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Research Letter
Physician Work Environment and Well-Being
January 21, 2020

Assessment of Paid Childbearing and Family Leave Policies for Administrative Staff at Top US Medical Schools

Author Affiliations
  • 1Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Department of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland
  • 2UCSF Department of Psychiatry, Weill Institute for Neurosciences, University of California, San Francisco
  • 3Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • 4Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • 5Private Consultant, San Francisco, California
  • 6Department of Dermatology, Stanford University, Stanford, California
  • 7Department of Epidemiology, Stanford University, Stanford, California
JAMA Intern Med. 2020;180(4):589-592. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.6653

Integrating work and family commitments can be difficult, especially after the birth, adoption, or placement of a child. Institutional family leave policies have been reviewed at top US medical schools for faculty and resident physicians,1,2 but to our knowledge, policies for administrative staff have not been studied.

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    1 Comment for this article
    EXPAND ALL
    This is a start
    Louise Andrew, MD JD | none
    This  report is actually minimally encouraging. When I carried the first pregnancy on the Osler residency at Hopkins, after passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, I endured a grueling schedule and was hospitalized for first, second, and third trimester complications. There was no such thing as maternity leave, and I made up for those absences with even more 36 hour stints of duty with no food, minimal hydration, and even less rest. It is encouraging that another study has found that at least 47% of schools are now providing such for residents (though why not 100%? ALL physicians in training are considered to have high risk pregnancies).
    What is NOT encouraging is that only 16% of schools surveyed now have paid childbearing leave for administrative  staff, now 40 years after the PDA and 18 years after the FMLA (which took 9 years for passage due to obstruction by GWBush and those with economic interests).
    How is it that medical schools can get away with ignoring or flouting federal laws? Is it presumed by regulators that, in health matters at least, these institutions will "do the right thing" for their trainees and employees?
    Or are those who dedicate their careers to these institutions simply so accustomed to having their rights and needs denied that they don't call attention to the injustice?
    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: None Reported
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