E1678. National Survey to Assess Breastfeeding Accommodations and Policies Across Radiology Residency Programs in the United States
The objective of this study is to evaluate the available support systems, policies and resources in place at radiology residency programs nationally for breastfeeding mothers/residents returning from maternity leave.
Materials and Methods:
In early 2020, an anonymous electronic survey consisting of 11 questions and an additional section for free-text comments was distributed by program coordinators at radiology residencies in the United States via the Association of Program Coordinators in Radiology (APCR).
Of the 36 programs who responded, 77.8% had access to some form of private space for breastfeeding mothers and 47.2% had an official/dedicated lactation room accessible to residents. 13.9% of programs had a PACS workstation within this private space. Additionally, 69.4% of programs had a dedicated refrigerator to store breast milk and 41.7% offered access to various childcare services. 80.6 % of program coordinators expressed there was dedicated pumping time reserved and/or supported during the workday for breastfeeding mothers. 5.6% of coordinators reported that a mentorship program and/or personalized plans are implemented for residents returning from maternity leave.
There has been a recent movement and increased support among residency programs for dedicated parental leave; however, there has been little research regarding available support for breastfeeding mothers. In male-dominated environments, such as those found in many radiology departments, there may not be adequate support for female residents returning from maternity leave.
Opportunities exist to improve support for breastfeeding mothers and for residents returning from parental leave. Program leadership may consider implementing policies/programs such as residents returning from parental leave meet with the Program Director upon return to discuss needs and if they require any resources or support, resident-run support groups, outlined expectations in a resident handbook, additional mentoring, and/or development of personalized plans with the Program Director or other program leadership.