American Board of Thoracic Surgery
Leave of Absence Policy 
Effective October 3, 2020


Pathway One, Two and Four candidates seeking certification are eligible for a single 6 week leave of absence for parental leave (care of a child by birth, adoption or foster care), caregiver leave (care of an immediate family member including child, spouse, or parent with a serious health condition), or medical leave (for a trainee’s own serious health condition). This is in addition to allotted vacation time and does not impact length of training.  This policy pertains to the 2- or 3-year Thoracic fellowship programs or the 3 year component of 4/3 General Surgery/Thoracic Surgery Joint Training Programs.  If the leave occurs in the last 12 months of training, the individual will need to demonstrate that 12 of the last 18 months were at a senior-level responsibility.  Full case requirements will still be required to be eligible for board qualification.

Pathway Three candidates (I-6 Integrated Thoracic Surgery residency) seeking certification are eligible for two - 6 week leave of absences for parental leave (care of a child by birth, adoption or foster care), caregiver leave (care of an immediate family member including child, spouse, or parent with a serious health condition), or medical leave (for a trainee’s own serious health condition). This is in addition to allotted vacation time and does not impact length of training.  The first leave can be used during PGY 1-3 and the second leave can be used during PGY 4-6.  If the leave occurs in the last 12 months of training, the individual will need to demonstrate that 12 of the last 18 months were at a senior-level responsibility.  Full case requirements will still be required to be eligible for board qualification.

Congenital Subspeciality candidates seeking certification  who are in a 2 year training program are eligible for a single 6 week leave of absence for parental leave (care of a child by birth, adoption or foster care), caregiver leave (care of an immediate family member including child, spouse, or parent with a serious health condition), or medical leave (for a trainee’s own serious health condition). These 6 weeks can occur during the “12 months of required case attainment” as a pause in that 12 months.  The duration of training would not change if the program is able to accommodate a start date for the 12 months inclusive of the 6 week leave of absence that would allow for an on time graduation.  This is in addition to allotted vacation time.  Full case requirements will still be required to be eligible for board qualification.

Congenital Subspeciality candidates seeking certification  who are in a 1 year training program are eligible for a single 6 week leave of absence for parental leave (care of a child by birth, adoption or foster care), caregiver leave (care of an immediate family member including child, spouse, or parent with a serious health condition), or medical leave (for a trainee’s own serious health condition). These 6 weeks can occur during the “12 months of required case attainment” as a pause in that 12 months.  This is in addition to allotted vacation time.  Due to the short duration of the training program, the length of training will need to be extended by the amount of time taken for the leave of absence but will not impact the ability to apply for certification.  Full case requirements will still be required to be eligible for board qualification.

Any leave of absence in excess of 6 weeks for any of the above training pathways will require pre-approval by the board and will extend the duration of training equal to the duration of additional leave taken.

All leaves must be approved by the Program Director and ABTS.  This requires a written request from the Program Director to the ABTS (info@ABTS.org) prior to the leave of absence including the information below.  

Requests should include.
1. Name of resident
2. Reason for personal leave
3. Number of weeks expected for personal leave
4. Number of clinical weeks worked for each academic year
5. Year of training that personal leave will be taken