreach Coordinator Jake Orlowitz (Ocaasi), Legal wizard Peter.C, Open Science Director Daniel Mietchen, and Global Development Leader Vinicius Siqueira.

The Board voted to list itself as a member of the Wikimedia US Coalition, and drafted a conflict of interest guideline to protect Wikipedia's integrity and WPMEDF's reputation.

In April, WPMEDF sent two representatives (through generous scholarships) to the Chapters conference in Milan. Daniel Mietchen and Biosthmors did a great job of sharing the group's goals and our progress. Notes on the event were taken here. The sentiment was that before WPMEDF achieves Thematic Organization status that it needs to continue to grow its base, increase global participation, and build networks among the community.

UCSF pilot advances[edit]

The UCSF Education Project kicked off in January when Jake Orlowitz (Ocaasi) and Doc James Heilman (Jmh649) joined fourth-year UCSF medical student and Wikipedian Michael Turken (User:Michaelturken) at University of California San Francisco's medical school. They put on a weeklong lecture series and editathon introducing students, staff, and clinicians to Wikipedia and Medicine. The event was co-sponsored by UCSF, UCSF Library, The Clinical & Translational Science Institute at UCSF, Wikimedia Canada, and Wiki Project Med Foundation.

Jake (Ocaasi) said of the event, "My inspiration for participating was the realization that of all the important content on Wikipedia, and there's a lot of it, that medical information might be the most directly relevant to people's lives and choices. Millions of readers from the rest of the world who are coming online don't have access in their own language to health content that they can understand. Wikipedia is or will be that first source for many, many people." Doc James said, "I believe strongly that all people deserve access to high quality medical content in the language of their choosing. The only way I see to achieve this goal is through Wikipedia and only if we get more people involved."

The environment at UCSF was incredibly receptive. About 60 people attend the talks and 30 came through the editathon. There were meetings with librarians, student deans, education curriculum leaders, and some of the very talented members of UCSF's vibrant research community. And big news... UCSF has proposed a 4th-year medical elective, for credit, in which students would choose and improve a medical topic on Wikipedia. This is the first medical school education project we have heard of, ever!

Jake (Ocaasi) reflected, "My favorite part of the experience was getting to hear the enthusiasm of students for using Wikipedia. It's apparent that whereas only 3 or 4 years ago the site was quite taboo, it's become much more accepted and even a reflexive first stop for much of their research. I heard that same theme from students in nursing, clinical research, public health, surgery, pharmacy, and other specializations. People are simply using Wikipedia, because for the cost (zero) and the speed and ease of access (unparalleled), there's no more comprehensive and generally accurate reference."

James said, "I always enjoy meeting with academics and sharing my enthusiasm for the project. It was great learning that others at UCSF also share my vision to some extent. For this to work long term this must be a positive experience for both the Wikimedia community, the students at UCSF and faculty their. I think we both share the same vision. That we both realize the key importance of free health care content for all people. I think many academics are beginning to realize what a key role Wikipedia plays not only in medical education but in health care generally."

Michael Turken said, "It is exciting to think that medical students will soon be able to get academic credit at UCSF for editing and writing for WikiProject Medicine. With the creation of this elective, UCSF is living up to its mission, 'Advancing Health Worldwide,' and making students an integral part of this. Medical students currently spend incredible amounts of time on dead-end literature review projects that reach a handful of people and then are discarded. Hopefully this will soon be in the past, and medical students around the country will be contributing to the most read and needed medical reference in the world."

There are also discussions going on about what it would mean to present a core curricular component about Wikipedia to first and second year medical students. The goal is to start small and to start a dialogue about reliable sources, collaborative content generation and maintenance, and public health, and see what happens.

In the works[edit]

Collaborations are currently being developed between Wiki Project Med Foundation and the World Health Organization, Cancer Research UK, and the National Library of Medicine (US) / National Institutes of Health (US NIH). Efforts include issues surrounding copyright and the support of the creation of Wikipedian-in-Residence positions at these locations. A World Health Organization position is currently being set-up, and a meeting with the NIH is happening in May of 2013. A number of WPMEDF members are planning on being in attendance.

Cochrane Collaboration, a UK-based non-profit evidence-based medicine specialists Cochrane Collaboration have agreed to donate 20 full access memberships to their entire report library. They are also going to field a Wikipedian In Residence for the Fall. More announcements about those two initiatives will be forthcoming.

The Translation Task Force continues to work with Translators Without Borders and ContentRules to work towards translating 80 core articles into 285 languages. During 2012 more than one million words of text were translated as part of this effort. A very generous grant was received by our partner TWB from the Indigo Foundation to help move forwards these efforts.

A number of medical journals have agreed in principle to publishing high quality Wikipedia articles under authors' real names following formal peer review. These journals include: Open Medicine, PLoS medicine and Open BMJ. Also see the new Journal of Medical Internet Research, which is about to publish a new online peer-reviewed journal, JMIR:Wiki Medical Reviews. WPMEDF continues to responsibly advocate for open access research and transparency in clinical trials.

WPMEDF developed several introductory presentations on Wikipedia and Medicine, open licensed for anyone to use: Doc James's, Ocaasi's, Michael Turken's. Last, the group released the first edition of The Stethoscope, a monthly-to-quarterly review newsletter to chronicle its activities.

Wiki Project Med Foundation is online at Twitter, Facebook, Wordpress, and Meta.wikimedia.org. Sign up to receive their newsletter here. You can also reach them at wikiprojectmed(_AT_)gmail.com.