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An Integrated Career Coaching and Time Banking System Promoting Flexibility, Wellness, and Success: A Pilot Program at Stanford University School of Medicine

Fassiotto, Magali, PhD; Simard, Caroline, PhD; Sandborg, Christy, MD; Valantine, Hannah, MD; Raymond, Jennifer, PhD

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000002121
Article: PDF Only

Faculty in academic medicine experience multiple demands on their time at work and at home, which can become a source of stress and dissatisfaction, compromising success. A taskforce convened to diagnose the state of work-life flexibility at Stanford University School of Medicine uncovered two major sources of conflict for faculty: work-life conflict, caused by juggling demands of career and home, and work-work conflict, caused by competing priorities of the tripartite research, teaching, and clinical mission of an academic medical center combined with service and administrative tasks. Using human-centered design research principles, the 2013–2014 Academic Biomedical Career Customization (ABCC) pilot program incorporated two elements to mitigate work-life and work-work conflict: integrated career-life planning: coaching to create a customized plan to meet both career and life goals; and a time-banking system: recognizing behaviors that promote team success with benefits that mitigate work-life and work-work conflicts. A matched sample pre-post evaluation survey found the two-part program increased perceptions of a culture of flexibility (P = .020), wellness (P = .013), understanding of professional development opportunities (P = .036), and institutional satisfaction (P = .020) among participants. In addition, an analysis of research productivity indicated that over the two-year program, ABCC program participants received 1.3 more awards, on average, compared to a matched set of nonparticipants, a funding difference of approximately $1.1 million per person. These results suggest that it is possible to mitigate the effects of extreme time pressure on faculty at academic medical centers, even within existing institutional structures.

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M. Fassiotto is assistant dean, Office of Faculty Development and Diversity, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.

C. Simard is senior director of research, Clayman Institute for Gender Research, Stanford University, Stanford, California.

C. Sandborg is professor, Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, and Vice President of Medical Affairs, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, Stanford, California.

H. Valantine is chief officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

J. Raymond is professor, Department of Neurobiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.

The authors have informed the journal that they agree that Magali Fassiotto and Caroline Simard have completed the intellectual and other work typical of the first author.

Supplemental digital content for this article is available at

Acknowledgments: The authors wish to thank Dr. Bonnie Maldonado, Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Diversity at Stanford Medicine, for support in program dissemination; Philip Pizzo, former Dean of Stanford School of Medicine, for creating and supporting the taskforce on faculty flexibility, and for his charge to think boldly and creatively in addressing the issue; John Etchemendy, former provost of Stanford University, for instigating the many studies on Stanford faculty quality of life that laid the groundwork for the School of Medicine’s focus on uncovering data-driven solutions to the problem; Udaya Patnaik and his colleagues at Jump Associates for their major contributions to the design of ABCC using their “hybrid thinking” approach; members of the taskforce convened by the Dean's office; Deloitte consulting for providing advice on the framework; and all participants in the ABCC Pilot program.

Funding/Support: This work was supported by: the American Council on Education in partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, through the ACE-Sloan Projects on Faculty Flexibility: Award Number 2012-5-45 CFA; Stanford University School of Medicine; Stanford University Office of the Provost; and NIH CTSA Award: 1UL1 RR025744-01.

Other disclosures: None reported.

Ethical approval: Institutional review board approval for this study was waived by Stanford University’s Research Compliance Office.

Previous presentations: Portions of these materials were presented at: the Work and Family Researchers Network Annual Conference, New York, NY, June 19, 2014; the 2014 Association of American Medical Colleges Group on Faculty Affairs Annual Conference, Boston, MA, July 19, 2014; the 2014 Association of American Medical Colleges Annual Meeting: Learn Serve Lead, Chicago, IL, November 8, 2014; Career Flexibility for Biomedical Faculty of Today and Tomorrow: A National Conference, Boston, MA, March 14, 2015; the 2015 Association of American Medical Colleges Group on Diversity and Inclusion Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, UT, March 5, 2016; the New America Annual Conference, Washington, DC, May 19, 2016; the 2016 International Conference on Physician Health, Boston, MA, September 18, 2016.

Correspondence should be addressed to Magali Fassiotto, Office of Faculty Development and Diversity, Stanford University School of Medicine, 300 Pasteur Drive, Grant S005, Stanford, CA 94305-5401; telephone: (650) 723-6078; e-mail:

© 2018 by the Association of American Medical Colleges