TikTok’s ‘Medical Mythbuster’ is on a mission to expose racial inequality and promote social change.
TikToking Social Change
Joel Bervell, a dedicated third-year medical student at WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, has leveraged the power of TikTok to transform a platform known for quirky videos and dance memes into a tool for social change.
The Medical Mythbuster
With over 400,000 followers and videos garnering more than 10 million likes, the 26-year-old is widely recognized as the “Medical Mythbuster” for his compelling content that sheds light on racial disparities in medicine.
The Change Maker
Recently, TikTok named him among its top ten changemakers, solidifying his impact in the digital realm.
Raising Pulses and Blood Oxygen Levels
Bervell’s journey began with a viral video in which he tackled pulse oximeters, devices used to measure blood oxygen saturation levels.
Monitors With a Racial Bias?
He highlighted the concerning fact that these devices can provide inaccurate readings on darker skin, potentially leading to inadequate treatment for black patients.
He Highlighted Other Disparities
The video struck a chord with viewers, igniting a passion within Bervell to shed light on numerous other healthcare disparities prevalent in the United States.
Race Based Misconceptions
From faulty race-based equations in kidney function to misconceptions about black skin thickness,
Bervell fearlessly addresses these systemic issues that disproportionately affect marginalized communities.
Education and Accessibility in Bite-Sized Videos
His approach to raising awareness is rooted in education and accessibility.
Bervell crafts concise one-minute videos, presenting related studies and facts in a manner that resonates with both medical professionals and the public.
By Simplifying Topics the Concerns Reached a Wider Audience
By simplifying complex topics and sharing eye-opening revelations, he invites viewers to join him on a journey of realization and understanding.
Not Racist but, a Systemic Bias
Bervell emphasizes that many health disparities exist not due to individual prejudice, but rather due to ingrained systemic biases.
His goal is to dismantle these barriers by sparking conversations and ensuring that vital knowledge reaches a wider audience.
Beyond his work on TikTok, Bervell has expanded his advocacy to encompass Black History Month.
He uses his platform to showcase influential Black leaders in history, including tennis star Arthur Ashe and sculptor .
A Mentorship Program for Marginalized Populations
Additionally, he has established a mentorship program to recruit more underrepresented students to WSU’s College of Medicine.
As a testament to his commitment to making a difference, Bervell served as the student body president and continues to advocate for underserved and marginalized populations.
He Knows the Consequences
Raised in a small town north of Seattle to Ghanaian immigrant parents, Bervell witnessed the devastating consequences of medical disparities firsthand.
A Preventable Tragedy
The loss of his grandmother to a manageable infection in Ghana further fueled his determination to bridge the gap in healthcare accessibility.
Hugs for Ghana
In her honor, he and his siblings founded , a nonprofit organization that raises funds for school and medical supplies for Ghanaian children.
He’s Committed to Doing Good
Bervell’s personal experiences and his unwavering dedication to addressing bias in medicine stem from a genuine desire to improve the lives of real people.
Plans for His Future
While currently focusing on his clinical rotations in Vancouver, Washington, Bervell envisions a future career as an orthopedic surgeon.
However, his commitment to combating bias in medicine remains unwavering.
Grants for a Podcast
He continues to amplify his message through various avenues, including an upcoming podcast project supported by a $50,000 Black Creative Grant from TikTok.
An Example for Minority Students
Bervell’s journey is a shining example of the WSU community’s dedication to understanding the experiences of its students, particularly those from minoritized or marginalized backgrounds.
An Inclusive Future
Through ongoing education and willingness to listen, the medical field can strive towards a more equitable and inclusive future.
The Power of Digital Platforms
Joel Bervell’s advocacy and impact on TikTok demonstrate the power of using digital platforms to effect change.
Challenge the System!
As he encourages young people to pursue their passions and take that crucial first step, his remarkable journey inspires others to challenge systemic inequalities, fostering a more just and inclusive healthcare system for all.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Roman Chazov. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.