Parental leave policies in graduate medical education: A systematic review

Laura S. Humphries, Sarah Lyon, Rebecca Garza, Daniel R. Butz, Benjamin Lemelman, Julie E. Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Background A thorough understanding of attitudes toward and program policies for parenthood in graduate medical education (GME) is essential for establishing fair and achievable parental leave policies and fostering a culture of support for trainees during GME. Methods A systematic review of the literature was completed. Non-cohort studies, studies completed or published outside of the United States, and studies not published in English were excluded. Studies that addressed the existence of parental leave policies in GME were identified and were the focus of this study. Results Twenty-eight studies addressed the topic of the existence of formal parental leave policies in GME, which was found to vary across time and ranged between 22 and 90%. Support for such policies persisted across time. Conclusions Attention to formal leave policies in GME has traditionally been lacking, but may be increasing. Negative attitudes towards parenthood in GME persist. Active awareness of the challenges faced by parent-trainees combined with formal parental leave policy implementation is important in supporting parenthood in GME.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)634-639
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • GME
  • Leave of absence
  • Maternity leave
  • Parental leave
  • Paternity leave

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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