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Lack of awareness limits use of flexible career policies
Date:6/5/2013

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) To attract and maintain a diverse, qualified academic workforce, institutions of higher education should have and promote policies to help balance career and family life, according to an article published by UC Davis researchers in the June 2013 issue of Academic Medicine.

Policies allowing medical school faculty to care for family while advancing their careers are more available today than ever before, the authors said in the article. Yet these policies are also underused, primarily because faculty members do not know they exist.

Based on the outcomes of a comprehensive communications intervention conducted at UC Davis, the authors outline tactics that are effective in increasing awareness of family-friendly career policies.

"Brochures or web pages about work-life balance are a good first step but not enough," said Amparo Villablanca, a professor at UC Davis School of Medicine and lead author of the paper. "It truly takes a culture shift where accommodations for family care are clearly communicated, encouraged, supported and accepted to ensure that family-friendly policies are both understood and utilized."

In addition to being a leader in cardiovascular medicine, Villablanca has a long track record of encouraging organizational changes that support women who are committed to both their careers and their families. She and Lydia Howell, chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and Laurel Beckett, chief of the Division of Biostatistics in the UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences, were one of just 14 teams nationwide who received grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for research on factors that influence the careers of women. The goals were to identify ways to overcome gender differences in career paths and needs and to stem the attrition of women from science and engineering.

The NIH funding was a response to the National Academy of Science rep
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Contact: Karen Finney
karen.finney@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
916-734-9064
University of California - Davis Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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