Friday, July 14, 2017

NYT: Doctors with Disabilities - Why They're Important

Don't miss this New York Times story published on July 11, 2017 titled, "Doctors with Disabilities: Why They're Important." The story, written by Dr. Dhruv Khullar, mentions a few physicians who have disabilities:

Dr. Gregory Snyder, a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston who uses a wheelchair

Dr. C. Lee Cohen, a resident at Massachusetts General Hospital who has partial hearing loss in both ears and uses an amplified stethoscope

The article discusses the importance of a diverse work force. Patients of various backgrounds may feel more comfortable when they have physicians who are like them. Physicians with disabilities may be able to relate on a different level with certain patients.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Disability Among US Medical Students

Be sure to read the December 6, 2016 JAMA article titled:

Prevalence of Self-disclosed Disability Among Medical Students in US Allopathic Medical Schools
by Lisa M. Meeks, PhD; Kurt R. Herzer, PhD, MSc

From December 2014 through February 2016, an electronic, web-based survey was sent to institutionally designated disability administrators at eligible allopathic medical schools who have a federally mandated duty to assist qualified students with disabilities. Eligible schools were identified through a registry maintained by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

Respondents identified 1547 students with disabilities (43.3% male), representing 2.7% of the total enrollment and ranging from 0% to 12%. Of these students, 97.7% received accommodations.

ADHD was the most common disability (33.7%), followed by learning disabilities (21.5%) and psychological disabilities (20.0%). Mobility and sensory disabilities were less common.

Meeks LM, Herzer KR. Prevalence of Self-disclosed Disability Among Medical Students in US Allopathic Medical Schools. JAMA. 2016;316(21):2271-2272. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.10544

Saturday, November 19, 2016

AMA Adopts Policies to Support Physician Wellness, Mental Health

On Nov 15, 2016, the AMA announced the following:

AMA Adopts Policies to Support Physician Wellness, Mental Health

ORLANDO, Fla. – The American Medical Association (AMA) adopted new policy today aimed at ensuring medical students and resident and fellow physicians have timely and confidential access to the medical and mental health services they need during their medical training. The new policies will help physicians-in-training maintain their personal health and well-being and reduce burnout so they can provide the highest quality patient care.

“Many physicians-in-training do not seek out treatment for physical, mental health or addiction issues because they are concerned about confidentiality, the possible negative impact that receiving treatment could have on their future career in medicine, or burdening colleagues with extra work,” said AMA Board Member and medical student Omar Z. Maniya. “With a high number of medical students and residents experiencing depression, burnout and suicide, and too many physicians overlooking their own health needs, we must do everything we can to reduce the barriers and stigmas that keep them from receiving care.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Medical Schools' Willingness to Accommodate Medical Students with Sensory and Physical Disabilities

The following article was published in Oct 2016:

1: McKee M, Case B, Fausone M, Zazove P, Ouellette A, Fetters MD. Medical Schools' Willingness to Accommodate Medical Students with Sensory and Physical Disabilities: Ethical Foundations of a Functional Challenge to "Organic" Technical Standards. AMA J Ethics. 2016 Oct 1;18(10):993-1002. doi: 10.1001/journalofethics.2016.18.10.medu1-1610. PubMed PMID: 27780023.


Students with sensory and physical disabilities are underrepresented in medical schools despite the availability of assistive technologies and accommodations. Unfortunately, many medical schools have adopted restrictive "organic" technical standards based on deficits rather than on the ability to do the work. Compelling ethical considerations of justice and beneficence should prompt change in this arena. Medical schools should instead embrace "functional" technical standards that permit accommodations for disabilities and update their admissions policies to promote applications from qualified students with disabilities. Medical schools thus should focus on what students with disabilities can do, rather than what they cannot do, because these students further diversify the health care profession and improve our ability to care for an expanding population of patients with disabilities.

Friday, September 30, 2016

U.S. Medical Schools' Compliance With the Americans With Disabilities Act: Findings From a National Study.

The following article was published in July, 2016:

1: Zazove P, Case B, Moreland C, Plegue MA, Hoekstra A, Ouellette A, Sen A, Fetters MD. U.S. Medical Schools' Compliance With the Americans With Disabilities Act: Findings From a National Study. Acad Med. 2016 Jul;91(7):979-86. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000001087. PubMed PMID: 26796093.


Physician diversity improves care for underserved populations, yet there are few physicians with disabilities. The authors examined the availability of technical standards (TSs) from U.S. medical schools (MD- and DO-granting) and evaluated these relative to intent to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Document analysis was conducted (2012-2014) on U.S. medical schools' TSs for hearing, visual, and mobility disabilities. Primary outcome measures were ease of obtaining TSs, willingness to provide reasonable accommodations, responsibility for accommodations, and acceptability of intermediaries or auxiliary aids.

TSs were available for 161/173 (93%) schools. While 146 (84%) posted these on their Web sites, 100 (58%) were located easily. Few schools, 53 (33%), had TSs specifically supporting accommodating disabilities; 79 (49%) did not clearly state policies, 6 (4%) were unsupportive, and 23 (14%) provided no information. Most schools, 98 (61%), lacked information on responsibility for providing accommodations, 33 (27%) provided accommodations, and 10 (6%) had students assume some responsibility. Approximately 40% allowed auxiliary aids (e.g., motorized scooter), but < 10% allowed intermediaries (e.g., sign language interpreter). Supportive schools were more likely to allow accommodations (P < .001), assume responsibility for accommodations (P < .001), and accept intermediaries (P < .002). DO-granting schools were more supportive for students with mobility disabilities.

Most medical school TSs do not support provision of reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities as intended by the ADA. Further study is needed to understand how schools operationalize TSs and barriers to achieving ADA standards.