According to recent research, care giving support is integral to work-life balance. But a gap persists between the need for childcare and eldercare and access to those resources.
This is particularly true at medical schools, where faculty, staff, and learners often need flexible options to manage the demands of caring for loved ones when they also have busy professional lives.
As the largest medical school in the United States, the Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM) sought out ways to solve this problem by creating a “Work-Life Portal.” The portal houses a hub of resources that empowers employees to learn about the benefits and policies integral to career flexibility laid out by the university.
The portal and other projects IUSM have undertaken are thanks to an award the school received from ACE and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s grant to accelerate career flexibility.
“Career flexibility is integral to efforts to recruit, retain and advance the most vital faculty community possible,” said Dr. Jay L. Hess, dean, IUSM. “I’m proud that our work as part of the Sloan Award helped raise awareness about these issues, and thankful that our institution is investing in such an important resource.”
The school hopes that access to resources such as the portal and increased access to childcare will create a more flexible career climate, offset lost workdays (benefitting both the employee and the patient), reduce costs and reduce high staff turnover. Overall, IUSM hopes to create an institution where all members of the IUSM community can participate and succeed fully.
To see what other medical schools nationwide are doing, see ACE’s Policy Trends at Medical Schools and Colleges toolkit, an examination of structural and cultural changes institutions can use to better balance professional and personal lives for faculty in academic medicine.