Tag Archives: women

I Have a Confession

Cheryl Seymour, MD

Seymour, MD

WomenInFMThis is the fourth in a work/life balance series written by members of the STFM Group on Women in Family Medicine.

The ACGME Draft Program Requirements for GME in Family Medicine include a requirement that all core faculty work full time. Please consider the implications of this requirement for your program now and in the future as you read this post.

So I have a confession… I really do want it all.

Doesn’t everyone?

I want to practice full spectrum family medicine: deliver babies, round on the floors and in the ICU, care for families in the clinic, nursing home, and at home and I want to teach residents and students, have a vibrant academic career, serve as an advocate for the health of my community and I want to be an engaged and loving parent and spouse.

Is this possible?

My mentors and heroes are physicians who have delivered three generations of babies, attend funerals as a matter of course, and have literally spent thousands of hours listening to residents’ H&Ps in the middle of the night. They have served the same community for decades and are still going strong, taking call without complaint, into their sixth and seventh decades.

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Breast-feeding and Family Medicine Faculty


This is the third in a work/life balance series written by members of the STFM Group on Women in Family Medicine.

Colleen Fogarty,MD, MSc

Colleen Fogarty,

Returning to work after the birth of a baby challenges all mothers, regardless of the age of the child. However, for breast-feeding mothers, there are special considerations.

Compared with 25 years ago, we’ve made substantial progress in returning to breast-feeding as the best method of infant nutrition. The World Health Organization Guidelines of exclusive breast-feeding for 6 months, followed by weaning foods and continued breast-feeding until 2 years, are widely promulgated by us in family medicine.

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Managing the Work-Life Balance as a Woman in Academic Medicine

Women in Family MedicineThis is second in a work/life balance series written by members of the STFM Group on Women in Family Medicine.  Jessica T. Servey, MD, Col(sel), USAF, MC is the author.

Despite the fact that in 2010 29.3% of active physicians in the United States were women, significant concerns regarding work-life balance among women still exist.1   The challenges faced by women physicians as a group are relatively unchanged for the last 4 decades despite the increased number. In fact, the concerns about work-life balance have been studied and written about since 1970. The main challenges include timing of having children and the guilt associated with maternity leave, lifestyle, and career choices and seeking this nirvana called “balance.”I continually am amazed how I have the same conversations with residents and students today as I did 12 years ago. More astounding to me is the persistent challenges for women in academic medicine.

There have been numerous studies, both quantitative and qualitative, completed in the past 20 years about how to reach this balance. It is agreed that organizational culture can play a role in not achieving any balance in life. Additionally, lack of effective mentoring and potentially lack of support from division leaders can be cited as reasons why women struggle in advancing careers in academic medicine. Many women make conscious decisions to reach this balance, which may include working fewer hours, declining a promotion, or limiting the number of children she has.3 It is disturbing to me that an article looking at reasons women left academic medicine completed just 2 years ago have respondent comments about “the old boys’ network.” The Association of American Medical Colleges has statistics with women associate professors still lagging behind men despite nearly 50% of medical school matriculates being female. I am not certain there is a clear answer for achieving this illusion called work-life balance. I do think there are a few tips for women to reflect on.

First, define your own priorities. This gives you control over your life. You can answer if you want that academic promotion, or if you want to do research over clinical care.  You can decide whether you choose to get married or have children. Only when I made a list of my priorities in writing so I could look at them anytime, did I feel I had some semblance of control. I can choose what I will not miss. For me, I never miss the first day of school and taking that picture. This year will be number 16 for me.

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