41st Annual Meeting - Dependent Care Scholarships Available

Key Dates:

Application Deadline: September 3, 2019

Awards Announcement: September 23, 2019

In November 2018, Society for Medical Decision Making (SMDM) President Heather Gold commissioned a Special Committee on Childcare to investigate the role SMDM could play in addressing barriers to meeting attendance due to excess costs of childcare. During the subsequent months, the Committee investigated potential courses of action the Society could undertake, including the provision of on-site child care. Recognizing this issue extends beyond childcare, the committee expanded the scope to include barriers due to excess costs of eldercare and partner care (for ill/disabled partners). Additionally, the Committee conducted two surveys of the membership to determine needs for the upcoming meeting. Based on the survey data, the Committee recommended to the Board of Trustees that scholarships be used to help offset costs for attendees.

For this 2019 pilot program, SMDM has pledged a total of USD $4,000 in dependent care scholarships for attendees of the 41st Annual North American Meeting in Portland, Oregon, who need assistance with child, elder, or partner care ("dependent care") in Portland to participate fully in the meeting. Our rationale is described below, as is the application process. We will be assessing the impact of this program in the coming year. We look forward to your participation and/or suggestions/comments.

SMDM has decided to commit pilot funds this year (some of which will come from SMDM and some of which will come from donors) to help with dependent care based on recent data showing the impact of caregiving responsibilities on career development opportunities for young researchers and retention in academic careers. The journal Nature recently published a news feature highlighting Dr. Erin Cech’s PNAS article that reported that “nearly half of US female scientists leave science after first child.” (February 19, 2019) Additionally, nearly 25% of men left science following the birth of their first child. Furthermore, a recent research letter led by Dr. Miriam Knoll in JAMA: Oncology indicated that women reported attending significantly fewer conferences than their male counterparts, although men and women did not differ in how important they believed attending conferences was to their professional development. Additionally, 48% of women indicated that having “children influenced their attendance of professional conferences very much or quite a bit,” and a third of women indicated that childcare obligations interfered with their ability to attend conferences. Unfortunately, few data exist on how elder care obligations affect conference attendance and professional development. Given the impact of dependent care on the professional development of researchers, SMDM will provide a total of USD $4,000 in dependent care scholarships to help mitigate the impact that dependent care can have on the career trajectory of scientists.

Members of the Special Committee on Childcare provided diverse perspectives: Angie Fagerlin (Chair), Esther de Bekker-Grob, Eva Enns, Ruth Ndjaboue Njike, Tom Valley, and Davene Wright.


Interested in supporting dependent care scholarships for Annual Meeting attendees? Click the blue button below to donate to the SMDM Dependent Care program. Thank you for your support!


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Xiongfei Pan, BSc
Xiongfei Pan, BSc

"The most benefits I get from the membership are getting informed of up-to-date information on health decision making as well as resources and tools for professionals in this area."

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