Monday, December 30, 2013

Does your medical school have a Disability Officer?

Every medical school has an administrative department that deals with students who have disabilities. However, you may need to check with your medical school to see if it has a formal Disability Officer. In many schools, the Human Resources department handles issues pertaining to physical or learning disabilities.

At Mount Sinai, they have a Disability Officer and here is their description:
The Disability Officer works with all Icahn School of Medicine students in both the Medical School and the Graduate School to facilitate equal access for students with disabilities by coordinating reasonable accommodations through a variety of support services (ie: access modification, learning related technology, extended test times). 
The goal of Mount Sinai's Disability Services is to provide a physically and educationally accessible educational environment so that each student is viewed on the basis of ability, not disability. Individually designed accommodation plans and services are determined based on the documented needs of each student in conjunction with their program requirements and are created to match the specific disability-related need of each student with those program requirements in mind.
You can read more here.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Medical students with learning disabilities

What types of resources are available for medical students who have learning disabilities? There are not many published papers or studies evaluating various strategies to accommodate medical students in the United States. In Asian medical schools, public and professional awareness about learning disabilities remains low, supportive provisions are limited, legislations are inadequate, data are scarce, and equal-opportunity/widening-participation policies are not implemented effectively in the HE sector. Here is a 2010 paper discussing those issues in Asian countries: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3643129/

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Statistics on the number of physicians with a disability

Unfortunately, there are no good statistics on the number of physicians with a disability. An American Medical News article from January 17, 2005 states:
Statistics on the number of physicians with a disability who are practicing medicine are scarce. A study published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, based on data from 1996, estimated that 0.2% of medical school graduates have disabilities.
The article goes on to say:
Most physicians who are practicing with a disability acquired that disability during their career. Despite the enactment of the American with Disabilities Act in 1990, which prohibits discrimination against a qualified applicant who has disabilities, few students with disabilities enter the profession. In part, this is because medical students must be able to perform the essential functions of being a doctor, and each school determines for itself what these criteria are.
We hope that in the near future, we will have more information so that we can have accurate statistics to reflect the number of physicians who have a disability.

You may wish to read this article from The University of Medicine and Health Sciences, St. Kitts titled, "Doctors & Diversity: Disability Issues and U.S. Laws in Medicine."