Development of an informational podcast and website about integrated plastic surgery training programs
Jenna R. Stoehr, BA1; Arun K. Gosain, MD1
1Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA.
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has limited the ability of medical students to participate in plastic surgery sub-internships and to attend in-person residency interviews for the 2020-2021 interview cycle. Programs have increased their social media and online presence in order to provide information to applicants, but it can still be challenging and overwhelming for applicants to navigate the digital landscape and find the information they need to evaluate programs. Podcasting is a popular, convenient method of sharing information that has not been previously used to profile specific residency programs in plastic surgery or in any other specialty
Methods: A comprehensive online directory of plastic surgery residency programs was developed by aggregating information from online resources. Starting in May 2020, residents were approached via email to participate in individual podcast episodes. The podcast was made available via multiple podcast-streaming services and publicized via social media in June 2020
Results: As of September 2020, a total of 21 plastic surgery residents representing 17 programs have participated in the podcast. Topics of discussion included program logistics, faculty leadership, and aspects of resident lifestyle of interest to medical students. The podcast has had a total of 1,185 downloads (mean 70 downloads per episode). The majority of listeners (90%) are in the United States
Conclusion: In its initial months of activity, the podcast has been demonstrated to be an effective tool for engagement between plastic surgery programs and prospective applicants. In an unprecedented application cycle, new methods of digital engagement, such as podcasting, have the potential to help medical students make informed decisions as they proceed through the match process. Future directions include completion of episodes for all integrated plastic surgery programs and expansion of the website to provide residency information about other surgical subspecialties. Organizations like ACAPS may consider adding podcasts to their offerings to medical students as means of disseminating residency information continue to evolve.
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