Growing Your Family
For many residents and fellows, a decision to begin or grow a family overlaps with their years of residency and fellowship training. Acknowledging that the training years are often unpredictable and challenging in many ways, UW GME is working to create an environment in which the full range of parenthood decisions are at play – and families of all types are welcome and can thrive. We see you and wish to support you in integrating these professional and personal goals!
Table of Contents
Thinking About Starting or Expanding your Family?
- Learn about the various types of leave available and any potential impact on your training.
- Wait lists for child care can take multiple years. Start researching options and joining wait lists before your child joins the family! Learn more about available Child Care at UW.
- The UW Medicine Reproductive Clinic at UWMC – Roosevelt offers a discount for UW students and employees on fertility treatments. For more details call the Roosevelt clinic at 206-598-4225.
- The UW Center for Adoption Medicine provides Pre-Adoption Consultations, Travel and Transition resources and more.
- Raising a child can be expensive. Explore all of your financial options including budgeting, loan deferment, and emergency loans if needed.
Tips from Colleagues
- Find people within your department/division/group who are parents and prioritize their role as parents. Ask for their advice, tips and even mentorship.
Request Pregnancy Accommodations
Learn more about the accommodations available during and after your pregnancy on the UW HR website.
- Temporary disability leave for pregnancy and childbirth
- Reasonable Accommodation of Pregnant Employees (UW Administrative Policy Statement)
- Disability Services Office
Disability Services Office
Overview and Availability of Leave
When planning for Parental Leave, there are three important things to consider: what leave categories are available, how much paid time off is available, and how much time off can you take before a training extension is required. Below are links to help get you started. Please contact GME for additional guidance.
- What leave types are available? – The following options provide job protection during Parental Leave. Residents must be eligible for at least one of these options prior to taking an extended leave.
- UW HR – Parental Leave
- WA State Paid Family and Medical Leave
- Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
2. What paid time off is available? – Residents can choose to use paid leave categories, outlined in the CBA, to remain in paid status during a Parental Leave. Additionally, the WA PFML program offers partial payment for those that meet the eligibility requirements.
- Resident & Fellow Physician Union – Northwest (RFPU – NW) Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)
- WA State Paid Family and Medical Leave
Please note: Since residents and fellows do not accrue paid time off, they do not qualify for the Parental Shared Leave program.
3. How much time off is permitted before a training extension is required?
An important consideration, unique to residents and fellows, is how much time off is permitted before a training extension is required. This is not a uniform answer since it varies based on ACGME and specialty board requirements. It is important for residents to talk with their program to understand how much time they can take off before an extension of training is required.
- Starting in July 2021, all ABMS Member Boards with training programs of two or more years in duration will allow for a minimum of six weeks away once during training for purposes of parental, caregiver, and medical leave, without exhausting time allowed for vacation or sick leave and without requiring an extension in training.
- American Board of Medical Specialties Policy on Parental, Caregiver, and Medical Leave During Training
Director, Housestaff Affairs
Discuss your needs and goals with your program
Initiate a meeting with your Program Director and Program Administrator to discuss resources, amenities and scheduling in regards to any leave that you would like to take. During this meeting you can request that your Program Administrator inform attendings and schedulers of any upcoming leave you will take or any lactation breaks you will need when returning to work.
Questions to consider before you speak with your program:
- How would I like information about my upcoming leave and/or pregnancy/impending parenthood shared with my colleagues?
- Are there any health concerns that will impact my ability or willingness to take night shift or work with certain substances, etc.? See Request Pregnancy Accommodations.
Questions to discuss with your program:
- How will leave impact the length of my training?
- How will leave impact my ability to take boards?
- Are changes to the program or specialty board training requirements available?
- Is “payback” of any sort required for missed call during leave?
- If relevant: How can my partner and I coordinate leaves and schedules with both of our UW training programs?
- For a pre-scheduled leave, what flexibility is available if the birth or adoption of my child is delayed?
- Are there flexible working arrangements for my return to work?
- If relevant: What lactation support is available for me after returning to work?
- Does the program provide any modifications to schedule?
If you would prefer not to address these topics directly with your Program, please contact GME to assist.
- American Board on Medical Specialties (ABMS) Policy on Parental, Caregiver and Medical Leave During Training – look into your specialty to see how this July 2021 policy is being implemented
Your PD & PA
Director, Housestaff Affairs
Initiate Leave with HR
To initiate a leave request, please submit the appropriate forms directly to the Office of Academic Personnel (OAP). These forms should not be sent to your program or GME.
- You can find the forms on OAP’s Leaves page.
- Please submit directly to email@example.com.
- OAP will review and respond as soon as possible.
We encourage residents to initiate this process as early as they can. Since it is hard to know the exact date your leave will begin, your program can always adjust the dates in MedHub once finalized.
Return to Work Planning
Identify Lactation Resources
Do you plan to express breastmilk after returning to work? Start thinking about the when, where and how before you return to work. Review your upcoming schedule and identify services and locations where you will be expressing, then research nearby lactation rooms and determine which room will work best for you.
Do you have:
- An available location?
- Access to the room?
- Have you reserved a time slot?
- Coverage for your lactation sessions?
- Do you have the supplies you need?
- Do you know where you will store your milk?
Complete the following steps before you need to express milk:
- Ensure you have access to the lactation room (appropriate door codes, proxy card permissions, etc)
- Reserve a time slot on Outlook or other reservation system (not available for all rooms)
- Gather necessary supplies (pump, cooler, ice packs, bottles, etc)
- Consider where you will store your milk. Do you prefer a refrigerator or personal cooler? Many lactation rooms have a refrigerator inside or nearby the room but if not contact the GME office for a loaner cooler.
Before your at work lactation session ensure that you communicate with your attendings and colleagues:
- Ideally work with your colleagues to schedule mutually amenable session times.
- Inform your colleagues before stepping away for a lactation session.
- Ensure patient care and clinical continuity is in place.
Borrow a pump or portable cooler from GME
The GME Office has a pump and a number of portable lactation coolers with ice packs available for trainees to borrow. Contact Natalie Brady at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tips from Colleagues
Whether formula or breastmilk, remember, “a fed baby is a happy baby, don’t stress” about the source. – Dr. Katie Liu, Plastic Surgery
- If possible, immediately start freezing any extra milk you have to build up a surplus.
- Consider hands-free pumping options.
- Store your pump parts in a refrigerator or cooler in between pumping sessions – this will keep them sanitary and save you washing time.
- Pumping During Residency advice from Dr. Meghan Rochester, Internal Medicine.
Lactation Session Coverage:
- Ask co-residents or fellows to provide coverage for you to express milk.
- Can you attend required conferences or didactics remotely, especially if it allows you to pump prior to a busy day?
- Would a faculty member assist with tasks (checking in a patient, etc) to allow for expression time prior to the start of a surgery or lengthy task?
Want to speak to a colleague about breastfeeding or pumping? Email email@example.com to be connected with a volunteer.
Can’t find a convenient lactation room?
- Speak to your PA
- Contact GME (206-616-8286)
Reach Out If You Need Additional Help
The GME Office wants to hear from you. Please reach out with questions or concerns. Our office can discuss issues and potential solutions with you and will only involve your program by request.
You can reach out directly to our Associate Dean, Dr. Jennifer Best at firstname.lastname@example.org who will work with you or connect you to the appropriate team member. You can also Report A Concern anonymously or explore additional confidential reporting options.
Researching childcare options and resources should be started early as the waiting list can be very long. Learn more about onsite childcare at UW and UW affiliated sites and additional UW and community childcare resources.
Financial assistance is available from the RFPU Childcare Program.
Tips from Colleagues
- WA Law Chapter 110-300 WAC states that children cannot stay in daycare for more than ten hours a day. If you need childcare beyond this amount you can look into receiving an exemption.
- UW GME Parenthood Peer Mentorship Program (PPMP) – Get matched with a fellow parent trainee through the PPMP. This program matches young parents with mentors who have older children to discuss a range of topics including work/life balance, parenthood or pregnancy accommodations and more.
- UW GME Wellness Counselors – Our counselors offer free, unlimited and confidential counseling for individuals and couples.
- UW Carelink – Connect with experts who help you or your family members navigate life’s challenges. You get free, confidential access to guidance consultants who provide a range of services from finding childcare to accessing counseling. Additional resources include financial coaching, legal services and elder care resources.
- Program for Early Parent Support (PEPS) – Build a support network with fellow parents who understand what you are going through. The PEPS connects you with other new parents who live nearby and have a baby close in age to yours. Learn, share resources, and build confidence in your own parenting abilities — all you need to do is register and show up with your baby.
- Physician Moms Group (PMG) – this group of over 71,000 members of all specialties was created to bring together women physicians, who are also parents, so that they can collaborate and support each other while sharing their medical expertise in an open forum. The PMG mission is to provide resources, a platform to network, and an opportunity to share information with like-minded individuals.
- Families of Color Seattle (FOCS) – this non-profit hosts parent groups, community resources and events, and racial equity consulting. They maintain a robust list of resources on current topics, common concerns and more.
- Rainbow Families – this non-profit educates, connects, and supports LGBTQ+ families and parents-to-be. Based in Washington DC they are now offering a wealth of classes, peer support groups and an annual conference online.
- UW Center for Child & Family Well-Being– the center conducts research, hosts workshops, trainings and releases publications on Promoting Well-Being & Resilience, Supporting Parents, Addressing Adversity & Inequity, and Cultivating Mindfulness & Compassion.
Upcoming Events for GME Parents
The GME Wellness Service and office host events geared towards parents throughout the year. Upcoming events will be displayed below.