Now is the time: A primer on how to be a disability education champion in your medical school

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2021 Feb 19. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001703. Online ahead of print.


One in four non-institutionalized adults in the United States lives with a disability. People with disabilities have frequent interactions with the medical community and the health care system, yet experience disparities in access and outcomes. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has included disability in its definition of diversity as one of the aspects of patient care that may affect health equity. However, training in the lived experience of disability is not always included in medical education. Physiatrists make excellent disability champions in medical schools, given their training and experience in the care of individuals with disabilities. Here, we describe strategies for physiatrists to increase disability education in medical schools and an overview of standards and tools (Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) standards, Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) standards, International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) language, and the Core Competencies on Disability for Health Care Education published by the Alliance for Disability in Health Care Education) physiatrists can use to facilitate interactions with medical school educational leadership. Specific examples are provided along with a framework to guide the development of disability champions in medical schools.