Initial Certification Research

Published: Taking Leave During Residency

Summary by James T. McDeavitt

This study explores the impact of a leave of absence (LOA) on board pass rates in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) residency programs. The analysis, conducted on deidentified information from the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (ABPMR) physician database, found that between 1998 and 2020, 6% of 10,803 PM&R residency graduates took an extended LOA. Reasons for taking LOA were categorized into academic concerns/remediation, parental, personal health, and personal unspecified.

The study found that the reason for taking LOA significantly influenced the pass rates for both part I and part II board examinations. Residents who took parental leave had no adverse impact on part I examinations and were more likely to pass part II than those who didn't take LOA. Conversely, those taking LOA for unspecified personal reasons or due to academic/remediation concerns had lower pass rates in both exams. Medical LOA did not affect pass rates compared to peers without LOA.

The findings from this study should offer some reassurance to medical residents who need to take parental or medical leaves of absence, demonstrating that such leaves are unlikely to detrimentally affect their board examination performance. It also highlights the potential need for early intervention for those with academic concerns to ensure board examination success. The study provides valuable insights to guide policies, processes, and support structures for residents taking LOA during their training.

Read the abstract or download the full article, which has been published online ahead of print: Taking Leave During Residency.

McDeavitt, James T. MD; Appelbaum, Nital P. PhD; Raddatz, Mikaela M. PhD; Driscoll, Sherilyn W. MD; Kinney, Carolyn L. MD. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation 101(7):p S30-S34, July 2022. | DOI: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000002004

Originally Published: June 23, 2023