American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons
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Virtual Application Cycle Impact on Integrated Plastic Surgery Residency Instagram Presence
Meredith G. Moore, MD1; Alexandra Kinzer, BS2; Kinsey Barhorst, BS2; Kyle Singerman, BS2; Ryan M. Gobble, MD2
1University of South Florida Morsani, Tampa, FL, USA, 2University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA

Background: The social distancing requirements of the COVID-19 pandemic required residency programs to shift applicant recruitment to virtual platforms. We seek to characterize the implications of this transition on integrated plastic surgery residency program presence and activity on Instagram throughout the applicant recruitment period
Methods: The list of Integrated Plastic Surgery programs and number of available residency positions were catalogued from the American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons (ACAPS) website. Instagram (IG) handles for each program were recorded using program website listings and keyword searches. Details for IG accounts were obtained on 11/1/2020, including post counts, dates, types, and usage of IGTV (longer form videos) and IG Story Highlights (curated collections of IG “Stories” [visual status updates]). The virtual recruitment study period was defined as May 15th, 2020 to October 21st, 2020, to align with the date of the ACAPS announcement of suspended away rotations/virtual interviews through the revised application deadline
Results: Of 82 Integrated Plastic Surgery residency programs, 76 programs (92.7%) have a dedicated program-specific IG page. 2,073 total posts were generated from 5/15-10/21, with an average of 27 posts per program account (range 1-122, median 22). In this time, programs made 41.8% ± 3.53% of all posts since account creation. For 21 programs, ?50% of posts came during this period, and for 13 programs this was 100% of posts. There was a positive correlation between number of residency positions available and number of posts created, with linear regression coefficient 6.91, p<0.005. Regarding post types, 72 accounts (94.7%) utilized multi-image content, 39 (51.3%) accounts posted video content, 30 (39.5%) accounts used IGTV video reels, and 50 (65.8%) accounts had Story Highlights on their profile page. Accounts had a mean of 1,451 followers (range 378 to 4,703)
Conclusion: Throughout this virtual application cycle, social media became an important recruitment tool. Nearly one out of five programs made their first post following the virtual cycle announcement, and for a quarter of programs over half of their posts were made between this date and the residency application deadline. Programs recruiting for more positions posted more often.

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