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

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof-Lia E. Gracey

Prof. Gracey

Lia E. Gracey, MD, PhD
Department of Dermatology
Baylor Scott & White Health
Austin, Texas 

MedicalResearch.com: 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.  Continue reading