Before we begin, let’s get one thing out of the way:
“It’s pronounced KASS-A BOY, like ‘cowboy,” “says Dr. Cassoobhoy.
Cassoobhoy, 48, is indeed a kind of cowboy who examines information and then shares it in an accessible manner. As Editor-in-Chief of Everyday Health and Vice President for Medical Affairs, she will do just that on a regular basis – along with her work as a practicing internist with specialist training and mother of a 17-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son.
She was meant to be a doctor. Your father, dr. med. Raz Moosajee, was a pediatrician and Lt. Col. in the Air Force in Warner Robins, Georgia, where she grew up.
“Many of the kids I played with were my father’s patients,” said Cassoobhoy, former senior medical director at WebMD and senior medical correspondent at Medscape. “When I got into high school, I realized that I wanted to work directly with people. Medicine was a very natural path for me. “
She was taking a Sociology course in Health and Disease at Emory University and a lightbulb went out. She discovered that she really wanted to see health as more than disease and medicine; She was interested in a holistic approach that included the perspective of the individual and their communities. She attended medical school at Emory School of Medicine and received a master’s degree in public health from Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health. After about 10 years of clinical practice, she shifted her focus to health education and ways to influence health beyond the personal doctor-doctor visit.
Cassoobhoy currently serves on the Emory School of Medicine alumni board of directors and serves on the board of directors of the Clarkston Community Health Center (CCHC) in Georgia, a nonprofit clinic for those without adequate health insurance, many of whom are new immigrants. She is also a consultant for the Refugee Women’s Network’s Community Health Promoters Program, which brings together women from different backgrounds and trains them in delivering health education to their communities.
One of the things she is passionate about is health literacy – empowering people to find the information they need, and then understand and use it.
“Is it so much about how you make health information relevant to the community as you speak in a way that is engaging and inclusive? How do you build trust? Trust is a big problem right now. “
“Last year, unsurprisingly, was all about COVID-19,” she says. “As a healthcare provider and medical writer, it’s important to acknowledge that it’s okay to have questions – for example: when it comes to getting the vaccine. We need to answer all the questions people ask and add to our information, “This is what we know based on the latest research: “Explain the logic of why we came to our recommendations.”
At Everyday Health, Cassoobhoy helps create content “where we can really get into health literacy. The idea is to provide health information to patients and audiences that is useful and empowers them to be proactive and make informed decisions about their health and healthcare, ”she says.
Of course, this is often easier said than done. How do you identify useful, trustworthy information and avoid misleading or false medical news?
Unsurprisingly, Cassoobhoy has some tips:
Check the date. With the COVID-19 information, everything is changing so quickly that you want to know when the piece was published and updated to make sure the data is current.
Sources, sources, sources. Who is writing the piece and what is their background? Can you check their qualifications and education? Are you a qualified doctor or health professional? Also, check out the website to make sure it’s legit. When citing studies, make sure you can find the study directly. (Most data-driven websites link to the magazine article.) Make sure you can easily review all of the information.
Be careful. While there are many people on social media who share compelling and inspiring personal stories, it’s important to realize that the health information they share may not be verified or applicable to you.
Check. Are you reading something that is directly at odds with what you can find on other websites? That’s a sign you need to keep proving. Reputable websites from organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), or your state’s Department of Health are reliable sources. So is your own doctor.
Which raises another problem: Whenever you talk to your doctor about anything, be sure to write down your questions before you arrive and have someone come to the appointment to take notes. “I’m doing this with my doctor, accountant, and lawyer so I can check it out later,” she says. “If you need clarification, call back and speak to the doctor or nurse.”
This is exactly the kind of information Cassoobhoy would like to share with the readers of Everyday Health. “As a doctor, it’s really important to make sure that all of the content you create is medically correct, practical, and in the right tone,” she says. “It’s such a privilege to be able to do that. I’m excited, I’m honored, I’m ready to go. “
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