UCSF Again Named a Healthy Mothers Workplace in 2015

By Laura Lu

Curtis Chan (second from left), medical director of Maternal, Child & Adolescent Health at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and Julia Parish (third from right)), project director of the Healthy Mothers Workplace Coalition, present Joanne De Leon (center), Nancy Milliken and UCSF colleagues the Silver Healthy Mothers Workplace Award.

Too often, women today feel pressure to choose between raising a family and pursuing their careers.  Whether lactation accommodations or work-family balance, the level of support a woman receives from her employer can strongly influence her choice to become a mother and work fulltime.

While state and national legislation has expanded lactation accommodation requirements for employers, San Francisco has taken it one step further. In 2013, the Healthy Mothers Workplace Coalition established the Healthy Mothers Workplace Award to recognize San Francisco organizations that support parental leave, lactation accommodations and work-family balance.

This year, for the second year in a row, UCSF received the Silver Award.

Nancy Milliken MD, director of the UCSF National Center of Excellence (CoE) in Women’s Health, and Joanne De Leon, operations manager of the UCSF Women’s Health Resource Center, were joined by several team members who have helped spearhead health and equity for women at UCSF. The CoE has made great strides in advocating for UCSF’s working parents, such as establishing more than 35 lactation rooms across campus.

To receive a Gold Award, an organization must offer flexible and innovative parenting benefits. For example, Twitter created a “Mommy Mentor” and “Dads on Leave” program, and offers overnight shipping of breastmilk for its mothers who travel on the job.2 This year, the Gold Award recipients were Facebook, Legal Aid Society, Morrison & Foerster, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and Twitter.

“UCSF’s future success will be dependent on its ability to attract the best female talent as staff, faculty and students,” explained Milliken. “The Silver Award is demonstrative of the beneficial programs we have, but we must continue to strive for the Gold Award by building a culture and adopting policies that support extended parental leave, embrace work-family balance and normalize breastfeeding.

“As the second-largest employer in San Francisco, we have the opportunity to improve the health of Bay Area families while simultaneously recruiting and retaining our valuable workforce of childbearing women.”

The Center of Excellence applauds the efforts of Campus Life Services, which has assumed responsibility for standardizing and maintaining UCSF’s lactation rooms over the past year. Locate the lactation room nearest you, and for a complete list of parenting resources available at UCSF, visit www.campuslifeservices.ucsf.edu