Family and Medical Leave for Diagnostic Radiology, Interventional Radiology, and Radiation Oncology Residents in the United States: A Policy Opportunity

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Department of Radiology

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Health and Medical Administration | Medical Education | Oncology | Radiation Medicine | Radiology


The American Board of Medical Specialties recently announced that effective July 1, 2021, member boards with training programs of 2 years or more must “establish requirements for candidates to become eligible for Initial Certification, including standards for training” and have “policies that accommodate reasonable leaves of absence from residency and fellowship training for personal or familial needs”. In preparation for this mandate, the American Board of Radiology (ABR) solicited comments from diverse stakeholders in March 2021—including the Association of Program Directors in Radiology, the Association of Program Directors in Interventional Radiology, and the ABR Initial Certification Advisory Committee for Radiation Oncology—with regards to Residency Service-Time Requirement, including considerations of family and medical leave. These communications included an initial proposed policy suggesting that “Programs may grant up to six weeks Parental, Caregiver and Medical Leave during the residency”.

We appreciate the ABR's efforts to seek feedback as it develops an updated policy. The purpose of this piece is to promote transparent discourse and to examine the nuanced issues pertaining to family and medical leave considerations within the broader context of Residency Service-Time Requirement policies for diagnostic radiology (DR), interventional radiology (IR), and radiation oncology (RO) residents, with the shared goal of optimizing both the training of competent clinicians worthy of public trust as well as professional well-being and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Given the rationale provided below, we recommend that the ABR leave policy allow a resident who is in good standing to take 12 weeks of family and medical leave during residency (in addition to 4 weeks of vacation per year), to sit for the Core/Qualifying Examinations on time, and to graduate without extension of training, with additional leave to be considered by the program director on a case-by-case basis.

DOI of Published Version



Magudia K, Ng TSC, Campbell SR, Balthazar P, Dibble EH, Hassanzadeh CJ, Lall N, Merfeld EC, Esfahani SA, Jimenez RB, Fields EC, Lightfoote JB, Ackerman SJ, Jeans EB, Englander MJ, DeBenedectis CM, Porter KK, Spalluto LB, Deitte LA, Jagsi R, Arleo EK. Family and Medical Leave for Diagnostic Radiology, Interventional Radiology, and Radiation Oncology Residents in the United States: A Policy Opportunity. Radiology. 2021 Jul;300(1):31-35. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2021210798. Epub 2021 Apr 13. PMID: 33847521. Link to article on publisher's site

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Full author list omitted for brevity. For the full list of authors, see article.

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