Yalda Jabbarpour MD, Melina K. Taylor PhD, MPH, Megan Coffman MS, Aimee R. Eden PhD, MPH


Yalda Jabbarpour, MD I yjabbarpour@aafp.org

Yalda is a family physician in Washington, DC, and Medical Director of the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies. She graduated from the Georgetown University School of Medicine in 2008 and completed her residency at the Georgetown University/Providence Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program. Upon graduation she worked as a family physician for Scripps Health Medical Group in San Diego, California. She returned to Washington, DC in 2015 to serve as the Robert L Phillips Health Policy Fellow at the Robert Graham Center and currently serves as Medical Director.  

Melina Taylor, PhD, MPH I mtaylor@theabfm.org

Melina is a Research Associate at the American Board of Family Medicine in Lexington, Kentucky. She received a PhD in Cultural/Medical Anthropology and a Masters in Public Health from the University of South Florida. Melina’s areas of study and research include contraceptive and abortion access, LGBTQIA+ health and gender affirming care, sexual harassment and assault, female circumcision, and sexual/reproductive healthcare in primary care.  

Megan Coffman, MS I Coffman-Megan@norc.org

Megan is a Senior Research Scientist at that National Opinion Research Center (NORC) in Bethesda, MD.  She is a qualitative researcher with particular interest in primary care workforce and payment, with particular attention to issues unique to women physicians.

Aimee R. Eden, PhD, MPH I aeden@theabfm.org

Aimee is a medical anthropologist and the Qualitative Research Program Manager at the American Board of Family Medicine, where she leads the qualitative and survey research efforts. With over 65 peer-reviewed publications, her research has focused on the (gendered) experiences of healthcare professionals, professionalization & medicalization, and healthcare workforce issues regarding maternity care, breastfeeding support, primary care, maternal & child health, and diversification, equity, and inclusion.


Background: Before the pandemic, early career women primary care physicians reported burnout at higher rates than their male colleagues and were leaving the workforce at higher rates than their male counterparts. Mothering during the COVID-19 pandemic came with extraordinary challenges. For women physicians, most of whom could not work from home and who risked the health of themselves and their families given potential COVID-19 exposure, these challenges were acutely felt. This study explored the personal and professional impact of COVID-19 on women primary care physicians in the United States, using a matricentric feminism lens. Methods: We created and distributed a brief open-text response survey to physicians via the Physician Moms in Family Medicine Facebook group during the early stage of the pandemic. Survey items explored the work and home experiences of physicians during the pandemic. We conducted a thematic analysis of the open-ended responses.   Results: We received responses from 89 primary care physicians who self-identified as female, 68.5% (n=61) of whom had children living in the household. Overall, uncertainty and stress were dominant themes. The most frequently cited themes included concerns about exposure to COVID-19 by self, family, staff, or patients and changes in work processes and personal routines to ensure the safety of family, patients, and selves. Mothers felt the impact of COVID-19 more strongly than non-mothers in both their home and work life. Mothers described additional challenges associated with childcare, as well as higher rates of concern about bringing COVID-19 home to their family members.  Conclusion: The data suggest that the pandemic has exacerbated the personal and work-related stress of physician-mothers, highlighting the importance of policies centered around supporting mothering physicians, who are an integral part of our primary care workforce.

Matricentric Feminism in the Time of COVID-19: An Exploration of Women Physicians at the Intersection of Mothering

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