They tried to ruin this physician’s career…simply because he advocated for vaccination for our children.
When pediatrician Todd Wolynn MD found his pediatric practice in the crosshairs of a concerted attack by antivaccine cult members, he decided to fight back and fight back hard. Now he wants to share resources that every healthcare practitioner can use when they are fraudulently attacked and their reputations and livelihoods are threatened.
Also discussed: ways we as professionals can better communicate with vaccine-hesitant parents.
Links Referenced in the Show:
– Guys, this livecast, if you’re listening on a podcast after the fact, or you’re watching on YouTube after the fact, it is a few days after we’ve done this. We went live for supporters first. Facebook supporters there’s a link in the description on how you can join for $4.99 a month, and join a tribe of people that care deeply about transforming healthcare. There are thousands of us now. We have nightly discussions. We go live here first, because we want to get that energy and that engagement from the super fans around topics that we deeply care about. Then we might bring it to the main page, if you’re good. Definitely sign up as a supporter, if you want to see this stuff first, and have your voice and comments heard now. I want supporters to comment on this, because this is an important topic, and we have an important guest today. Today we have Dr. Todd Wolynn who is the CEO of Kids Plus Care in, did I say it right?
– [Todd] Kids Plus Pediatrics.
– Kids Plus Pediatrics in Pittsburg! See, I had one thing to remember and I forgot it. Kids Plus Pediatrics in Pittsburg. He is a crusader, a vaccine avenger. Put up the triptych for me. There it is. You see him? A vaccine avenger and pediatrician, which is exactly what he is, because he’s gonna teach us today, about how we can actually, whether it’s physicians or nurses, healthcare professionals, how we can fight back when antivaxxers, and other anti science lunatics. That’s my word, not his. He’s much more professional than me, come at us, because it’s been a thing. Doctors have been attacked. They’ve had their reputations destroyed. These horrible vitals.com, and these other websites, that do physician grading, have become cesspools of antivax nonsense, so Todd has taken it as a crusade, to try to fight back, because so often we’re disempowered. Todd, welcome to the show brother.
– Thank you. Thanks so much for having me.
– Man, how, tell me a little bit about your background. You’re a pediatrician. How did all that happen?
– Pediatrician, born and raised in Pittsburg. Stayed there. Also a Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
– That, put up the thing again, Logan.
– International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
– [Zubin] International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
– [Zubin] So you’re a breast Nazi?
– I am not a breast Nazi. I am supportive of providing evidence based medicine in support for breastfeeding.
– I love it, I love it. So that’s really actually quite convenient, because you’re also a pediatrician, so you can do both.
– That’s where it comes. Evidence based. So our mantra at our practice is we’re gonna support women the way they want to be supported but I wouldn’t make a recommendation on anything like a vaccine without giving you informed consent. I don’t know why people aren’t giving informed consent on feeding. If I told you your risk for lymphoma, and leukemia for kids decreased with breastfeeding, or the mother’s risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer decreased by breastfeeding, you should know that information. Doesn’t mean you have to breastfeed, but you should have informed consent.
– It makes perfect sense. Now it’s funny, because you use the term informed consent, which is one of these antivax slogans. If we had informed consent, then we would not choose to vaccinate. How did you get involved in this great vaccine struggle?
– Yeah, our practice was involved with actually clinical vaccine studies for 14 years, so I was involved with over 40 studies, as a sub, about 40 principal investigator on three so I got my feet wet in vaccines and got to see how intensively they’re studied, to see how everything has to be written down. The storage of the vaccine. Any complaint anybody has. We got to see this from the beginning all the way through, and we pretty much almost any vaccine that’s currently in the regimen, we were involved in most of the original studies.
– That’s incredible, and you’re a private group.
– Independent pediatric group. One of the proud remaining 20% of independent pediatricians.
– Fantastic, and you work with AAP, and some other organizations too on advocacy?
– Correct, yeah, I do a lot of work with the American Academy of Pediatrics. I’ve started doing some work with the International Pediatric Association as well, because specifically on the topic of vaccine hesitancy or confidence. It’s a global issue now. We have people that are putting out disinformation that are eroding vaccine herd immunity, like in Pakistan they just killed vaccine workers, and the police that guard them. Disinformation can be life threatening, and people receive death threats here in the U.S. because they promote vaccines.
– This to me, is why I wanted to have you on the show, because when you emailed me, you’re like, this is the work we’re doing. Would love your opinion on it, and I’m like yeah, my opinion is come on the show, and teach me about this now, because so many physicians have messaged me specifically and nurses as well. I just got in this debate online with these antivaxers. I had no idea they existed like this. I had no idea how crazy they are, and now they’re trying to ruin my reputation writing these false reviews, attacking, calling my hospital, telling them, that I’m advocating child murder, and turning children into autistic zombies, and have you yourself ever been a victim of this?
– Yeah, first I want to put things into context. In the U.S. we have about 75% of people who are vaccine accepting. You say I recommend the vaccine, and they’re totally down with it.
– [Zubin] 75%.
– That are just down.
– I just say I recommend the vaccine, and they say sure, got it. About 23% are vaccine hesitant, and you have about 1% to 2% that are anti-vaccine. Where the real issue here is, and where the science is going. They talk about communication sciences. Trying to figure out and reach the people that are hesitant. When you get to that 1% to 2% that are anti-vaccine, you’re dealing with a completely different entity, and there’s a hybrid even amongst them, and to your question, yes, we were the victim of a global coordinated anti vaccine attack. So, we, Kids Plus Pediatrics, for posting a video called We Prevent Cancer. Broke 100,000 views. It was a shot in our.
– [Zubin] Legit.
– Yeah, yeah, and we have a production studio on site, so I want to throw a big shout out to Chad Herman who is the Kids Plus pediatrics communications director. He’s been with us since Kids Plus formed, and he was the one that told us, we need to get heavy into social media. He said, video’s really the right media that we should really eventually be working in, and he said, they promised me, but I knew they’d never do it, but we built out a production studio about three years ago. Actually, launching a podcast in another month, but.
– By the way, that’s all a scam. I don’t believe in video, podcasts, or social media at all Todd. By the way, how can people find that video?
– The video is if you go to our YouTube or Vimeo channels you’ll be able to find them, or on to our Facebook page. That’s where the 100,000 views occurred.
– Search Kids Plus Pediatrics. So you did this video. Okay, I want to back up for a second, because some stuff you said, is actually a little bit of news to me, those numbers.
– I’m learning as I go about this stuff. I’m kind of like, I’m like a weirdly intuitive creature, that then turns to data after the intuition, so my intuition was always, there’s always a hardcore fringe of anti-vaxers that are delusional and dangerous, and then there’s the rest that are on the fence, and then the vast majority that are actually reasonably accepting, and have been conditioned a certain way, whatever it is, they realize there are experts, and they’re recommending this, and they trust their experts, because they feel like they have the child’s best interest in mind, but it’s that 1% to 2%, that cause all the trouble. Especially for the 20% that are on the fence. This has actually been looked at in terms of percentages?
– It has been. It’s been shown again and again, and what’s most exciting, is that the most influential, most impactful resource for parents to go to, is their trusted physicians. Pediatricians or other physicians or healthcare workers.
– Nurses in particular, yeah.
– Yeah, nurses even higher, right? If you look, I went to the AAP’s legislative conference, and they said they ranked like most trusted professions and there was nurses, there was pediatricians, there was teachers, there was Sith lord, there was Congressman, right? It was kind of like in that order.
– [Zubin] Sith lord beats Congressman. That makes sense.
– It was just like that.
– That makes sense, yeah.
– But here’s the travesty. In 2019, this is the realm you need to be making the recommendations, and so while you have most physicians are not yet immersed into social media, you have a younger generation of physicians, who are comfortable with the concept, but whose practices or even larger healthcare systems are restraining them and saying, we don’t want you to engage, or we don’t want you to put this information out, and all it takes is one of these attacks. Chad, just two weeks ago, had a quaternary pediatric children’s hospital, five communications people from there called him, asking him, how they should deal with this, because their leadership is telling them not to put out anything that’s vaccine related.
– Okay, there’s so much here Todd. I’m so glad you came on this show, and I’m so glad we didn’t talk much about this beforehand, because now you get to see my response live.
– [Todd] I’m gonna get a drink.
– Yes, please do, and I apologize because occasionally you’ll see me break eye contact with you to read comments because there’s a lot and Scott Pango whose an ID doc, is saying damn I’m gonna have to listen to this later, because this is on point. Here’s the thing. The fact that these 1% to 2% of anti-vaxers, have frightened the large groups, the corporations into backing down from what they know is right is disgusting. It’s disgusting that these people, the 1% to 2% exist. It’s also disgusting that our big groups have no balls, and again, I can say this, you don’t get to say this, but this is the thing. I’ve had major organizations be afraid to even touch me because of my pro vaccine sentiment which is crazy, because we all know in the science field that this is the right thing for children. The other thing is, even we did a show at my hospital where I’m on staff, where I love them and they love me, and we did a thing with flu vaccine, and the anti-vaxxers took one little clip out of context of a live show we did, and started saying oh we don’t like autistic children, because I said Tom you’re about to get your shot. Prepare to get all the autism, and it was just a passing comment. They take it out of context, because that’s what they like to do, and then the administration of the hospital said, you know what, we would never ask you to do this, but we are getting thousands of angry messages. Can you please make those messages go away? I said the only way to do that, is that I take down that video, and do a separate video, where I attack these people specifically. So I did that and I responded, but I did have to take that video down. That was terrible, because that was a video that was spreading the word about flu vaccination. We all got it live. A bunch of doctors got it live, in the physician lounge at UMC hospital, and we had to take it down, because of pressure on the organization. Back to you, your small private pediatrics group has a communication director, a video platform, is making waves and bigger groups are coming to you asking.
– Yeah, the attack went down like this, just so you get the history behind it. We post.
– Was it like the night king in Game of Thrones? A bunch of undead zombies.
– It was kind of scary like that. It started off nice, right?
– Then you lost all your Dothraki.
– Westeros. Everybody’s happy. What happens is we posted August 23rd, and we have about 15,000 views. People loving it, and basically we were saying, we prevent cancer, by administering the vaccine. You can too. You, the parent, so come on in. Loving it, and it did we asked it to do. People made their appointments, but about three weeks later. I think it was September 15th, the attack starts. Over 880 people globally. We tracked this. Posting over 10,000 times, to our Facebook site, and then attacking our Google and Yelp rating. It was coordinated because there was some pro vaccine people lurking in these groups who were sending us screenshots, saying dude, you better get ready. This is what’s coming.
– [Zubin] Winter is coming.
– Winter is coming. We literally use that. Winter was coming. We said look, we can either be victimized, and there was a couple other large scale attacks we were aware of, but we didn’t choose to be victims, and this is my favorite sound byte, that one of the newspapers picked up, but we did choose to take a stand, and we said they messed with the wrong practice.
– [Zubin] I love it, I love it.
– It was bold letters, but we fought back with the things that scientists and physicians should. Research. We collaborated with the University of Pittsburg Graduate School of Public Health and studied the hell out of this attack. By the way, lead author, Beth Hoffman, huge ZDogg fan. She asked me to give.
– See, scientists occasionally like us.
– Love you, and Travis Lewis is our resident P.A. Who is our ZDogg connection.
– Did you say Travis Lewis? Travis is a Zpacker?
– [Todd] He is huge.
– Travis, you complete me, okay buddy? I don’t know what this was. It was supposed to be a heart, but it ended up being some misshapen thing. Anyways back to you.
– We studied the attack, right? We look at the breakdown of these patients. You know the usual fight is liberty or purity is how they come at it. You can’t tell me what to do, or it’s not safe in there.
– [Zubin] You nailed it.
– The study further subdivided that, into conspiracy and safety and alternatives. They broke it out into four groups, to give us a little bit of a more nuanced approach to maybe vaccine hesitant people as opposed to again, the anti vax, but the other three ways we fought back besides research was one, to create a toolkit, which we are 80 pages into a living document, based on the platform. If you’re attacked on Facebook, this is what you do. If you’re attacked on Twitter, this is what you do. If your Google reviews have been hit, this is what you do. It’s 80 pages. Our story, the philosophy, and then if you’re in the midst of the attack and don’t have time to dive into this, likely Pulitzer prize winning document, you can go to the back and say, I’m getting attacked on Google, and just work off this really quick page, that shows you how to start dealing with your reviews being hit. Or Yelp, Or Twitter, or on Facebook, and this is what people need, so there’s a toolkit. The other thing we created was something called Shots Heard Round the World, which is a vetted private pro vaccine rapid response social media rescue network, so if you’re getting attacked, we light the fires of Gondor, and signal fires of Gondor, and we come to your aid.
– Where was Gondor? When they were claiming my child was autistic because of the vaccines, where was Gondor? Where was Gondor? That’s amazing. Keep going, keep going. I’m fired up now.
– And the fourth thing has been this kind of presentation and media awareness campaign. We have been on the L.A. Times, Washington Post. I presented down. I was able to help in Panama, at the International Pediatric Association, because this is a global phenomenon, and presenting in Philly, coast to coast. I mean we’re doing this internationally now.
– Okay, let me recap this. This is amazing. So you have this big document that is a resource and then at the back a quick tool to say how do I respond on Twitter, Facebook, wherever I’m getting attacked.
– [Todd] We’re calling it the Kids Plus Social Media Strategy Guide, and Anti Vaccine Combat Toolkit.
– That’s not complicated. Is there an acronym for that?
– [Todd] No, we’re working on it. Give me some time.
– I’ll give you time. I’ll give you time, because Gordon Bodson asked, how do we get the toolkit, and we’ll put links and stuff.
– So we currently don’t have it out. It’s still in draft form, because it is a living document. It’s already been revised two or three times, but we want to work with hopefully a non profit that has a distribution network, that can allow us to get this out and get it to everybody. We’re working hard on that right now.
– Okay, the pitch here is, if you are a non profit or an organization that thinks can put some steam behind this and get it out as a distribution. Obviously, we offer our services to get it out, but it’d be nice to have a legit org behind it, that isn’t ZDogg MD, pushing it out. Hit us up in the comments. Actually message your group through your website, yeah?
– Yeah, and to be frank, we’re for profit. We put thousands of hours already. We have three people, working the Shots Heard Round the World team, all on our dime, so we are looking to try and work with a non profit to get some support for the work that we’re doing, because this comes at the expense of seeing patients. My partners think, yeah this is really awesome, but dude, we gotta pay the electricity.
– We got RVUs to generate, yeah.
– So we’re trying to find a nice support network to get this to happen.
– That’s awesome. Now the second thing, speaking of support network, the second tier of what you’re doing, is this global response action squad.
– Shots Heard. It’s at Shots Heard. We just launched the account yesterday on Twitter.
– [Zubin] Shots Heard.
– Shots Heard, at Shots Heard, and the formal name Shots Heard Round the World.
– That’s great, and so if you get attacked. What if you’re? Okay, I get a lot of these messages. ZDogg, I got in this brawl with, I’m a nurse, I got in a brawl with another nurse on Facebook about vaccines. She sent me all this crap. Could they reach out to you? Or more of a big attack?
– Yeah, correct coordinated attacks. If you have a coordinated attacked, and we could tell you, because Chad dealt with this literally 24/7. I mean he took some sleep over that time, but he was every day waking up to thousands more hits, and so what we noticed was, when we put the word out, and I actually happened to be at the American Academy of Pediatric National Meeting when the attack occurred on our group. I could literally ask for help. I was talking to Bob, and I was talking to other people there. We were actually putting the word out in social media and so when the calvary arrived, we saw that that’s when this curve literally the attack, the attack’s coming up, and then all these people come in to start helping us, and the attack seems to go away, and what Chad likes to say is, when a bully gets punched back, they seem to walk away, and so we studied them and we also got, Physicians Mom group, and tens of thousands of people starts attacking with data and explicatives, and it was beautiful. SOAPM, SOAPM I love you. They’re big Zdogg fans. Section on Administration Practice Management. They’re bad ass pediatricians. They came to our aid. Vince Iannelli came to our aid. A bunch of people. When that happened, we wanted to reproduce that. We said this is something special, let’s make it not so hard to recreate every time someone gets attacked on a large scale.
– That is so awesome, because it validates everything that we kind of believe. I had to take the mic off the stand, because I’m so angry. It actually means nothing. It’s just fun to hold something. Like I have a strange fetish that way. Holding objects. Here’s the thing. You noticed data, because you’re a data guy, I can tell, and I’m not. I’m more like, I steal other people’s data and parse it in a way that non data people can understand. You saw that the attack started to trail off when the cavalry came in in the form of social media juice, and this is what we’ve noticed with our platform. You’ll get a smattering of attacks on ZDogg’s page, but they get destroyed. They get devastated by two million healthcare professionals that are like shut the heck up. Most healthcare professionals don’t have the juice to defend themselves in that way, so they’re overwhelmed by this kadra. It’s actually a rather small but vocal kadra of anti-vaxxers. What you’re offering is saying, well here’s a cavalry that you can activate, especially for concerted attacks. Particularly for those, because now we can fight back and drown them out. Out basically juice them on social media, which means SEO and all the things that you use are now juiced in your favor. Oh my gosh, this has been so long in coming. I’m so glad, and you know what? You know what’s interesting? It’s not an academic group that did this. It’s not like some big organization. It’s a small upstart for profit pediatric group in Pittsburg that cares enough about their patients, that they’re entrepreneurial and they’re like you know what, this costs us money, but we’re gonna do it. That is dope man. Kudos to you.
– Thank you. Thank you very much. I will show you the graph. You could even post it up there if you want, but we have the graph of where the attack occurs, and where the counter attack, or the support comes in, and it’s a thing of beauty. We want to, exactly like you said, if you’re not big enough, even if you’re solo, or there’s a practice down in Oklahoma, that got devastated, because she didn’t have those resources, and we talked and want this help out there for any group and it doesn’t have to be just physician. If it’s a vaccine advocate that’s a target of a coordinated large scale attack.
– Coordinated, right? Monique Tello just wrote a piece in Kevin MD and she and I have been in cahoots, and she interviewed me about this, and the truth is we need this. This is what we need, because listen, let’s be honest. Most physicians are physicians, because they’re a little risk averse.
– [Todd] Really risk averse.
– You know, they know that what they can do can hurt people if they don’t do it right. We’re conditioned to be careful and methodical. Part of the reason we go into medicine is so that we can drive a Camry for sure. We know we’re gonna have this level of income at minimum which as a pediatrician, what are you driving by the way?
– It’s a 2014 Honda Odyssey. It’s almost got 60,000 miles right now.
– God bless you.
– It’s pimped out though. It has a sun roof.
– Oh you got a sun roof. You know what? You’re not a real pediatrician. My buddy has a Honda. My pediatrician buddy has a Honda Accord, no sunroof. I myself drive a Toyota Camry, but it’s a hybrid, because I’m a hospitalist, and we take it to the next level. The truth is, and I’m sure you get accused of shilling and all the usual stuff.
– Power Shill.
– [Zubin] Yes, power shill.
– I do some consulting for sure. I do it with Merck, with Sanofi. I’ve worked a lot on vaccine confidence issues as of late. I do work with the American Academy of Pediatrics. I do work with the International Pediatric Association. I work with the International Lactation Consultation Association. I work with lots of people. I’m proud of what I do, but at the core of everything I do, it’s needs to be evidence based, and that’s where this craziness comes in where nobody is pushing back, because physicians are in the right position. They have the trust. They have the relationship. If I look you in the eye and I said look, I wouldn’t recommend anything to you that I wouldn’t give to my own child, and in fact, I’ve given these all to my kids, that’s what people need to hear, but they’re so terrorized, by this weaponized social media. Whether it’s via post or via Tweet, and now the newest thing they do in coordinated fashion, is go after their Google reviews, and their Yelp Reviews, because that is a real deal financial hit, right? If you’re a millennial, and you’re looking for a group, and you’re like one star versus somebody that’s quarter mile away and they’re four stars, are you really going to dig into the reviews and try and figure out what this was about? No.
– But if you did, if you’re a millennial and you’re watching this show, and you’re like how do I parse these reviews? Read the reviews, and watch what they say. Such and such forces vaccinations. Such and such doesn’t believe in informed consent. Such and such is a shill for big pharma. The minute you see those things, assume that that’s one of the better doctors you’re gonna find, because they’ve provoked the outrage of really really awful people.
– I have a good story for you on the reviews. You ready for this? So here we are, we’re getting pounded on reviews. We go from four stars, down to like less than a star. We reach out to. We own our sites, and we have this all in the toolkit, on how to work through this, but we go to Yelp, and we say to Yelp, here’s what’s going on. Within two weeks, within a week, Yelp puts up a banner, this sites under review, for suspicious activity. Some people came and gave five star protective fraudulent reviews to balance out the one star reviews, so that they were trying to come to our aid. Within two weeks, Yelp had everything cleaned up. Totally gone. One woman that Chad likes to talk about, one of the anti-vaxxers, was so determined, she kept putting another one star in, and they would keep taking it away, and finally, after the fourth one she stopped. Yelp is our gold standard of how this needs to be handled, and we’ve told Yelp, and we’ve talked with Yelp, and we’ve even talked about, maybe doing some collaboration. Let me tell you about Google. Google, you can’t get to Google directly. Even if you own your site. Matter of fact, you as an outside viewer of my site, can mark reviews as just as fraudulent as I can. I don’t have any more power owning the site than you do to say, and by the way, fraudulent is not even a, you can mark it as spam, or two other categories. So we go ahead, and we mark it. We can’t get in touch with them. We can’t get in touch with them. Finally, Chad gets them through a Twittermybiz.com handle through a backdoor and gets a canned response, we’ll look into it. Okay, so after about a month and a half or two, they remove, an unbeknownst to us why they chose these, a third of the fraudulent reviews. Mind you we have screenshots of them saying, I’m gonna post a fraudulent review. I live in Sydney Australia. I like essential oils and here’s a one star review, and we show them the screenshots, and they don’t remove those. We’re like which ones, why are they picking these? He spends three more months. Now we’re like six months almost into it, and they remove another third of the reviews. Now we’re six months in, so our rankings, our reviews are coming back up to two or three, so you can understand how these can be devastating. 345 days later, a third of the reviews still remained. Fraudulent reviews, and it isn’t until the Guardian, thank you Guardian, runs the story on our attack, and then talks about the fraudulent reviews, that magically the very next day after the Guardian piece, the last third of Google, and I bashed them every chance I can, because I keep asking them for an audience. I would love to talk to you guys. Tell you what’s going on. Make you accountable. Have you help people, but right now you don’t give a crap about the authenticity of your reviews, just like Dr. Sam Erlich is going on in Western Pennsylvania. I counted yesterday, 41 one star reviews within about a three hour period, because the anti-vaxxers are attacking right now.
– [Zubin] Yeah, Sam got attacked.
– Google, you have a responsibility, an accountability. Yelp takes it seriously. I recommend you use their methodology, and I’m still happy to talk to you any time.
– [Todd] I’m a little passionate about this.
– I’m so angry at Google right now, because Google hasn’t done crap for us either, but I’ll say that, fix your ish Google. Like listen, people who take care of other human beings for a living that one day will be taking care of you and your family, you’re gonna let this shit happen to their careers because some horrible human beings decide to fraudulently use your platform. Grow up, do something right for a change, and kudos to Yelp if Yelp is actually helping, and by the way, vitals.com, I heard from Monique, was not helpful, so we should start shaming these organizations that suck. Okay, I’m looking you in the eye, and I’m telling you this. Man, that is awesome. Thank you for sharing that, because I didn’t know that about Google.
– Yeah, it’s been a bear, and I will tell you other groups are suffering and how much is it gonna take from one person that’s particularly off the scale to read something like that, and do something even more atrocious.
– [Zubin] The death threat.
– How do you handle people who get death, because I get hundreds of death threats.
– We aren’t to your level.
– Well, you know, no one is. I mean no one’s gonna get killed as brutally as me by an anti-vaxxer. They’re gonna vaccinate me to death.
– We got, you’re baby killers. You’re killing people. We didn’t get the out and out death threats. We certainly got lots of horrible things said about us, but we certainly have talked to several groups, and that’s another thing that we’re doing is we’re interviewing other groups, that have been attacked, and one of the side pieces of Shots Heard Round the World, is we’ve now created a prospective database, for future attacks, so that we can look at strategies, and methodologies and characteristics so we have more data behind these. Again, University of Pittsburg, School of Public Health, and their Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health. They’re the ones that we did the, we were published in the journal Vaccine on this research.
– [Zubin] Congratulations.
– Thanks, so we’re pretty pumped right. So go at them with research and science.
– I’m so inspired by the stuff you’re doing, because you know, sometimes it feels like you’re fighting in a vacuum, but look, we have this huge social media tribe, the ZPack and they are with us on this ride, but each of them individually can get very scared, because they feel powerless in the setting of all this, so to see again, you guys have a lot on the line. Your livelihood depends on patients trusting you and believing you, and when they have to parse that through stuff they read on Google or Yelp, and it’s incorrect, that is a huge hit, but you’re willing to take that risk and fight back and give others the tools to fight back. That’s a huge thing man.
– There’s some really important system level changes that are still necessary. I mean we’ve talked to Paul Offit, Richard Pan, Peter Hotez, Renee Diresta, and we’re looking for.
– The four horsemen of the apocalypse, as far as the anti-vaxxers are concerned.
– For instance, look at Twitter right. There are block bots you can put together. I’m not infringing on your first amendment free speech if I don’t want to hear what you have to say, right? You can say what you want to say to your group, but I can preblock that. Facebook doesn’t have that. We’ve created almost a no fly list, of people that have attacked us, so that yeah could you go in and enter 800 or 900 or 1,000 names. Why can’t Facebook say, anybody associated with vaccine myths and discussions, or any of these pseudo, like they’re out there trying to vaccines when in fact, they’re anti-vax, why can’t we block them ahead of time? They don’t have to follow me. I don’t have to follow them, but Facebook yet doesn’t allow that ability.
– And Facebook talks about changing it. What’s interesting is again, Zuckerberg, is married to Priscilla Chan. Priscilla Chan is a fierce advocate of public health and vaccines. When I moved back to the Bay, I’m gonna try to sneak in, to whatever office they’re in, and be like hey bro, let’s check it out. If you don’t know me, I’m a bald man, but I care deeply about your platform being used for good, because we think we’re using it for good.
– [Todd] Absolutely.
– Man, that’s awesome. So let me ask then, what’s next on your list? Do you want to find, get a non profit to help you get juice behind the?
– [Todd] The toolkit.
– Yeah, the toolkit. You have your Shots Heard.
– Round the World, or just Shots Heard on Twitter. It’s at Shots Heard. This group, it’s literally, I waited to formally launch it. Tied into coming out here, because I was so excited.
– [Zubin] That’s awesome.
– We did the soft launch about a month and a half ago. We have 150 plus people already vetted, so if you’re interested in joining, it’s join at Shotsheard.com That’s the email, and basically you’re gonna get, a Survey Monkey. Please fill it out. It allows us to help vet you, to see your previous performance on social media so we know you’re the real deal, and then basically you are now part of an email list, that you’ll see when there are attacks, that we put the word out. Please provide support to this account. We also have a closed Facebook group where there’s some discussion that goes on board there with Chad heading that effort.
– I love it. You know, and it’s good, because I get a lot of messages. Can you please support this doctor, this doctor, this doctor, this nurse, this doctor, and the truth is if I did that every time, it would lose juice for me. In other words, my fans don’t want to constantly hear about doctors getting attacked, so it’s good that there’s a bigger tribe, where we can all be a part of that, and so that’s a great way to sign up and answering the survey questions, means they’re not a robot, they’re not an anti-vaxxer.
– Yeah, it helps us. We literally are paying people to vet through this to make sure we have a group that’s supportive of vaccines and then when there’s an issue, they just email us at [email protected] to let us know where the attack’s occurring.
– What I’ll have you do is when we’re done with the show I’ll have you email me a bunch of links and different things so we can put it in the show notes on the web post when we repost this to the full tribe, and that way people will have all the resources in one place, and it’s also nice, because you could send people to that interview, and also because again, these are the logistics, right? People don’t realize there’s a lot of work that goes into reaching people on social media. You have to have experience. You have to have the juice. You have to grow the juice. You have to know how to deploy the juice without screwing it up. I call it the juice. It’s really this magical influence, is what it is, and you want to use it for good.
– Absolutely. I mean if there’s one message I hope to convey, it’s that science based evidence based health advocates, pediatricians, physicians, public health workers, anybody I want them to find their social media voice, because right now I think that the anti science anti vaccine groups can kind of bully, threaten, and overwhelm people, but there’s way more of us than there are of them and we have science on our side, so I want you to find your voices, and to feel comfortable and confident, that you can do this, and you have people that have your back.
– I love it. Can I ask you a question? And this is just.
– [Todd] Blue.
– Of course, I knew it. What kind of milk do you drink? Blue. Because he’s a Star Wars fan. I’m gonna ask you a question from colleague to colleague about what I’m doing and whether you think it’s a good thing or a bad thing. When anti-vaxxers come on my page, I have started just banning them. I used to let them rant, because people should see what they say. Now I know, the 1% to 2% are just delusional and unchangeable and I get messages from the 20% who are like, you helped me understand this. Thank you. Now I vaccinate my children, or I am so scared. I hear all these things. I watch what you do. I don’t know what to do, and then you can have a good discussion, right? Because you know that they’re willing to hear at least an emotional argument, and then the science, as opposed to hitting them with the science, so we do all that, but there are times, when there will be a particular anti-vaxxer, who will do something and I will launch every missile in my armamentarium at once, and it will be shame ridicule, scorn, more ridicule, ad hominems, everything they do to us, I throw back at them with interest, and it destroys them. In other words, they disappear. They stop because they’ve never been attacked back at scale. It’s like you said, a bully whose punched right in the face by someone 17 times stronger than them, right? Which our platform is, it just eviscerates them. Now people have criticized me and said, you’re stopping to their level. You’re not using science. You’re talking about ad hominems. You’re this and that, and I’m like yeah, there are plenty of good people like yourself, like Paul Offit, and Peter Hotez, that take the high road and really have earned that. My job is to fight dirty sometimes. Do you disagree with that as a premise for me?
– For you, I would say you should do what’s right for you, and I think that is a reasonable approach because I think you are taking this from a completely different angle than the groups that we talk to. From the groups that we talk to, and I need to kind of put that in here, the number one strategy we say, is don’t engage, because it’ll overwhelm the resources. You have a platform, and you have resources, and you have a message, that I think comes at it from a completely different angle and I think to your point as we said, when these people have something thrown right back at them, it really takes the wind out of their sails, but the question we get all the time is what do we do, and as Chad our communications director says is don’t engage, hide, ban, and delete. I do want to be clear again, you’re talking about the anti-vaxxers. It’s the other group, where the communication science really is lying right now, which is you can’t throw data down at them. You can’t throw facts, because what the communication science is if you’re already hesitant, that causes you to dig your heels in more. So it’s making sure that we’re nuanced and understand that there’s actually some science that’s now on a platform, that’s come out of collaborative research with the Indiana University, John Parish Brow, and Sanofi Pasteur Angus Thompson that’s called AMES which is another kind of initial based, acronym for Announce, Inquire, Mirror, and Secure. It’s all relationship based. It’s communication science. Relationship based. First announce. Just say today you’re gonna get the vaccine. 75% are gonna say yeah, but if the 25% say oh I’m not sure, you want to inquire and understand what their concerns are, not just immediately say, look, don’t worry. Here’s the numbers. It’s safe. You want to. The science behind this says you want them to feel felt. You want them to know that you know what they’re feeling, and if you do that, you’ll see an enormous percentage of those people, once they realize you’re not there just to shove something down their throat, I just rounded the other day, in the hospital and this mom had refused the Hepatitis B for her baby and I said can I ask you what’s going on? She said, nobody will answer me straight. They basically tell me just get the vaccine just because and I feel like I’m being talked down to, and nobody really is interested in what my concerns are. My mom told me I didn’t have to get all these vaccines and I spent 25 minutes with her in the room just talking about it, and she said, that was awesome. She goes I’m fine getting it. Nobody talked to me yet, and that was all it took. Back to your original question, yeah. I think what you’re doing is amazingly powerful and I think it does kind of take a serious hit back, at people that are attacking us unrelentingly, but I want everybody to be clear, that this is relationship based communication to reach the people. That chunk of 23% that will vaccinate if we can help them understand the real deal behind vaccines.
– Wow. Okay, wow, wow. What you just did was exactly what I was hoping you would do which is distinguish between what we’re doing which is attacking 1% to 2%. Shaming them off of the internet, and what needs to be done to communicate to our patients, which are the 20% that are hesitant, and what you just described is so on point, because it goes back to everything we talk about with elephant and rider, and this unconscious emotional intuitive self that we ignore when we start throwing data, because we’re talking to the little rider on top but that rider is gonna dig in their heels if their elephant is scared or feels otherwise. I want to go through that one more time, before we end this. A is announced.
– Is announced. Because, and again, think of this in efficiency manner. 75% are gonna say yes. Today, Jimmy needs his TDAP, HPV, and Mening.
– Let’s do that. You don’t prime them and say, you know a lot of people are nervous about vaccines, but here’s the thing. You go okay this is what we’re gonna do today. If they then push back, and say hold on, then you inquire. What’s your concern?
– Oftentimes HPV seems to, and I serve on National Management Board for HPV as well I do a lot of work in that area.
– And you’re covered with warts. That’s the other thing.
– Good makeup job by the way. Thank you. But I’ll say, can you tell me a little bit more about what your concerns are. In that case the HPV, I’ll say, can you tell me more what your concern is, and you might start hearing some of the disinformation. I heard it sterilizes kids. I heard it makes them more promiscuous. I heard that and you go through and you say can you tell me, how’d you hear that? Where’d you hear that? My sister posted that on her Facebook page, and so then you kind of move to the other side of the table and say that would scare the hell out of me, if I thought that my kid was gonna be sterilized with this vaccine, right? Really try and help meet them on their ground to understand through their eyes what’s terrifying them. Then once you inquire and you mirror what they’re explaining is their concerns, if they show you that they’re willing to talk further which oftentimes is shifting that conversation over to I can see why you’re scared. Let’s talk more about it. You’re already trusted right. They’re in your office with their kid for care. They already trust you, because they came through your door, so instead of beating them up with data, take some extra time and understand we all pressed to see the next patient because of what the time constraints are in medicine, but that extra time, whether when rounding like I did with that mom or in the exam room, is enough to let them be heard. To have a meaningful discussion. To have a heart to heart with you. They can open it up. If after inquire, mirror, it still wasn’t there, then you secure it, you can say look, I can see we aren’t gonna agree on this. We’re gonna agree to disagree today, but I think what’s most important is we both have Jimmy’s best health and interest at heart. You’re here for a visit. I’m here to help provide care, so let’s see if we can talk further next time, but let’s provide the care that we both agree on today.
– That’s an actionable sequence and toolkit that all healthcare professionals can use to communicate.
– I’ll tell you the International Pediatric Association has just adopted that. When I was down in Panama, that’s what they were teaching, and it’s communication relationship based science, and we should all be better communicators. At the end of the day, we need to be better communicators.
– It’s crazy to me, that all we are is relationships, and yet, we’re kind of bad at it a lot of the time. We are reductionist. We are materialist. We’re molecules. It’s really this, and we’re gonna have another doc on the show tomorrow, who is an end of life specialist at USC, and her whole thing is, words are like a scalpel. Especially in palliative care. You make cuts, you make incisions. You have outcomes with your words. They matter, so the relational nature of what we do, is at the heart of everything, and what everything you’ve told me today is about how we can heal those relationships and best use techniques to make sure we’re doing the right thing for patients, and again, I think this just makes us better human beings, when we actually are able to. It’s a thing I like to call compassion. It’s love and concern in the face of struggle and suffering. That’s absolutely wonderful, and I think a pretty good way for us to go out. Unless you have any other thoughts on this.
– No, I just again, I think we all have a voice. I hope we all can express it on social media, and educate and help our families, and I’m super thankful for the opportunity to be on the show today.
– Just so you guys know, sometimes I get an email from a guest, a potential guest, and they’re super enthusiastic on the email like Todd was and I don’t know Todd. We haven’t spoken. I look through some of the stuff. I’m like this looks legit. You know what. Let’s just take a risk and have them. He’ll come out and we’ll have him on the show, and then I sit here and I’m just floored at what a perfect perfect mouthpiece for what we’re trying to teach you have been Todd, so thank you for coming out here on your own time, teaching, and again, doing everything you do, to help us on the frontlines, take better care of children, and adults.
– Thanks very much.
– Thanks again.
– Everybody, if you are a supporter, thanks for supporting this show. If you’re not, become a supporter. If you’re still not, and you don’t want to be, that’s cool, but you know how you can help us, share this video. Tell your friends. If you’re listening to the podcast, leave a review on iTunes because that actually helps bump us up in rankings so we can keep up with these Peter Atias, and these Neil Degrassi Tysons and yeah, I just said it Degrassi, because I don’t respect you Neil. All right, because I want your success. Thank you again, to Todd Wolynn, of Kids Plus Pediatrics in Pittsburg. I got it right, and we out Todd. Thanks brother.