Need for Prominent Core Curricula Designed and Taught by Persons with Disabilities in All Levels of Medical Education
The need for comprehensive core curricula in medical education regarding the health of persons with disabilities has been identified by disability scholars for many years and was recently reinforced by our research indicating Canadian physicians lack knowledge of the social model of disability, and their legal duty to ensure accommodation for persons with disabilities to have equal access to health. The purpose of the current research is to investigate the existence of core medical education curricula devoted to the health of persons with disabilities and determine whether persons with disabilities were involved as curricular designers and educators. A comprehensive literature search of all academic sites found few papers reporting on such curricula, and the time devoted to these curricula was small. Only one medical school internationally was found to have persons with disabilities playing a major role as curricular designers. Further problematic was that “disability” tended to be portrayed by non-disabled professional actors hired as standardized patients (SPs), and only occasionally by actors with disabilities but in scripted SP roles distant from their lived experience. We contend that if persons with disabilities designed medical curricula, non-disabled SPs would be replaced by persons with disabilities as medical educators, sharing their own lived experiences. Another alternative in replacing professional able-bodied actor SPs is the novel education method of digital storytelling, with disabled persons sharing their lived experiences. Another immediate opportunity exists in Canada in the newly developing competency-based curricula for prominent core competencies to be designed and taught by persons with disabilities.
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