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Invited Commentary
September 2014

Are There Repercussions Associated With Pregnancy-Related Attrition?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Cottage Health System, Santa Barbara, California
JAMA Surg. 2014;149(9):898. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2014.1200

Surgical training programs have long had the highest attrition rates of any medical specialty; approximately 20% of categorical general surgery residents do not complete their training.1 Understanding the changing demographics and priorities of our current residents is crucial if we are to address this issue. Women have been underrepresented in our specialty for a long time but fortunately, this is changing; there are currently more women in surgical training than ever before. Additionally, today’s male residents are far more likely to have working spouses and the desire to be more involved parents compared with male residents in preceding generations. Brown and colleagues2 have published the first study, to my knowledge, to examine the link between pregnancy and attrition in a general surgery training program. The authors considered the effects of child rearing on both male and female residents and conclude, despite prevalent stereotypes, that child rearing does not appear to cause women or men to leave their training programs at a higher rate than their nonchild-rearing colleagues.

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