Stanford physician Eric Strong has become a YouTube star

Eric Strong
Eric Strong

Stanford physician ERIC STRONG, clinical associate professor of medicine, has a unique side gig as a YouTube star. His channel, Strong Medicine, has more than 300,000 subscribers from all around the world, and his videos range in topic from personal medical experiences – “My Night as an ER patient“– to tips on surviving medical school.

His channel is a free, on-demand video designed primarily for medical trainees and professionals.

The Stanford Medical School blog Scope spoke with Strong to learn more.

Why did you decide to start producing videos?

I started about eight years ago. Many faculty give lectures to the medicine residency program and then make their lecture slides available to residents. When I was asked to give a talk, I remembered that when I was a resident I never looked up lecture slides after the fact, so I tried to think of how I could make my material more engaging.

I put together a video for the talk and then the residency program didn’t really have a place for it. So I thought, I’ll just make a YouTube channel.

For the first couple months the videos were literally getting two views a day. But then people would come across these videos and they started asking me if I had any more content to share. It got fun, interacting with these strangers, often medical residents and students at other institutions. I started taking a couple requests and making more videos and it spread from there. I think I’ve averaged about two to three videos a month over the last eight years.

Were you ever surprised to see who was watching your videos? 

Some of the videos naturally are going to appeal more to a layperson and some appeal naturally more to medical professionals.

But I think the thing that’s been the most surprising is where the viewers are coming from. When I first started off it was almost all United States, all relatively young adults, 18 to 25.

But over time those demographics have shifted and now the majority of my viewers come from outside the United States. Some of the countries are pretty predictable, like for example there are a lot of viewers from India.

But there are other countries, like Iraq. Iraq is this strange extreme outlier in terms of subscribers per population. Brazil, too. I was surprised by that. But that’s been really great because then you get a sense that your reach has gone beyond just places that you’re intimately familiar with.

Do you have a favorite video?

I think the video I put the most effort into is “Most Published Medical Research is Wrong.” It argues why most published medical research is factually incorrect for a variety of reasons. I was very happy with how it brought together some of the challenges with medical research.

Read more on the Scope website.