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Meeting highlights growth of VUMC’s social media efforts

Mar. 3, 2016, 10:04 AM

Leaders of social media programs at 15 major hospitals and health systems gathered in Nashville last week as Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) hosted the “founders meeting” of a new national organization. Health is designed as a forum for senior leaders in health care social media to learn, network and share best practices in a rapidly evolving field.

In addition to VUMC, founding members include Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Northwell Health (formerly Northshore Long Island-Jewish) and Methodist Healthcare, among others. Health is a health care-focused spinoff of, which gathers leaders in social media for major brands across industries. VUMC’s social media leaders were invited to join that group in 2014.

The new organization works in partnership with Mayo Clinic’s Social Media Network, which provides guidance and support for health care professionals using social media in their work. VUMC has been a member of that network since 2010, and Cynthia Manley, content and social media strategy director at VUMC, serves as an external adviser.

VUMC’s social media program continues to grow along with the establishment of My Southern Health, a consumer health and wellness site aimed at improving health in the Southeast.

Based in Strategic Marketing, the social media team manages VUMC’s official brand presence on more than a dozen social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. The aggregate audience across these channels now exceeds 417,000 fans and followers.

“By providing useful and relevant content that also features VUMC experts, our aim is to connect with consumers before and between their immediate needs for health care services,” said Linda Zettler, managing editor for My Southern Health.

“In addition to offering information that can enhance their well-being and that of their families, our goal is to begin and nurture relationships with them so that when they do need health care, they think of Vanderbilt first.”

Zettler, a former editor at The Tennessean, joined VUMC last fall.

In alignment with VUMC’s mission to improve the health of the southeastern United States and to grow the Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network in this region, My Southern Health is intentionally positioned as a resource for Southerners.

The site publishes new posts twice each weekday. The content is written by experienced journalists on staff at VUMC using faculty and staff members as expert sources.

Faculty and staff members also have the opportunity to contribute content and the site regularly features articles written by VUMC News and Communications staff writers. Information scientists in VUMC’s Knowledge Management Resource consult on credible sources of information outside VUMC.

To learn more or get involved

• Explore My Southern Health, sign up for daily email updates and submit content ideas or submissions to Zettler. The site is found at

• Join the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network using a Vanderbilt email address. The site is found at

• Learn more about the VUMC Social Media Policy and explore a list of VUMC social media channels. That site is found at

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