The Homewood Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Fellow Parental Concerns Working Group

The Homewood Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Fellow Parental Concerns Working Group has met intermittently since 2015, and is co-advised by the GRO Family/Health advocacy chair (when in office), a representative from the HW-PDA Eboard, and the Assistant Dean for Graduate and Postdoctoral Academic Affairs in the Whiting School and the Director of Graduate and Postdoctoral Academic and Student Affairs in the Krieger School.

The group is responsible for identifying pressing issues unique to grad and postdoc families- from child care, new child accommodations, schools, balancing the academic load; identifying and clarifying resources both on and off campus; building community amongst grad and postdoc families, and advising leadership on needs and relevant policy development.

Current projects include: investigating better child care solutions, creating checklist guides for those expecting a new child in their family, and hosting annual Family Days at Homewood with optional supply swaps.

Accomplishments (so far!) include: highchair placement in Homewood campus dining facilities, the creation of a new child accommodation policy for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and stocking the Hopkins Food Pantry with baby food, diapers, supplies, and feminine hygiene products.

For more information, please contact either Christine Kavanagh (WSE) or Renee Eastwood (KSAS)

Children on Campus

The below policy applies to all Homewood campus affiliates. Note that the first paragraph specifically addresses resources for fulltime benefits-eligible staff and faculty, discussions are ongoing to update the language. Please contact the GRO with any questions or concerns, or would like to learn about welcoming spaces on campus.JHU Guidelines to Children in the Workplace

Planning New Child Accommodations

Johns Hopkins University recognizes the importance of balancing the family and academic responsibilities faced by new parents and promoting the well-being of their families.  The University is supportive of accommodating eligible full-time graduate students and full-time postdoctoral fellows, scholars and trainees (collectively “postdoctoral trainees”) who are expecting a new child (either through birth, adoption, or legal guardianship).  Consistent with grant funding policies that place a limit of 8 weeks for parental leave, all eligible full-time graduate students and postdoctoral fellows shall receive no less than 8 weeks of (fully-paid for those students/fellows with full funding at the time of the accommodation) new child accommodations.

Please visit the official university policy for more information on eligibility and details.

Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the Whiting School of Engineering or the Kreiger School of Arts and Sciences should contact either Assistant Dean Christine Kavanagh (WSE) or Director Renee Eastwood (KSAS)  at least 90 days in advance of the need of a new child accommodation (or soonest possible date) to coordinate a plan with their advisor/department.

Critical Consultations to Navigate Challenges

Many graduate students and postdoctoral fellows are constantly working to find a healthy balance between their family, academic, and research responsibilities. It can be difficult for a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow to advocate for themselves with their advisors and professors.

The Offices of Graduate Affairs in KSAS and WSE offer one-on-one consultation services to help graduate students and postdoctoral fellows

  1. discuss challenges they are facing in striking a healthy work/life balance,
  2. discover resources around the university to assist them,
  3. problem-solve when possible,
  4. help them strategize ways to advocate for themselves with their advisors, professors, and colleagues
  5. help address concerns about time to degree/funding issues prior to or after any accommodation.

Utilizing an accommodation will not result in any academic penalty. Funding support is specific to divisions/programs, and every effort is made to ensure that students are not negatively financially impacted by any utilization of the accommodation.

Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the Whiting School of Engineering or the Kreiger School of Arts and Sciences should contact either Assistant Dean Christine Kavanagh (WSE) or Director Renee Eastwood (KSAS) to make an appointment. Every effort is made to provide a private and confidential consultation.

Nursing Parent Resources and Homewood Changing Table Information

Breastfeeding Support

Johns Hopkins recognizes the positive benefits of breastfeeding for both you and your child. We are committed to providing you with the information and support you need if you choose to breastfeed after returning to work. The Johns Hopkins Office of Work, Life and Engagement has created a guide for breastfeeding parents who would like to continue breastfeeding after returning to a fulltime office/lab schedule.

Lactation Policy for Nursing Parents

In keeping with the Fair Labor Standards Act, all female faculty, staff and student employees who breastfeed their child (collectively referred to herein as “nursing mothers”) will be provided reasonable break times to express milk throughout the day, each time they need to express milk, for as long as the employee has a need to express milk. The University will also provide appropriate private areas, other than bathrooms, for this purpose. The area provided, if not dedicated to the nursing mother’s use, will be made available when needed by the employee. The area provided will be shielded from view, and free from any intrusion from coworkers and the public. Nursing mothers who need to express milk during the working day, should contact their supervisor, department administrator and/or Human Resources. Working with the nursing mother, the supervisor or departmental administrator is required to provide reasonable break times and to identify an appropriate location. If possible, break times may be taken during regularly scheduled meal and rest breaks. The only requirement of the law is that it must be a private space that is NOT be a bathroom.

Ideal (but not all are required) features of the space are:

  • Guaranteed privacy and solitude
  • A door with a lock
  • A chair
  • A shelf or table to set a breast pump on
  • An electrical outlet (for a breast pump)
  • A sink nearby
  • A refrigerator nearby where a mother can store expressed milk

Lactation Room Locations

Two Homewood lactation rooms have opened: Wyman, Room W118 & Garland Hall, Room 073. There are also two private, clean lactation rooms (Shaffer Hall room 309 and Bloomberg Physics and Astronomy Bldg room 376B) on Homewood campus, each equipped with one Medela hospital -grade breast pump.

The lactation rooms are open to undergraduates, graduate students and post docs, but you have to register to be allowed to use them.

Changing Room Locations on Campus

There are three restrooms on Homewood campus with changing stations:

  • Ames 110E/D Men’s Restroom
  • Ames 213E/F Women’s Restroom
  • Shriver T5/T5A Women’s Restroom

Financial and Medical Assistance Resources

A non-exhaustive list of medical/financial assistance programs for low-income and uninsured families:

Finding Child Care

The Johns Hopkins Human Resources website has a list of resources for finding child care.

Grad students and post-docs are currently eligible to use a service called LOCATE: Child Care (contracted by JHU through Maryland Family Network) for assistance in locating affordable child care where they live or work including individual counseling and assessment as well as referrals to programs with current openings.

Outside of JHU, the state of Maryland provides links on how to select quality child care, along with a child care scholarship program.

Dependent Care Vouchers

Johns Hopkins University offers financial support for licensed childcare to full-time employees, full-time doctoral students, post-doctoral fellows, residents, and house staff who meet eligibility requirements.

Effective in 2020, child care voucher awards will follow the calendar year and families must apply for the coming year, even if they’ve already applied and have been accepted into the 2019 Dependent Care Voucher. Students must apply after August 1. For more information, visit the Work Life website.

Scholarships to JHU Child Care Centers

JHU scholarships are available for the three centers that are Johns Hopkins partners: Homewood Early Learning Center, Bright Horizons, and the Weinberg Early Childhood Center. These scholarships can be used in addition to vouchers. They are available to full-time employees of the university, post-doc students, full-time doctoral students, residents, and house staff.

Scholarships are available on a rolling basis, starting in January 2020, so a family can use them as soon as a spot opens up in one of the three centers. It is important that employees get on the waiting list for the center(s) in which they wish to enroll their child if they want to access the scholarship at some point in the future. Because the scholarship amounts are above the IRS cap of $5,000, they are taxable. Financial counseling is available for families with concerns around taxability and eligibility for other programs through mySupport.

For more information, visit the Work Life website.

Connect to Other Hopkins Parents

“Hopkins Parents” ( is a listserv created to connect students and postdocs who have children or are thinking about having children during their time at Johns Hopkins University. The purpose of this listserv is to allow fellow parents to share information pertaining to University and/or community resources. Subscribers may send messages to the listserv whenever they desire, though each message will first be forwarded to the list moderator for approval.

To subscribe, log in to your email service of choice (whether that’s JHU’s Office 365, google, yahoo, etc.) and send an email to with the subject “SUBSCRIBE hopkinsparents” (do not include quotation marks).