September 20, 2007
A Norfolk county judge has rejected Sophie Currier’s request for additional break time to express milk during a medical licensing exam. Currier, a student at Harvard Medical School, must take the exam by the end of September in order to graduate and begin her residency. The National Board of Medical Examiners has refused to grant her more than its standard 45 minutes of break time during her 9-hour exam.
“It is deeply ironic that the board that licenses physicians is undermining breastfeeding,” said Dr. Alison Stuebe, an obstetrician and member of the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition. “Half of examinees are women of child-bearing age, and the Board’s refusal to accommodate nursing mothers create an unnecessary barrier for women pursuing medical careers.”
In a press release, the Board indicated that it is reviewing its policy for break time for all examinees.
“A longer break time for all test-takers would be a major step forward,” said Melissa Bartick, an internist and chair of the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition.