Leave Policy - Vascular Surgery
This leave policy allows for flexible caregiver and parental leave, and is in accordance with the policy guidelines
established by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), as well as the Institutional Requirements
established by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
- In general, the ABS requires 48 weeks of full-time clinical activity in each training year, regardless of the amount of operative experience obtained. The remaining four (4) weeks of the year are considered non-clinical time that may be used for any purpose, such as vacation, conferences, interviews, etc.
- All time away from clinical activity (i.e., non-clinical time), including vacation and time taken for interviews, visa issues, etc., must be accounted for on the application for certification.
ABS Vascular Surgery Family Leave Policy
The ABS acknowledges the need to take time away from training for certain significant life events. Therefore, effective as of the 2021-2022 academic year and thereafter, as allowed by their programs, residents in integrated vascular surgery training programs may take up to an additional four (4) weeks of documented leave twice during training to care for a new child, whether for the birth, the adoption, or placement of a child in foster care; to care for a seriously ill family member (partner, child, or parent); to grieve the loss of a family member (partner, child, or parent); or to recover from the resident's own serious illness. Effective as of the 2022-2023 academic year and thereafter, as allowed by their programs, trainees in independent vascular surgery training programs may take up to an additional four (4) weeks of documented leave once during training.
The ABS will accept:
- For integrated programs (0+5), a total of 140 weeks in the first three years and 92 weeks in the last two years.*
- For independent programs (5+2), a total of 92 weeks in the two years of vascular surgery training.**
(*) This policy for integrated programs is not retroactive and does not apply to leave taken prior to the 2021-2022 academic year.
(**) This policy for independent programs is not retroactive and does not apply to leave taken prior to the 2022-2023 academic year
- Note: This is an ABS policy only and should not be confused with family leave as permitted by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). No approval is needed for this option if taken as outlined.
Additional Leave Options
While the ABS considers the 48-week requirement to be a valuable standard in developing fully-trained surgeons, options are available to provide programs and residents with some flexibility.
The 48 weeks may be averaged:
- For independent programs (5+2), the 48 weeks may be averaged over the two years of vascular surgery training, for a total of 96 weeks required.
- For integrated programs (0+5), the 48 weeks may be averaged over the first three years of residency, for a total of 144 weeks required in the first three years, and over the last two years of residency, for a total of 96 weeks required in the last two years.
- Thus, within the parameters above, non-clinical time may be reduced in one year to allow for additional non-clinical time in another year.
Extending Chief Year
- The ABS will permit, with advance approval, applicants to extend their final year of training through the end of August and still take that year's Qualifying Exam (QE). Upon completion of training, a letter of attestation will be required from the program director stating that the individual has met ABS requirements. The attestation letter must be received before registration for the Certifying Exam is permitted. In addition, prior approval from the RC-Surgery may be needed for the increase in complement.
Completing 5 Years in 6
- The ABS also permits, with advance approval, the five clinical years of residency to be completed over a six-year period ("6-Year Option"). See farther below for more details.
The ABS will also consider other arrangements beyond what is noted above on a case-by-case basis. These will also require advance approval.
- All requests for approval must be made by the program director (not the resident) and must be sent by mail or fax on official letterhead to the ABS office (no emails).
Program directors: When making a request for other arrangements, please include in your letter a complete schedule of the resident's training, with calendar dates, including all leave time.
- If permitted by the residency program, the five years of integrated residency training may be completed over six academic years. All training must be completed at a single program with advance approval from the ABS. In this option, 48 weeks of full-time training are required in each clinical year. The first 12 months of clinical training would be counted as PGY-1, the second 12 months as PGY-2, and so forth. No block of clinical training may be shorter than one month (four weeks).
- Under this option, a resident may take up to 12 months off during the six-year training period. The resident would first work with his or her program to determine an appropriate leave period or schedule. The program would then request approval for this plan from the ABS; requests must be sent by mail or fax on official letterhead to the ABS office (no emails).
- Use of the six-year option is solely at the program's discretion, and contingent on advance approval from the ABS. The option may be used for any purpose approved by the residency program, including but not limited to family issues, visa issues, medical problems, maternity leave, external commitments, volunteerism, pursuit of outside interests, educational opportunities, etc.
Updated: June 2022