Prof-Lia E. Gracey

Medical Residents and Program Directors Have Different Perceptions of New Parent Leave and Breastfeeding Policies Interview with:

Prof-Lia E. Gracey

Prof. Gracey

Lia E. Gracey, MD, PhD
Department of Dermatology
Baylor Scott & White Health
Austin, Texas What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: The co-authors and I were interested in this issue as new parent leave (or the lack thereof) is increasingly being examined in many professions.  As a mother who had children during dermatology residency, I felt the pressure to take a short new parent leave to avoid having to make up time at the end of my training.

I came back to work only 3 ½ weeks after having my first baby. Anecdotally, other new parent residents (both men and women) reported similar concerns and we noticed a lack of data about new parent leave policies in dermatology residency training programs.

We distributed surveys to dermatology residency program directors and residents and were struck by a basic lack of awareness by residents for whether their institution even offered new parent leave.  Less than 50% of surveyed residents were aware of a written new parent leave policy for their residency program, yet over 80% of program directors stated they had a policy in place. We also found discrepancies between resident and program director perceptions of sufficiency of new parent leave and the availability of pumping facilities for breastfeeding mothers. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: We hope that our article will stimulate much-needed conversations about consistency and clarity of new parent leave policies amongst dermatology residency programs and how to better support residents who become new parents during their training.  We call for further examination of new parent leave policies that will promote residents’ physical and mental health after welcoming a new child while understanding the importance that they meet their milestones of training. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: I would recommend examining tangible changes that can be enacted to support new parents, such as those suggested in a recent publication by Mangurian, et al. (  It will be imperative to continue to study how new parent leave affects the well-being of residents, resident preparedness from training, and physician burnout.

I have no disclosures to report. 


Gracey LE, Cronin M, Shinkai K, Mathes EF. Program Director and Resident Perspectives on New Parent Leave in Dermatology Residency. JAMA Dermatol. Published online August 29, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2018.2878

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Last Updated on September 3, 2018 by Marie Benz MD FAAD