Attitudes toward parental leave and breastfeeding during ophthalmology residency

Grace Reilly, Caroline Tipton, Paulina Liberman, Meghan Berkenstock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: As mandated by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), residency programs are required to have parental leave policies. A lack of standardized requirements leads to a lack of uniformity among programs. We discuss resident and program director attitudes toward parental leave and examine the range of policies on parental leave and breastfeeding within ophthalmology residency programs. Methods: Two electronic surveys assessing perceptions toward parental leave during residency and breastfeeding on return to clinical duties were created individually for completion by ophthalmology residents or residency program directors, respectively, with responses collected over 4 weeks. Results: Of residents who took parental leave, 23 (87%) denied taking time off without pay. The most commonly reported effects on training by residents were missed surgical training and impact on research. Nearly 60% of residents (N = 26) reported receiving negative feedback or actions prior to or after the leave. The majority of residents felt program directors and coresidents were supportive (53.8%, 48.1%, respectively), but parental leave negatively affected their coresidents (46.2%). Twenty-five program directors reported that there are written parental leave policies in place at their institution. Sex disparities were noted, with program directors reporting more negative impacts on surgical training in female residents (p = 0.035). There was no statistically significant difference between program director attitudes on clinical training, well-being, or burnout by resident sex. All program directors were supportive of breastfeeding; half reported an institutional breastfeeding policy. Conclusion: A national discussion on standardizing parental leave and breastfeeding policies over all ophthalmology residency programs is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-187
Number of pages13
JournalCanadian Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


Dive into the research topics of 'Attitudes toward parental leave and breastfeeding during ophthalmology residency'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this