New Research: Medical Student Parental Leave Policies at U.S. Medical Schools

New Research: Medical Student Parental Leave Policies at U.S. Medical Schools

New research from the Pregnant Scholar and a cross-institutional team revealed that amongst the top-rated medical schools only 14% of the schools reviewed had substantive, stand-alone parental leave policies, while the majority of schools had leave of absence policies without mention of parental leave. The article, Medical Student Parental Leave Policies at U.S. Medical Schools, was published in the Journal of Women’s Health, and provides critical insight for medical school leaders seeking to improve diversity and equity at their institution.

Cover of Journal of Women's Health, bright red with white lettering

The authors, who bring decades of experience in the legal and medical fields designing bias interrupters and advancing diversity in STEM education, offer unique insight into designing policies which support pregnant and parenting medical students in compliance with the law. From the abstract:

“Best practices utilized by institutions with the most robust parental policies include adopting a formal and public parental policy, providing a parental enrolled academic adjustment option, guaranteeing approval to take and return from leave/academic adjustment, and continuing health care and financial aid benefits. Given the role of childbearing as a factor associated with gender disparities in academic medicine, and potential impact on racial disparities for students of color, medical school leadership should consider implementation of best practice parental policies to promote equity and wellness of their students. In fact, the deficit of robust parental leave policies in most highly ranked schools may contribute to existing gender and racial disparities in violation with antidiscrimination law. Strengthening policies could increase equity in medical education with positive impacts on the patient population.”

Danielle Roselin, Jessica Lee, Reshma Jagsi, Mary Blair-Loy, Kim Ira, Priya Dahiya, Joan Williams, and Christina Mangurian. Medical Student Parental Leave Policies at U.S. Medical Schools, Journal of Women’s Health (ahead of print) http://doi.org/10.1089/jwh.2022.0048

For questions about this research, or for free institutional support implementing family-responsive policies, contact us.