Caring for Kids (and Others) in an Online Work Environment

Between the end of September and the beginning of October, I “attended” the 50th Anniversary Meeting of the Child Neurology Society, an organization I have long considered to be my professional home away from home. You doubtless realize that “attended” is in quotation marks because, as a result of the pandemic, I participated virtually in this meeting. Being a child neurologist of a certain age as they say, the Society’s members consist largely of people who trained me and my peers; people who were my peers in training; and people whom my peers and I trained. This makes the Child Neurology Society’s annual meeting a kind of family reunion for me. As such, what better topic on which for me to be a symposium speaker than “The Tiny Elephant in the Zoom Room: Harnessing a Crisis to Recover, Maintain and Enhance Career Development in Child Neurology”?

The symposium discussed data, questions, and potential solutions around the topic of combining family caretaking responsibilities with the development of a professional career in child neurology. Its lecturers covered careers focused on education, clinical medicine, and research. All of the talks and the panel discussion, including all four lecturers and four additional discussants, included rigorously accrued data and proposed solutions as well as personal anecdotes and advice. Although this particular symposium focused on child neurology, none of its findings are unique to that discipline. The group is planning a detailed manuscript and hopes to launch a national discussion that results in iterative development and implementation of responses and solutions to this challenge. But I feel compelled, while they are fresh in my mind and exquisitely relevant to the present moment, to present a few overarching points:

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