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Canada's general surgeons hoping to enhance their image

Canada's general surgeons think it's time to improve their image, and they intend to use social media to do it.

"It is strongly acknowledged that general surgery has an image problem," Dr. Garth Warnock, president of the Canadian Association of General Surgeons (CAGS), wrote in the summer issue of the CAGS newsletter, General Surgery Matters.

"General surgeons can better define what they do not do rather than the areas of competency which they demonstrate well."

Warnock said CAGS, an affiliate of the CMA, must deliver its message to trainees and other health professionals, as well as to the public at large, and the first step was the launch of the social media initiative on Twitter (@CAGS_ACCG) and Facebook last March.

However, Warnock stressed that social media is only one potential route toward the development of an improved profile for his specialty. "It is agreed that CAGS will gain significant stature by taking a lead in advocacy for health matters such as cancer screening and trauma prevention, and by providing media releases to explain how general surgeons improve the health of Canadians," he wrote.

Warnock says CAGS can also "take the long-term approach" of pursuing better communication with "sister organizations such as the CMA and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada."

CAGS members and general surgery residents have been invited to forward comments to the CAGS website.

CAGS is also involved in a Royal College task force on general surgery, and participated in the college's Summit on the Future of General Surgery in July.

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