Navigation Links
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 report that showed, despite gender parity in scientific undergraduate and graduate programs, representation of women decreases with each step up the tenure-track and academic leadership hierarchy. The report also suggested that providing more support for working parents could be an effective strategy to keep women in the academic pipeline.

Villablanca and colleagues' initial research focused on evaluating the influence of family-friendly policies on the career trajectories and success of women faculty in medicine. As part of their investigation, they surveyed more than their UC Davis colleagues in the School of Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine and College of Biological Sciences and found very low awareness of the university's flexible career policies, which have in been place for more than two decades.

"UC Davis has been a leader and national model for career policies that allow faculty to care for family while maintaining their career paths," said Villablanca. "It was disappointing to discover that so many of our faculty didn't even know the opportunity existed."

Those who were aware of the policies were not inclined to use them due to confusion over eligibility, fear of limiting their promotional opportunities, reactions of colleagues or concerns about increasing their colleagues' workloads.

Villablanca and her colleagues then developed and implemented in 2010 and again in 2011 a comprehensive promotional effort focused on raising awareness of the availability and benefits of flexible career policies and reducing barriers to their use. Their approach, reported in the current article, included:

  • Offering faculty workshops and grand rounds presentations

  • Designating faculty liaisons in each department to provide guidance on family-friendly career policies

  • Making presentations to leadership

  • Providing broad, current resources via public and internal websites, social media and print communications

The overall theme of all these activities was to present career-flexibility policies as something faculty were entitled to and an important part of their academic career satisfaction.

A follow-up survey showed that the intervention was effective in significantly increasing both awareness of flexible-career policies and in reducing barriers to their use, especially barriers related to overburdening colleagues.

"It's clear that gaining acceptability, comfort with and willingness to use career-flexibility options takes a culture-shifting communications campaign," said Howell. "Organizations need to do more than just adopt policies. They need to demonstrate a clear commitment to them as well."

Villablanca, Howell and Beckett will conduct another assessment in the fall of 2013 to determine if their communications program led to increased professional and personal satisfaction and improved retention for UC Davis faculty. Their hope is to develop a model for policy development and communication that could be applied in a variety of settings.

"Our intervention could be useful well beyond UC Davis and academia for organizations interested in strategic tools that can help attract and retain top talent," said Villablanca.


'/>"/>

Contact: Karen Finney
karen.finney@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
916-734-9064
University of California - Davis Health System
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Special Learning, Inc. Promotes Global Autism Awareness with Complimentary Educational Product Giveaway
2. The Chris Elliott Fund Celebrates National Brain Tumor Awareness Month with Several New Education and Awareness Programs
3. NJ Top Docs Weigh in on Importance of Skin Cancer Awareness Month
4. Voices Against Brain Cancer Commends Family for their Ongoing Efforts to Spread Brain Cancer Awareness
5. Healthy-Tips.com Website Launches to Bring Health Awareness
6. National Mobility Awareness Month Strives to Create Awareness for the Second Year
7. The Gluten Free Society Launches Hormone Awareness Campaign
8. Professional Insurance Plans Encourages the Nation to Celebrate Fibromyalgia Education and Awareness Month
9. For Stroke Awareness Month, Dr. Andrew Satlin is Raising Awareness of the Connections Between Gum Disease and Stroke and Offers Encino, CA Laser Gum Surgery for Treatment
10. During Celiac Awareness Month, Nutrition Expert Keri Glassman Encourages People with Celiac Disease to Find a Fiber Alternative like Konsyl Original Formula
11. ASCP Members Rally Around Breast and Ovarian Cancer Awareness
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... 27, 2016 , ... TherapySites, the leading website ... Tennessee Counseling Association. This new relationship allows TherapySites to continue to ... adding exclusive benefits and promotional offers. , "TCA is extremely excited about this ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... A revolution ... the emergency ambulance transport experience for the millions of people who require these ... disrupted the taxi industry through the use of technology. Now, SmartEMS has put ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... PLAINSBORO, N.J. (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... same sources, yet in many ways they remain in the eye of the beholder, ... Oncology (EBO), a publication of The American Journal of Managed Care. For the full ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Pixel Film Studios Released ProSlice Levels, a ... can give their videos a whole new perspective by using the title layers ... Film Studios. , ProSlice Levels contains over 30 Different presets to choose from. ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... NC (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... Brent Kasmer, a legally blind and ... to be personalized through a fitness app. The fitness app plans to fix the two ... currently only offer a one size fits all type program , They don’t ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... Mass. , June 24, 2016   ... Spaulding Rehabilitation Network,s Dean Center for Tick ... Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, University ... for Innovation, today announced the five finalists of ... for Lyme disease.  More than 100 scientists, clinicians, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... and SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. , June ... -based mobile pulmonary function testing company, is now able to ... devices developed by ndd Medical Technologies , Inc. ... done in hospital-based labs.  Thanks to ndd,s EasyOne PRO ® , ... , can get any needed testing done in the comfort of ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016  Arkis BioSciences, ... less invasive and more durable cerebrospinal fluid treatments, ... funding.  The Series-A funding is led by Innova ... Fund, and other private investors.  Arkis, new financing ... instrumentation and the market release of its in-licensed ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: