Career move: SWAT team physician Mark Merlin, D.O., shares insights
Career move: SWAT team physician Mark Merlin, D.O., shares insights

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Job Description: Physician YouTuber

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Levi Harrison, M.D.
“…I was astounded by how immediately people gravitated to my channel,” says physician and YouTuber Levi Harrison, M.D. – Photo by Legacy Union Photo Co.

Employer: The Harrison Orthopedic Institute, Glendale, California

Education

Undergraduate: Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Med school: University of California-Davis

Residency: Orthopedic Surgery

Fellowship: Indiana Hand Center, Indianapolis

Besides being an orthopedic surgeon, Levi Harrison, M.D., is also a fitness expert, TV and radio personality, book author and a YouTuber who focusses on gamers’ injuries. (He’s also an avid gamer himself.) His YouTube videos not only include exercises for gamers but also drummers, musicians, barbers, estheticians and nail artists, to name a few.

What do you like about putting content on YouTube?

I like the fact that I provide a service to people globally. Someone here in Los Angeles can watch a video that can help them as well as someone in Istanbul, Egypt, Vietnam, Greece or New Zealand. What I love is what I call global interconnectivity. 

Even though we all do not speak the same language, one can go online and basically figure out that I am doing something to help that individual have greater health and fitness for mind, body and soul. I provide a service to people who may not be able to afford this in their own country. 

Another thing I love is the positive feedback I get from people. I might get a comment from someone in South Africa or Canada about how the videos have helped them.

How often do you create videos?

My goal is to put one or two videos up every two to four weeks. I don’t like to announce them. I just like to put them up organically. I work with a videographer, who is phenomenal. What I do is put together a bank of 12 videos. It takes around two hours. I’ll release those episodically every month or so. It’s a lot of planning, but I like it. It keeps me on my toes to make sure the data is fresh, current and meaningful. 

Can it help the people I want to help? Can it cross all geographic, gender, and religious boundaries? My business is how I can be of service and how I can get the viewer healthy, fit and feel better about who they are. My job is to be an uplifter and motivator.

Was there anything about creating YouTube content that surprised you?

First, I was astounded by how immediately people gravitated to my channel. People needed these exercises, as their hands, wrists, shoulders and eyes hurt. There’s a plethora of YouTubers that do fitness and health. There’s one doctor that works with gamers, and that’s me.

Could a physician on YouTube get paid?

I have heard a YouTuber can get sponsors who will basically pay them to do things, but want to control the content. That doesn’t work for me. One thing I heard in an interview years ago is the best thing you can do for yourself in the media is to own yourself and your content. That was more than 20 years ago, and I never forgot it. I don’t give up ownership of my videos to anyone.

Any advice for physicians who might want to create YouTube content?

First, be yourself. Second, be authentic. Third, be an expert at whatever you want to present. If you’re not an expert in it, don’t even think about it if you haven’t lived the experience.

I’m a gamer every day. I know what it’s like to have injuries that could be attributed to gaming. To me, it’s like giving a sermon about something. Unless you’ve lived the life, how can you tell people how they can make their life better? You have to live what you preach. So, I lived this life as a gamer, as a physician, as an orthopedist, as a hand surgeon, as a motivational speaker and as an author.

My job is how I can make things better for people. How I can get people to love themselves more and do it in a healthy way they can duplicate and then live the life of moderation, balance and success.

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Marcia Travelstead

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