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Title: The good student or the good patient? The barriers encountered by undergraduate medical students with disabilities at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine
Authors: Belanger, Rachel
Issue Date: 24-Aug-2021
Abstract: The American Association of Medical College’s (AAMC) Lived Experience report was released in March 2018 with hopes of broadening the diversity of medical students to include more of those with disabilities (Meeks & Jain, 2018). The authors hoped to generate discussion and study the lived experiences of current medical students, residents and practicing physicians with disabilities to learn about the barriers and supports that they have and continue to encounter along their journeys in medicine. In response to the Meeks & Jain (2018) publication, the purpose of this study was to replicate their study with the research question “What are the barriers encountered by undergraduate medical students with self-identified disabilities at one Northern Ontario medical school?”. The Lived Experience Project provides a unique opportunity to learn about, and compare the experiences of, participants in this study to medical students at one medical school in Northern Ontario (Meeks & Jain, 2018). In doing so, the climate and culture of this school and how this affects the treatment and education of students with disabilities, including the barriers they face in the academic accommodation process, in medical environments and throughout medical school as a whole were explored. A qualitative descriptive study design was used. Data was collected using an initial demographics-based survey followed by a semi-structured interview. Interviews were conducted in person or by telephone. Data was transcribed and analysed using Braun & Clarke Thematic Analysis (2013). It was found that the participants of this study found barriers directly associated with their medical education in addition to barriers indirectly associated with their medical education and finally, barriers outside of medical school. Supports in the lives of participants were also identified as a theme in the current research, suggesting a positive impact in the lives of medical students with disabilities. No barriers specific to being a student in Northern Ontario arose, which may be in part to the nature of the sample and small sample size. Implications for this research include reviews of accommodation policies, revision of technical standards at a national and institutional level as well as strengthened communication between the student, the medical school, faculty, and administration.
Appears in Collections:Interdisciplinary Health / Santé interdisciplinaire - Master's Theses
Master's Theses

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