One local doctor is combining his passion for medicine with his social media skills to reach a broader audience. Dr. Robert Singleton II is a board-certified anesthesiology physician who has been serving patients at UnityPoint Health – Central Illinois since 2016.
“I was first exposed to anesthesia during my shadowing experience in medical school at Howard University College of Medicine,” Dr. Singleton recalls. “An anesthesiologist there, who would eventually become my mentor, gave me insights into how we serve as perioperative physicians who confirm patients are optimized for surgery, serve as patient advocates, and ensure safety through vigilance and coordination with the surgical team.”
Dr. Singleton says he has an appreciation for the diverse mix of cases he gets to see as an anesthesiologist. “I perform ultrasound-guided peripheral nerve blocks for orthopedic procedures and design anesthesia plans for pediatric ENT cases, robotic surgeries and many others,” he explains.
Building an Audience on Social
In addition to the wide range of patients with whom he interacts, Dr. Singleton found a broader audience in October 2020 when he started using his Instagram account to share both his personal life and health information. What started as a creative outlet for the local doctor has turned into a community with more than 6,000 followers. “I believe I have a responsibility to my community to make sure reliable health information is being dispersed.”
With the spread of misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination efforts, Dr. Singleton saw the need to show people the data and guidelines from scientists, researchers and public health officials. If you look through his Instagram feed, you’ll see a combination of medical data, outings with his wife and children, and updates as he attempts to maintain his own health. “My aim on Instagram is to be true to myself,” he notes. “I don’t take myself too seriously and I always share things that I find inspiring and uplifting.”
One particular focus for Dr. Singleton is encouraging men to take care of their health. He says he feels privileged to have been raised by parents who always took their health seriously, through healthy habits and preventative care. “On average, men see the doctor only half as much as women do,” he adds, “and have a life expectancy of about five years less than women.”
The Challenges of Men’s Health
The challenges facing men’s health include seeing a doctor regularly, taking medications as prescribed, keeping up with vaccinations, healthy eating, physical activity, sunscreen use and smoking cessation. “The best place to start is to find a primary care physician to establish care,” Dr. Singleton explains. “Your provider can evaluate what health screenings are appropriate based on your risk factors including age, medical history and family history.”
Many of us know what it’s like to have a loved one who is too stubborn to visit a doctor when they need to. According to Dr. Singleton, it’s important to continue the conversation in spite of any resistance one may get. “Our children and our wives need us to be healthy and present for milestones, vacations and celebrations. Preventative care can help us avoid a myriad of health complications.”
Dr. Singleton hopes to continue spreading facts about healthcare to broader audiences. You can follow him on Instagram @robertsecond53. If you or someone you know is in need of a primary care provider, visit unitypoint.org/peoria to find one today. PM