Encouraging workforce diversity- supporting medical students with mobility and sensory disabilities

Tammy Sonn, Angela F. Fleming, Rashmi Bharghava, Sue Cox, Elise N. Everett, Scott C. Graziano, Helen K. Morgan, Shireen Madani Sims, Christopher Morosky, Celeste S. Royce, Jill Sutton, Laura Baecher-Lind

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This article is prepared by the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics Undergraduate Medical Education Committee and provides educators recommendations for optimizing inclusive education for our students with disabilities. Medical educators are increasingly encountering students with disabilities and have the responsibility of ensuring requirements are met. Method: Medical education committee members from the US and Canada reviewed the literature on disabilities in medical student education to identify best practices and key discussion points. An iterative review process was used to determine the contents of an informative paper. Results: Medical schools are required to develop technical standards for admission, retention, and graduation of their students to practice medicine safely and effectively with reasonable accommodation. A review of the literature and obstetrics and gynecology expert opinion formed a practical list of accommodation strategies and administrative steps to assist educators and students. Conclusion: Medical schools must support the inclusion of students with disabilities. We recommend a collaborative approach to the interactive process of determining reasonable and effective accommodations that includes the students, a disability resource professional and faculty as needed. Recruiting and supporting medical students with a disability strengthens the diversity commitment and creates a more inclusive workforce.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION Medical School Education Medical schools have the responsibility to train a diverse physician workforce including those with disabilities. The integration of students with disabilities is important and should be done in a structured and timely manner that maximizes the individual’s abilities and incorporates reasonable accommodations in the clinical learning environment. Though the definition of disability traverses a wide variety of diagnoses, this review highlights sensory and physical disabilities and the various accommodations to facilitate access and successful completion of required objectives.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and rehabilitation
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • accommodations
  • clinical rotation
  • disability
  • learning environment
  • medical school
  • medical student


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