Question and Answer Session: on Accommodating Students with Disabilities Enrolled in Medical and Health Science Programs

Tuesday, May 21, 2019
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM Eastern Time Zone


This is a follow-up to the January 15th, 2019 session titled “Accommodating Students with Disabilities Enrolled in Medical and Health Science Programs. There was great interest in the session and a large number of questions were received during and following the Audio Conference. In response, our presenter, Lisa Meeks, will address questions from the January Audio Conference and will respond to questions submitted in advance of this session. If you did not attend the January session please review the archive prior to attending this session.

Continuing Education Recognition Available

Certificate Credit hours
Certificate of Attendance 1.5


Lisa Meeks, Assistant Professor, University of Michigan Medical School Department of Family Medicine

Questions for presenters:

1 Can you provide guidance or suggested resources for accommodation requests for students with mental health problems, like depression and anxiety? For example, we've had students request other faculty graders or schedule changes due to anxiety.
2 You have provided some helpful resources regarding best practices in developing technical standards and related processes for medical education programs. Could you provide any guidance or resources for applied healthcare fields (e.g., OT, PT, SLP), whose technical standards might look a bit different?
3 Occupational therapy educational programs are required to facilitate and track student development of professional behaviors. The faculty at my institution are revising our technical standards and could use clarification on the convergence and divergence of technical standards and professional behavior development. Could you offer any guidance on this?
4 Can you address the faculty and health sciences programs (Nursing, OTA/PTA/Sonography/Medical Lab Tech) using the accreditation bodies as defense of technical standards requiring vision, hearing, lifting, etc. I've asked for documentation from faculty from the accreditating bodies showing that those technical standards are required and I have yet to see this information.
5 All our health sciences programs (Nursing, PTA/OTA/Sonography/Medical Lab Tech) are focused on only admitting students who will be successful. The Sonography department has been 'dinged' by their accreditation organization for not meeting the only 80% success rate for students to continue in the program. I have heard from the other programs that they are expected to have very high success rates of their students (PTA requires 90% placement upon graduation into full-time employment to maintain accreditation). Other than educating the department that having a disability doesn't necessarily mean the student will fail; what suggestions do you have to help the departments look more holistically at their programs and accreditation requirements but maintaining inclusion and non-discrimination based on disability?
6 Please address Essential Skills and perhaps provide samples and suggestions.
7 Please address creating Memorandum of Understanding that colleges would create with facilities who take students for interns, clinicals, etc. There seems to be a fear that if a college asks for ADA compliance for a student, then the facility will not allow students thus the program will have to be eliminated b/c no one will allow a student with a disability to gain experience at their facility.
8 1. Are there suggestions for accommodating students for pop quizzes? 2. Would it be effective to allow students with disabilities to have assistants available to help during difficult requirements in Lab? My concerns is would an assistant be allowed in a real life situation?.
9 Nursing programs are notorious for denying admission to students who cannot perform 100% of tasks that might be assigned to any nurse. But there are MANY jobs nurses can hold, most of which would not require the range of tasks that would present a barrier. Has there been any action to address the reasonableness of this barrier to training and licensing? (Echoing a question above, many faculties seem to blame these barriers on state boards.)
10 Are you aware of (published) research on the extent of barriers to participation in or discrimination against students in health/medical programs?
11 Is there a centralized “toolbox” that might describe accommodations for health/medical students? (Some students may not be sure exactly what to ask for, what supports are available.)
12 Can you discuss enforcement mechanisms available to health/medical students and the time necessary to pursue these mechanisms? (Exhausting a school’s internal, administrative remedies can take over a year creating burdensome and expensive “time out” for students.)
13 Can you suggest resources for health/medical students experiencing discrimination or barriers to participation in health/medical programs? (Question assumes that neither faculty nor the school’s disability coordinator has been supportive or is not able to resolve the need/concern, that waiting on a DOE complaint will take ages (and probably not be successful), that student cannot afford to retain legal counsel and just wants a solution.)

Session Questions

This session is accepting questions from registered users. After you have registered to participate in this session you can submit your questions on your Account Manager page. Please note: the number of questions will be limited and submissions will be closed well before the session starts to provide time to prepare answers.