Thursday, December 8, 2011

VA “Badges for Vets” Contest

Goal: Help Vets Get Jobs

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs today announced the Badges for Vets contest for creating digital “badge” systems to help Veterans translate their military skills into civilian jobs.

“We are looking for ways to make it easy for employers to see Veterans for who they are: highly qualified individuals in any job applicant pool,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “We want to help good jobs find Veterans and help Veterans find good jobs.”

A “digital badge” recognizes skills obtained through non-traditional learning, such as work-related training, online courses, and experience. Learners display their badges across the Web, resulting in jobs or formal credit.

“Many recently discharged Veterans earned employable skills during their time in uniform,” said Jonah Czerwinski, director of the VA Innovations Initiative that sponsors the new contest. “They represent high-quality training and real-life experience. We’re looking for new ways for employers to easily identify Veterans who have this training and this experience to fill good jobs in the private sector.”

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

HHS and FDA Virtual Hiring Event for Veterans & People with Disabilities

Last week, the HHS and FDA held a virtual hiring event for veterans and people with disabilities who are interested in working at the HHS or FDA. If you missed that virtual event, you can still get information to apply for these government jobs.

Find the jobs on the FDA Job Center - Information on the numerous positions were accepting resumes for during the Virtual Hiring Event. These positions are located throughout the nation at FDA & HHS including the Centers and Operating Divisions.

The FDA's Job Center is designed to provide candidates with all the information they need to successfully apply to available positions at HHS and FDA. In the chart below we have indicated the Occupational Groups and Series that we numerous positions to fill and are actively recruiting for the Virtual Hiring Event on Nov 3rd.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recognizes the importance and difficulty for veterans and people with disabilities to find suitable employment despite their education, experience, and skill. HHS and FDA are committed to becoming a model employer, ensuring that qualified veterans and individuals with disabilities have access to employment opportunities within our department.

More information can be found here.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Junior doctors’ experiences of personal illness: a qualitative study

Here is an interesting article in the scientific literature titled, "Junior doctors’ experiences of personal illness: a qualitative study."

Objectives  Professional status and working arrangements can inhibit doctors from acknowledging and seeking care for their own ill health. Research identifies that a culture of immunity to illness within the medical profession takes root during training. What happens when trainee doctors become unwell during their formative period of education and training? What support do they receive and how do they perceive that the experience of ill health affects their training trajectory? These research questions were developed by a multidisciplinary team of researchers and health professionals, who adopted a qualitative approach to investigate the experiences of personal illness among trainees in their Foundation Programme (FP) years.

Methods  Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight FP trainees from the Severn Deanery in southwest England who had experienced significant illness. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to conduct and analyse the interviews, resulting in a comprehensive list of master themes. This paper reports an interpretative analysis of the themes of Support, Illness Experience, Crossing the Line, Medical Culture, Stigma and Disclosure.

Results  Ineffective communication within the medical education and employment system underpins many of the difficulties encountered by trainees who are unwell. Coping style plays a key role in predicting how trainees experience support during and after their illness, although this may be influenced by their particular diagnoses. The barriers to disclosure of their illnesses are discussed within the context of mobilising and maintaining support. Concern about the impact of missing training as a result of ill health appears to be significant in the transmitting of an ethos of invulnerability within the medical culture.

Conclusions  Suggestions to improve support procedures for trainees who are unwell include the provision of greater flexibility within the rotation system along with independent pastoral support. Promoting the importance of disclosing significant illness as early as possible might go some way towards challenging the culture of invulnerability to illness that prevails among doctors.

Fox FE, Doran NJ, Rodham KJ, Taylor GJ, Harris MF, O'Connor M. Junior doctors' experiences of personal illness: a qualitative study. Med Educ. 2011 Oct 25. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2011.04083.x.

View the abstract here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

The history of NDEAM (National Disability Employment Awareness Month) began in 1945, with “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." It has since grown to a month long celebration of the contributions of workers with disabilities.

"Return on investment means hiring the right talent. Workers with disabilities represent all skills sets and are ready to get the job done,” stated Kathleen Martinez, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy. This year’s theme, Profit by Investing in Workers with Disabilities, promotes the valuable contributions people with disabilities make to America’s workplaces and economy.

In celebration of NDEAM, Disability.Blog will invite employers to share their best practices for recruiting, hiring and retaining individuals with disabilities. In addition, the photographs and profiles of the eight No Boundaries Photo Project participants will be shared on the blog. You can also read posts from last year's No Boundaries Employment Series, which profiled individuals with disabilities who have found success in their chosen fields.

Learn more here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Managing Disabled Physicians on Your Medical Staff

There is an article on HealthLeaders Media titled, "Strategies for Managing Disabled Physicians." The author starts by reminding the readers that even if you do not have a physician with a disability on your medical staff, you may encounter one someday. This is particularly true given that older physicians are more susceptible to certain disabilities. Hence, as physicians age and continue to work past the age of 60 or 65, we are more likely to encounter physicians who may have limited mobility, difficulty with hearing, etc.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Will EHRs help physicians who have disabilities?

Electronic health records (EHRs) are being implemented all over the country in medical offices and in the hospital environment. Physicians who have disabilities may benefit from these computerized charts as long as the proper assistive technologies are available.

Assistive technology or adaptive technology (AT) is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them. AT promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to or changed methods of interacting with the technology needed to accomplish such tasks.

When it comes to computers, AT can replace the keyboard and mouse with alternative devices such as the LOMAK keyboard, trackballs, joysticks, graphics tablets, touchpads, touch screens, foot mice, a microphone with speech recognition software, sip-and-puff input, switch access, and vision-based input devices, such as eye trackers which allow the user to control the mouse with their eyes.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Advice for new medical interns and residents regarding disability insurance

Here's some advice for all the new medical interns and residents who have recently started working in hospitals: Get disability insurance when you complete your residency.

Most young people don't think about disability insurance. If you're finishing residency or fellowship, you're probably not thinking about the possibility of facing a disability.

Build it into your budget. Set aside the funds to pay for disability insurance when you have the chance. I have met too many young physicians who developed disabilities and they did not have any type of disability insurance.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Doctors with Disabilities

Here is a useful resource page for doctors living in the UK:

BMJ Careers
BMJ Careers have printed a Training & Working with Disabilities career focus information guide. This document has a collection of articles from a variety of sources. Email: for a copy.

Hope for Disabled Doctors - Help in Obtaining Professional Equality
Hope for Doctors was created by a doctor with a visual impairment. It was established to try to prevent others having to struggle for support, and to provide a sign-posting service direct to relevant services and advice.

British Medical Association
The BMA has a section on their website for health professionals with disabilities (Click Here) which includes a section on support, advice and self-help groups.

They have also produced the following document "Disability equality in the medical profession" which you can download as a pdf. Click here

Association of Disabled Professionals
The ADP was set up in 1971 to support disabled individuals and provide a forum to share both experiences and problems. You can find out more about ADP at the following link

You may also find of interest our Well Being pages

The Peninsula Deanery also offers Counselling, Mentoring and Coaching. Information regarding these services can be found by clicking here

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What are "Reasonable Accommodations" for physicians with disabilities?

The definition of a "Reasonable Accommodation" is a topic that has been debated for many years. For physicians with disabilities, the hospital or clinic may need to be modified significantly. Now that we're in a digital era, the issue of computer accommodations is becoming more important since medical records are going to electronic records.

Most electronic health record (EHR) systems operate with a keyboard and  mouse. Some are navigated through touch.

As health care becomes more digital, what are "reasonable accommodations" for physicians with disabilities? What are the factors the government needs to consider in the setting of the The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hiring People With Disabilities Made Simple

The Office of Personnel Management has created a series of quick training videos on a range of subjects to help you achieve your mission and important recruitment, hiring and diversity goals.

Click here to view the presentation titled, "Hiring People With Disabilities Made Simple"

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Federal Disability Job Fair - June 9

The U.S. Department of Labor in partnership with The Federal Executive Board will hold a Job Fair for people with disabilities from 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. on June 9, 2011 in Richardson, TX. Two sessions will each present 'How to Apply “Schedule A” Authority in the Federal Government?' and 'Employment and Training Programs and Career Websites.' For more information, contact Blas Rueda-Caraballo at (972) 850-4459 or or click here (PDF)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Losses (AMPHL)

The Association of Medical Professionals With Hearing Losses, abbreviated as “AMPHL,” provides information, promotes advocacy and mentorship, and creates a network for individuals with hearing loss interested in or working in health care fields.

AMPHL was founded in 2000 by individuals who recognized the profound need to address issues surrounding their hearing loss as members of health care fields.

AMPHL allows deaf/hard of hearing health care professionals and students to give and receive support from each other regarding obstacles faced and solutions to those challenges.

AMPHL helps educate the colleagues and instructors of deaf/hard of hearing health care professionals and students.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Medical students with learning disabilities

Recently, we've had the opportunity to communicate with a number of medical students who have learning disabilities. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about learning disabilities:
Learning disability (sometimes called a learning disorder or learning difficulty), is a classification including several disorders in which a person has difficulty learning in a typical manner, usually caused by an unknown factor or factors. The unknown factor is the disorder that affects the brain's ability to receive and process information. This disorder can make it problematic for a person to learn as quickly or in the same way as someone who is not affected by a learning disability. People with a learning disability have trouble performing specific types of skills or completing tasks if left to figure things out by themselves or if taught in conventional ways.
There are a number of different conditions that may impact one's learning ability. Here's another interesting point that's made in this article:
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is often studied in connection with learning disabilities, but it is not actually included in the standard definitions of learning disabilities. An individual with ADHD may struggle with learning, but he or she can often learn adequately once successfully treated for the ADHD. A person can have ADHD but not learning disabilities or have learning disabilities without having ADHD. The conditions can co-occur.
Regardless of whether ADHD is included in the standard definitions of learning disabilities, it's important to provide students with the necessary resources and support to survive medical school.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

New website:

You can now find the Society of Physicians with Disabilities on our new URL:
Please make sure to change your bookmarks.

The Society of Physicians with Disabilities is a group within the Society of Healthcare Professionals with Disabilities.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Depression in Medical School

Are medical students more prone to depression? Is the stress of medical school too burdensome? Why do medical students get depressed?

Over the years, I've spoken with a number of medical students who suffered from depression. When my wife and I were in medical school, we were both under tremendous stress. Plus, we were sleep deprived. Now, add the fact that we were treating dying patients, very sick individuals, and grieving family members. Does that seem like a recipe for depression?

Medical school can be a very difficult experience, both mentally and emotionally. When I was in medical school, I remember dealing with my first patient who died in the hospital. I also remember performing CPR on a dying patient. I had to remove myself from my emotions so that I could focus on performing chest compressions on a patient who no longer had a pulse. 

The majority of US medical schools offer robust mental health services for medical students, but a number of them do not. Therefore, students who recognize signs of depression in themselves or in others should not hesitate to seek professional help. Depression can be a disability.  Make sure to seek help if you think you're depressed.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thank you to those who responded to assist paraplegic students applying to medical school

We want to thank those of you who responded to our earlier request about assisting paraplegic students who are applying to medical school. We appreciate your willingness to be a resource and to encourage those who are aspiring to work in the medical field.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Paraplegic students pursuing medical school

We are currently trying to assist several students who are paraplegic and applying for medical school. We are looking for physicians, medical students, or others who may be able to provide any counsel or advice to these students. Please contact us. Thank you.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tax benefits for organizations that hire physicians with disabilities

This information is from the IRS website:

Businesses accommodating people with disabilities may qualify for some of the following tax credits and deductions. More detailed information may be found in the IRS publications referenced.

Disabled Access Credit

The Disabled Access Credit provides a non-refundable credit for small businesses that incur expenditures for the purpose of providing access to persons with disabilities. An eligible small business is one that that earned $1 million or less or had no more than 30 full time employees in the previous year; they may take the credit each and every year they incur access expenditures. Refer to Form 8826, Disabled Access Credit (PDF), for information about eligible expenditures.

Barrier Removal Tax Deduction

The Architectural Barrier Removal Tax Deduction encourages businesses of any size to remove architectural and transportation barriers to the mobility of persons with disabilities and the elderly. Businesses may claim a deduction of up to $15,000 a year for qualified expenses for items that normally must be capitalized. Businesses claim the deduction by listing it as a separate expense on their income tax return. Also, businesses may use the Disabled Tax Credit and the architectural/transportation tax deduction together in the same tax year, if the expenses meet the requirements of both sections. To use both, the deduction is equal to the difference between the total expenditures and the amount of the credit claimed.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Disability Discrimination

Disability discrimination occurs when an employer or other entity covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, or the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, treats a qualified individual with a disability who is an employee or applicant unfavorably because she has a disability.

Disability discrimination also occurs when a covered employer or other entity treats an applicant or employee less favorably because she has a history of a disability (such as cancer that is controlled or in remission) or because she is believed to have a physical or mental impairment that is not transitory (lasting or expected to last six months or less) and minor (even if she does not have such an impairment).

The law requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee or job applicant with a disability, unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense for the employer ("undue hardship").

The law also protects people from discrimination based on their relationship with a person with a disability (even if they do not themselves have a disability). For example, it is illegal to discriminate against an employee because her husband has a disability.

Learn more here.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Campaign for Disability Employment "I Can" PSA

The Campaign for Disability Employment is a collaborative effort to promote positive employment outcomes for people with disabilities by encouraging employers and others to recognize the value and talent they bring to the workplace.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Is advanced age a "disability" for physicians?

As physicians get older, they may lose their ability to practice medicine before they're ready to formally retire. Make sure to read this story about older physicians who are losing their ability to practice medicine. Is old age becoming a "disability" for surgeons and physicians?

Monday, February 28, 2011

Re-framing disability: portraits from the Royal College of Physicians

The RCP is hosting a free exhibition exploring historical portraits of disabled people held within our collections, taking place from 14 February to 8 July 2011. This film features27 disabled participants from across the UK who came together to discuss the historical portraits and their own identities and lives.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sham Peer Review?

Are you familiar with the concept of a "sham peer review?" Have you lost hospital privileges? Maybe you even lost your job. Perhaps you've felt that other physicians or the hospitals were discriminating against you. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about sham peer review:

Sham peer review or malicious peer review is a name given to the abuse of a medical peer review process to attack a doctor for personal or other non-medical reasons.[1] The American Medical Association conducted an investigation of medical peer review in 2007 and concluded that while it is easy to allege misconduct, proven cases of malicious peer review are rare.[2]

Those who maintain that sham peer review is a pervasive problem suggest that the Healthcare Quality Improvement Act (HCQIA) of 1986 allows sham reviews by granting significant immunity from liability to doctors and others who participate in peer reviews. This immunity extends to investigative activities as well as to any associated peer review hearing, whether or not it leads to a disciplinary (or other) action.

1 Roland Chalifoux, Jr (2005). "So What Is a Sham Peer Review?". Medscape General Medicine 7 (4): 47. PMID 16614669. PMC 1681729.
2 "Inappropriate Peer Review. Report of the Board of Trustees of the American Medical Association."

Monday, February 7, 2011

How many physicians have disability insurance?

The other day, I was speaking with a number of physicians about disability insurance. Someone happened to ask, "how many practicing physicians have disability insurance?" The group began discussing various benefit packages and they concluded that physicians who are employed by hospitals, academic centers, and other large organizations have access to nice disability insurance options. In contrast, many physicians who are in private practice or in small groups are not given many options for disability insurance.

It seems like so many physicians are not thinking about the possibility of needing disability insurance. Perhaps we don't want to think about our own fragility. Maybe we don't want to face the chance that we will get struck with illness or get involved in a serious accident. I've known many younger physicians who are now disabled and a number of them did not have any disability insurance because they were not informed during medical school about the need for disability insurance. .

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Re-framing disability: portraits from the Royal College of Physicians

Re-framing disability: portraits from the Royal College of Physicians

An exhibition exploring four centuries of hidden history with responses from disabled people today

Visit the exhibition from the 14 February–8 July 2011


Royal College of Physicians
11 St Andrews Place
Regent’s Park

Contact us

Tel: 020 3075 1543

Visiting hours

Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm (booking advisable, groups of three or more people by appointment only). Call 020 3075 1543 or email

1 March, 11 May, 7 June: Late night opening 6pm–8pm

Including a free 30-minute guided tour of the RCP’s grade one listed building and collections at 6.30pm. BSL-interpreted tour 11 May. No booking needed.

16 April: Saturday opening 10am–2pm

Including a free tour (as above) at 11.30am. No booking needed

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Part-time jobs for disabled physicians

I recently heard from a disabled physician who found a part-time non-clinical job with a growing company. If you're looking for some part-time employment and you have a physical disability, perhaps you'll find some useful information by visiting

There are a number of jobs that may be suitable for disabled physicians who have the ability to use a computer.  It's important to brush up on basic computer skills so that you can improve your work efficiency.
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