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Acad Med. 2013 Jun;88(6):771-7. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31828f8974.

Improving knowledge, awareness, and use of flexible career policies through an accelerator intervention at the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, Davis, California 95616-8636, USA.


The challenges of balancing a career and family life disproportionately affect women in academic health sciences and medicine, contributing to their slower career advancement and/or their attrition from academia. In this article, the authors first describe their experiences at the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine developing and implementing an innovative accelerator intervention designed to promote faculty work-life balance by improving knowledge, awareness, and access to comprehensive flexible career policies. They then summarize the results of two faculty surveys--one conducted before the implementation of their intervention and the second conducted one year into their three-year intervention--designed to assess faculty's use and intention to use the flexible career policies, their awareness of available options, barriers to their use of the policies, and their career satisfaction. The authors found that the intervention significantly increased awareness of the policies and attendance at related educational activities, improved attitudes toward the policies, and decreased perceived barriers to use. These results, however, were most pronounced for female faculty and faculty under the age of 50. The authors next discuss areas for future research on faculty use of flexible career policies and offer recommendations for other institutions of higher education--not just those in academic medicine--interested in implementing a similar intervention. They conclude that having flexible career policies alone is not enough to stem the attrition of female faculty. Such policies must be fully integrated into an institution's culture such that faculty are both aware of them and willing to use them.

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