Volume 99, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Both social media use and the popularity of global health electives (GHEs) have increased in recent years. Social media use during GHE is commonplace and has benefits, yet sharers may not consider the ramifications of these posts, including privacy violations. Social media policies—which have become more common in residency programs—may aid in providing clear expectations to trainees abroad. The authors aimed to determine the prevalence of social media policies among pediatric residency programs that offer GHE. The authors used a cross-sectional survey design in which educators at pediatric residency programs that offer GHE were surveyed using REDCap. For all quantitative data, proportions of responses were calculated and analyzed using Microsoft Excel 2013. The authors analyzed qualitative data using a conventional content analysis approach. The survey was sent to 74 educators; 39 (53%) responses were received. Most (62%; = 24) of the pediatric residency programs that offer GHE reported that their institution had a social media policy. About one-third (34%; = 13) of respondents stated that their programs had social media guidelines that pertained specifically to GHE and fewer indicated that social media guidelines were included in their programs’ GHE predeparture curricula (32%; = 12). This study found that most of the residency programs surveyed had social media guidelines, but few had guidelines applicable or specific to GHE. Informed by this study and a literature review, the authors propose template language for a social media guideline with considerations for social media use in the context of GHE.


Article metrics loading...

The graphs shown below represent data from March 2017
Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, 2018. Mount Sinai Health System Social Media Guideline. Available at: http://icahn.mssm.edu/about-us/services-and-resources/faculty-resources/handbooks-and-policies/faculty-handbook/institutional-policies/social-media-guidelines. Accessed February 8, 2018.
  2. Lee Ventola C, 2014. Social media and health care professionals: benefits, risks, and best practices. P T 39: 491520.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Pew Research Center, 2018. Social Media Fact Sheet. Available at: http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/social-media/. Accessed February 7, 2018.
  4. Kesselheim JC, Schwartz A, Belmonte F, Boland KA, Poynter S, Batra M; Association of Pediatric Program Directors Longitudinal Educational Assessment Research Network (APPD LEARN) Study Group on Social Media and Professionalism, 2016. A national survey of pediatric residents’ professionalism and social networking: implications for curriculum development. Acad Pediatr 16: 110114.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Lagu T, Greysen SR, 2011. Physician, monitor thyself: professionalism and accountability in the use of social media. J Clin Ethics 22: 187190.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Institute of Medicine (US Committee on the US Commitment to Global Health), 2009. The U.S. Commitment to Global Health: Recommendations for the Public and Private Sectors. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Association of American Medical Colleges, 2015. Medical School Graduation Questionnaire, 2015. Available at: https://www.aamc.org/download/440552/data/2015gqallschoolssummaryreport.pdf. Accessed March 1, 2018.
  8. Kerry VB, Walensky RP, Tsai AC, Bergmark RW, Rouse C, Bangsberg DR, 2013. US medical specialty global health training and the global burden of disease. J Glob Health 3: 020406.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Butteris SM 2015. Global health education in US pediatric residency programs. Pediatrics 136: 458465.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Coombs PG, Feldman BH, Lauer AK, Paul Chan RV, Sun G, 2015. Global health training in ophthalmology residency programs. J Surg Educ 72: e52e59.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Lyons JL, Coleman ME, Engstrom JW, Mateen FJ, 2014. International electives in neurology training: a survey of US and Canadian program directors. Neurology 82: 119125.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Ho T, Bentz M, Brzezienski M, Gosman A, Ingraham J, Wong MS, Verheyden C, 2015. The present status of global mission trips in plastic surgery residency programs. J Craniofac Surg 26: 10881090.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Butteris SM, Gladding SP, Eppich W, Hagen SA, Pitt MB; SUGAR Investigators, 2014. Simulation use for global away rotations (SUGAR): preparing residents for emotional challenges abroad—a multicenter study. Acad Pediatr 14: 533541.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Dell EM, Varpio L, Petrosoniak A, Gajaria A, McMcarthy AE, 2014. The ethics and safety of medical student global health electives. Int J Med Educ 5: 6372.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Gharib M, 2017. Volunteering Abroad? Read this Before You Post that Selfie. Available at: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/11/26/565694874/volunteering-abroad-read-this-before-you-post-that-selfie. Accessed January 12, 2018.
  16. Wells KM, 2011. Social media in medical school education. Surgery 150: 24.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Kind T, Genrich G, Sodhi A, Chretien KC, 2010. Social media policies at US medical schools. Med Educ Online 15: 5324.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Black EW, Thompson LA, Duff WP, Dawson K, Saliba H, Black NMP, 2011. Revisiting social network utilization by physicians-in-training. J Grad Med Educ 2: 289293.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Chretien KC, Greysen SR, Chretien JP, Kind T, 2009. Online posting of unprofessional content by medical students. JAMA 302: 13091315.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Chretien KC, Goldman EF, Beckman L, Kind T, 2010. It’s your own risk: medical students’ perspectives on online professionalism. Acad Med 85 (10 Suppl): S68S71.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Moubarak G, Guiot A, Benhamou Y, Benhamou A, Hariri S, 2011. Facebook activity of residents and fellows and its impact on the doctor-patient relationship. J Med Ethics 37: 101104.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Hsieh HF, Shannon SE, 2005. Three approaches to qualitative content analysis. Qual Health Res 15: 12771288.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Pedersen P, 1994. The Five Stages of Culture Shock: Critical Incidents Around the World. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Butteris S, Conway J, 2009. Toward Best Practices in the Global Health Institute: Culture Shock and Communication—Avoiding Misadventures in Cross Cultural Relations. Available at: https://ghi.wisc.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/168/2012/03/owards-Best-Practices-in-the-Global-Health-Institute.pdf. Accessed August 16, 2018.
  25. Lukolyo H, Keating EM, Butteris SM, 2018. Short-term experiences in global health in the digital world: blogs, social media and more. Arya AN, Evert J, eds. Global Health Experiential Education: From Theory to Practice. New York, NY: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. St Clair NE 2017. Global health: preparation for working in resource-limited settings. Pediatrics 140: e20163783.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Baylor College of Medicine, 2017. Baylor College of Medicine Social Media Policies. Available at: https://media.bcm.edu/documents/2015/94/bcm-code-of-conduct-final-june-2015.pdf. Accessed August 16, 2018.
  28. Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, 2016. Mount Sinai Health System Social Media Guideline. Available at: http://icahn.mssm/edu/about-us/services-and-resources/faculty-resources/handbooks-and-policies/faculty-handbook/institutional-policies/social-media-guidelines. Accessed November 3, 2017.
  29. Regions Hospital, 2010. Regions Hospital Social Media Use and Behavior. Available at: www.regionshospital.com/ucm/groups/public/@hp/@public/documents/documents/dev_057502.pdf. Accessed November 3, 2017.
  30. Unite for Sight, 2016. Ethics and Photography in Developing Countries. Available at: www.uniteforsite.org/global-health-university/photography-ethics. Accessed March 13, 2018.
  31. UW Health, 2016. University of Wisconsin Global Health Elective Professionalism Agreement. Available at: www2.aap.org/sections/ish/Documents/toolkit/International%20Electives/Professionalism%20Agreement/2-%20U%20Wisc%20Professionalism%20Agreement%20and%20Cultural%20Competence.pdf. Accessed November 3, 2017.
  32. University of Michigan, 2011. UMHS Policy 01-01-040 Use of Social Media for Business Purposes. Available at: www.med.umich.edu/prmc/services/socialmedia/policy.htm. Accessed November 3, 2017.
  33. St Clair N AAP and CUGH, 2013. Global Child Health Educational Modules Project “Preparation for Global Health Electives” Preparation Packet. Content was Adapted from Codes of Conduct from the Following Institutions: Medical College of Wisconsin, UW-Madison, University of Minnesota, & UW-Milwaukee. Available at: https://www.cugh.org/training-module-topic-area/global-child-health-gchemp. Accessed September 10, 2018.
  34. Bhattacharya S, 2014. Clinical photography and our responsibilities. Indian J Plast Surg 47: 277280.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. United Nations Children’s Fund, 2010. Principles and Guidelines for Ethical Reporting: Children and Young People under 18 Years Old. Available at: https://www.unicef.org/eapro/Reporting_on_children_and_young_pp.pdf. Accessed August 16, 2018.

Data & Media loading...

Supplemental Appendix

  • Received : 12 Jun 2018
  • Accepted : 27 Aug 2018
  • Published online : 17 Sep 2018

Most Cited This Month

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error