Family / medical leave, lactation & other adjacent topics - A Collection of Articles
Clinical Imaging occasionally pushes the envelope by publishing on topics that others may choose to pass on. This collection of peer-reviewed articles seeks to highlight normative or positive family-friendly policies from individual leaders, practices, and institutions in our field, with the hope that the collection will provide practical resources for individuals and organizations seeking to learn more about these important and adjoining topics.
- For many women, radiology residency occurs during the childbearing years and they often question when is the best time to have children. Anxiety regarding fertility and pregnancy-related complications contribute to early career burnout in women physicians and many have fertility regrets. Supporting radiologists in training and early in their career as they navigate pregnancy and childbearing is critical to achieving a diverse workforce and leadership. Herein, we explore career-related challenges of childbearing and highlight opportunities for radiologists in residency, fellowship, and early in their career, so that they can make an informed childbearing decision.
- Paid family/medical leave in radiology: now is the time. At the 2020 American College of Radiology (ACR) annual meeting, a paid family/medical leave resolution was deferred due to uncertainty surrounding the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. At the 2021 ACR annual meeting, ACR councilors passed the American Association for Women in Radiology (AAWR) amendment to resolution 48 in strong support of 12 weeks of family/medical leave for diagnostic radiology, interventional radiology, radiation oncology and nuclear medicine residents; the vote was 89.13% in the affirmative.
- The gender pay gap is not a problem of the past. Women continue to receive less pay for equal work and radiology is one of four medical specialties with the largest gender pay gap. Numerous social factors contribute to the gender pay gap; however, radiology can close the gender pay gap through intentional strategies, including acknowledging the gender pay gap, eliminating bias and minority taxes through progressive compensation and parental leave models, devaluing overwork, developing longitudinal mentorship and sponsorship, and demanding transparent institutional policies.
- Navigating parental leave can be challenging in all fields of medicine, but it can be especially challenging for leaders balancing clinical, research, and administrative duties. As women take on more leadership roles, we have the opportunity to better define the current challenges and identify potential strategies for navigating successful parental leave while balancing the demands of leadership. This manuscript provides a commentary on the challenges and strategies for navigating parental leave in leadership positions in radiology, an important topic for shaping how parental leave is both viewed and valued in the future.
- Breastfeeding has medical and economic benefits and providing an environment supportive of breastfeeding should be a priority in radiology to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. Most breastfeeding radiologists do not meet their breastfeeding goals and inadequate time for pumping is the most commonly cited barrier. The UCSF lactation credit model sets the standard for breastfeeding support in medicine by providing protected time without productivity penalties and it should be adapted and implemented across radiology practices to more fully support breastfeeding radiologists and radiation oncologists.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has presented the radiology and radiation oncology communities with previously unprecedented challenges. Many of these challenges have exacerbated long-standing issues, which disproportionately affect women in radiology and radiation oncology specialties. We applaud the American Board of Radiology (ABR) for adapting and effectively restructuring the ABR Core and Certifying examinations for diagnostic radiology , the oral certifying examinations for radiation oncology , and the initial certifying exams with oral component for medical physics  to virtual environments in the 2020–2021 academic year.
- There is no private practice more uniquely positioned to address family leave than Rose Imaging Specialists (RIS). We are one of the nation's largest groups of specialized breast radiologists, operating in multiple cities throughout Texas, Ohio and Arizona. RIS is a rapidly growing female-powered (76%, 29 of 38) private practice, serving an almost entirely female patient population and supported by an almost entirely female staff. With great power, comes great responsibility. Trailblazing a new paradigm for not only paid family leave, but also earnest ongoing support of work life balance, is critical to attracting and retaining talent, avoiding burnout and increasing diversity .
- The Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at the Yale School of Medicine (YSM) is comprised of 110 clinical radiologists, 57 residents and 29 fellows. Located in New Haven, Connecticut, our department serves three hospitals plus seven free standing ambulatory facilities. Although the medical school and Yale-New Haven Hospital are located in an urban setting, most faculty reside in surrounding Connecticut suburbs.
- The benefits of family leave have been well established for employees, their dependents, and the institutions/businesses offering the leave. Paid family leave (PFL) is associated with increased duration of breast feeding —which has been shown to increase both infant and maternal health outcomes [2,3], improvement of father-child relationship quality with long-lasting effects, and increased parental satisfaction [4–6]. On the other end of the age spectrum, PFL is similarly shown to be of great benefit both for employed caregivers of older adults, as well as the increasingly aging population, with decreased utilization of nursing homes, decreased rates of depression in both the caregiver and their dependent, and decreased familial financial strain .
- At the 2019 RSNA President's Lunch for the American Association for Women in Radiology (AAWR), Dr. Vijay Rao, Professor and Chair of Radiology at Thomas Jefferson University and Senior Vice President of Enterprise Radiology at Jefferson Health, shared the oft-repeated words of her father in response to her rise through the ranks: “That's great – what's next?”  In the sphere of paid family/medical leave in radiology, there have been many great steps forward in 2018 and 2019, and there is a clear next step as well, in my opinion: passage of an ACR resolution supporting paid family/medical leave.