American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons
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#MedicalStudentSpotlight: An Analysis of Medical Student Representation in Plastic Surgery Residency Program Social Media Accounts
Claudia Siniakowicz, BS; Melody Ong, BS; Emily Keenan, BA; Rose S. Maisner, BS; Kailash Kapadia, MD; Edward S. Lee, MD
Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ

Background: Plastic surgery residency programs are increasingly using social media to educate, attract, and engage medical students. The content informs and influences studentsí perceptions of programs and their ranking process. This study aims to analyze plastic surgery residency Instagram accounts for medical student-related content
Methods: Integrated plastic surgery residency programs were identified from the American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons (ACAPS) website. Their Instagram accounts were identified through Instagram searches. Program variables including Doximity reputation ranking, geographic region, and accreditation date were recorded. Posts uploaded through 8/21/2021 were analyzed for medical student-related content. Posts were considered student-related if they directly mentioned students in captions or showed them in photos, or if students were their target audience. Video-only posts were excluded. Program engagement scores were calculated by dividing mean likes on 10 most recent posts by number of account followers. Studentís t and ANOVA tests compared student-related content between programs (?=0.05)
Results: Of 84 programs, 77 (91.7%) had active accounts, totaling 9361 total posts. Of these, 870 were student-related (9.3%), featuring 337 advertisement (38.7%), 244 match (28.0%), 85 academic activity (9.8%), 81 research (9.3%), 78 interview (9.0%), 25 team-bonding (2.9%), 21 resident-led events for students (2.4%), 15 operative case (1.7%), and 3 clinic (0.3%) posts. 3 (3.9%) accounts had no student-related content. 2145 student-related hashtags were used, with 43.2% used on student-related and 56.8% on non-student-related posts. The most commonly used hashtags were #medschool or #medicalschool (554), #medstudent or #medicalstudent (553), and #match2021 (192). Proportion of student-related posts varied significantly by program ranking quartile (p<0.001), with the second quartile having the highest average (12.7%) and the first quartile the lowest (9.1%). Program geographic region, age, and engagement score did not significantly impact the proportion of student-related content
Conclusion: Despite the potential use of social media sites like Instagram to connect with applicants, less than 10% of the content posted by integrated plastic surgery residency programs targets or directly features medical students, with top-tier programs featuring less. Given applicant interest in and influence by programsí social media presences, further research is needed to determine more effective means of engaging medical student audiences.


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