Use of Social Media to Teach Global Reconstructive Surgery: Initiation of a Secret Facebook Group

Journal:

Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery – Global Open

Author(s):

Peter Deptula
James Chang

Date Published: March 2020
Education
Technology
OPEN PUBLICATION

Background:

The ReSurge Global Training Program (RGTP) is a model for building reconstructive surgery capacity in low- and middle-income countries.1 The aim of this study is to assess attitudes toward social media, to develop an initial RGTP Facebook Education Group, and to assess the early results of the group’s implementation.

Methods:

A survey of the RGTP community assessed group demographic, interests, concerns, and familiarity with Facebook from July to August of 2018. A “secret” Facebook group was launched on October 30, 2018. Narrated lectures were posted weekly to the group. Educational cases were shared on the group’s discussion page. Facebook “Group Insights” and individual post review were used to obtain group statistics.

Results:

Senior faculty were less likely to have an existing Facebook account (58% vs 93%, P < 0.05). Trainees were more confident using Facebook (97% vs 54%, P < 0.05) and favored viewing the training curriculum through Facebook (93.0%, P < 0.05). At 6 months, the group enrolled 103 members from 14 countries. Twenty-two lectures were posted, obtaining an average of 59.4 views (range, 36–78). Fourteen cases were presented for group discussion with an average of 61.1 views (range, 43–87).

Conclusions:

The RGTP Facebook group has continued to expand in its early months. This group allows our community to view RGTP’s training curriculum, while providing global access to expert opinion and collaboration. The secret Facebook group can be used as an effective and easy-to-use platform for educational outreach in global reconstructive surgery.