Becoming a Parent During Cardiovascular Training

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2022 May 31;79(21):2119-2126. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2022.03.371.


Background: Specialty training in cardiovascular diseases is consistently perceived to have adverse job conditions and interfere with family life. There is a dearth of universal workforce support for trainees who become parents during training.

Objectives: This study sought to identify parental policies across cardiovascular training programs internationally.

Methods: An Internet-based international survey study available from August 2020 to October 2020 was sent via social media. The survey was administered 1 time and anonymously. Participants shared experiences regarding parental benefits/policies and perception of barriers for trainees. Participants were divided into 3 groups: training program directors, trainees pregnant during cardiology fellowship, and trainees not pregnant during training.

Results: A total of 417 replies were received from physicians, including 47 responses (11.3%) from training program directors, 146 responses (35%) from current or former trainees pregnant during cardiology training, and 224 responses (53.7%) from current or former trainees that were not pregnant during cardiology training. Among trainees, 280 (67.1%) were parents during training. Family benefits and policies were not uniformly available across institutions, and knowledge regarding the existence of such policies was low. Average parental leave ranged from 1 to 2 months in the United States compared with >4 months outside the United States, and in all countries, paternity leave was uncommon (only 11 participants [2.6%]). Coverage during family leave was primarily provided by peers (n = 184 [44.1%]), and 168 (91.3%) were without additional monetary or time compensation.

Conclusions: This is the first international survey evaluating and comparing parental benefits and policies among cardiovascular training programs. There is great variability among institutions, highlighting disparities in real-world experiences.

Keywords: cardiovascular fellowship; parenting; policy; pregnancy; training; women in cardiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / therapy
  • Fellowships and Scholarships
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Parental Leave
  • Parents
  • Pregnancy
  • United States