"Having a framework in place anticipating somebody may want to have a child in the program helps a lot," says Christine Van Horn, MD.
In this interview, Christine Van Horn, MD, highlights ways that urology residency programs can support their trainees as they begin building a family, which were highlighted in the publication, “Family Building and Our Evolving Urology Workforce: A Call to Action.” Van Horn is a recent graduate of the University of Massachusetts Medical School Program and an incoming fellow at Loyola Medicine in Maywood, Illinois.
I think there's a couple of things that institutions can do in terms of supporting their trainees in this process. I think having a framework in place anticipating somebody may want to have a child in the program helps a lot. Especially keeping it very broad, so those who choose to adopt, say, they're older folks who can't conceive, or couples who want to go that route instead of having biological children, they should also be built into that framework.
Having a better understanding for trainees of what the leave policies are for the programs. I think a lot of changes have been done at the broad specialty level in terms of supporting people taking time off and being very clear about how much time you can take off and how you can parse that out. We've already had some in our programs have taken advantage of that new information. So, I think I think that's hugely important.
The biggest part of it is just helping people overcome that initial hurdle of thinking, "This is a huge undertaking. This is going to be so painful for everyone involved." I think building in things like leave banks and funds to help compensate the residents who cover for each other, that kind of stuff is huge to make sure that people don't feel like they're just being a huge burden in going through this process.
This transcription has been edited for clarity.