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The ‘Mommy Track’ Debate In Medicine

One female doctor argues that not working full-time is a waste of a medical education and a disservice to both patients and the profession. Others argue that trying to have it all is impossible. We explore what we should expect from our doctors — both as professionals and as parents.

Medicine is a demanding field. Here medical students and paramedics rush a man with gunshot wounds to the operating room. (AP)

Medicine is a demanding field. Here medical students and paramedics rush a man with gunshot wounds to the operating room. (AP)

Karen Sibert is a doctor and mother in Los Angeles. Four kids. A practice in anesthesiology. A big career.

And this week she threw a big rock in the pond of women in medicine. In a high-profile essay that has rocketed through the online world, Dr. Sibert said too many woman doctors are taking too much time off to take care of their own kids.

Working part-time. Leaving the field. She portrayed these personal decisions as a betrayal of a higher calling, and a problem for the country.

The pushback has been fierce.

This hour On Point: Dr. Karen Sibert, and the debate over work, family and medicine.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Karen Sibert, an anesthesiologist practicing in Los Angeles. She recently wrote the New York Times op-ed Don’t Quit This Day Job.

Kathleen Fairfield , the associate chief of medicine at Maine Medical Center and the volunteer medical director at the Free Clinic of Portland. She’s a primary care physician and an epidemiologist and also researches shared decision making in primary care.

Maureen Connelly, the dean for faculty affairs and assistant professor of population medicine at Harvard Medical School. Her research has focused on women in academic medicine, and she is the principle investigator of the faculty survey at Harvard’s medical and dental schools. She practiced internal medicine before joining the dean’s office.

And later in the hour, we’ll hear some of the commencement address by Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg this year at Barnard College.

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Aug 28, 2015
WDBJ-TV7 meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner, right, wipes his eyes during the early morning newscast as anchors Kimberly McBroom, center, and guest anchor Steve Grant deliver the news at the station in Roanoke, Va., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed during a live broadcast Wednesday, while on assignment in Moneta. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

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Lightning first ignited the Meadow fire on July 20, 2014 in Yosemite. By September 8, the fire had charred 2,582 acres. Bernie Krause has recorded soundscapes of national parks destroyed by large areas of forest fires. Listen below.  (National Park Service)

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Aug 28, 2015
Lightning first ignited the Meadow fire on July 20, 2014 in Yosemite. By September 8, the fire had charred 2,582 acres. Bernie Krause has recorded soundscapes of national parks destroyed by large areas of forest fires. Listen below.  (National Park Service)

A legendary natural sound collector shares his recordings. We’ll listen in.

 
Aug 28, 2015
WDBJ-TV7 meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner, right, wipes his eyes during the early morning newscast as anchors Kimberly McBroom, center, and guest anchor Steve Grant deliver the news at the station in Roanoke, Va., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed during a live broadcast Wednesday, while on assignment in Moneta. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

A deadly shooting on live TV. Wall Street’s roller coaster ride. Biden considers a White House bid. 10 years since Katrina.

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