An assistant clinical professor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) has gone viral across social media with her educational, fun and down-to-earth videos.
Board-certified Pediatric Ophthalmologist Rupa Wong has been on social media for only three years, but her social media posts as @drrupawong have captured the attention of many across the world.
Wong has accumulated more than 225,000 followers/subscribers across TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. She also has a weekly podcast, “It’s Good to See You with Dr. Rupa Wong,” where she delves into the challenges of balance, time management, entrepreneurship and being a boss on your own terms.
How it started
I really do believe that if you see it—you can be it.
It all started with Instagram in 2019, when Wong discovered a group of other doctors that were interested in promoting health information. Together, they formed the non-profit organization, the Association for Healthcare Social Media, a resource for social media usage by healthcare professionals that advocates for using social media as a public health tool to combat misinformation.
“Through that group, that’s when I started branching out into different types of social media platforms just in an effort to get others to understand eye health and information and also what it’s like to become a doctor and a woman in medicine,” said Wong. She soon found a strong following, particularly in young women, who were inspired by the transparency depicted in her videos not only about her life as a physician, but also as a mother of three.
“I started getting messages from younger women in high school, college and medical school that said, ‘My family said I can’t be a surgeon and a mother. What do you think of this?’ There were so many (similar messages) that I felt that it was really important to address that,” said Wong. “I really do believe that if you see it—you can be it. I have my daughter and my two boys and I thought it was really important to pull back the curtain so that others can see how I make my life work.”
Originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, Wong attended Duke University and earned her MD from Cornell University Medical College. After residency, she completed her fellowship in pediatric ophthalmology and adult strabismus in Boston, which is where she met her “local boy” husband and comprehensive ophthalmologist Jeffrey Wong (JABSOM MD 2003). They moved back to Hawaiʻi in 2008 and practice together at Honolulu Eye Clinic.