Dr. Melissa A. Bender is an excellent physician at the UWMC, and also an outstanding wife and mother. I will fully disclose that I am married to Melissa, and that we are both physicians at UWMC. We have one young son named Dominic. Melissa and I moved from New York City to Seattle to work at UWMC when she was 22 weeks pregnant. She took on a new job, a new city, a new home and ultimately a newborn while working full time as an attending physician in palliative care.
She graciously offered to take a 3 month leave from her demanding academic medicine position to bond with and care for Dominic, while I continued working. Although we both faced new challenges after having a son, only Melissa faced the challenge of managing a prolonged absence from work.
Many women in academic medicine face this same challenge of absence from work after delivery, and I fully believe that each woman taking a maternity leave (often in the face of some criticism from colleagues) should be acknowledged. I am grateful to be married to Melissa, and I am certain that she will continue being an impressive wife, mother and physician.