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Young, KM, Newell, KG.


Disability is an aspect of diversity that often receives less attention in healthcare and medical education than other aspects of diversity, such as gender or race. Approximately one in four Americans has some type of disability, and individuals with disabilities have less access to healthcare, greater dissatisfaction with their healthcare, and report being in poorer health than individuals without a disability. Although many factors likely contribute to these disparities, physician perception and understanding of disability have been examined as potential pathways that influence health inequity. It is important to incorporate disability as a form of diversity in family medicine education to train physicians that provide excellent care to patients with disabilities and work toward equitable healthcare for them. In this article, we review definitions and data related to disability. We examine disparities and forms of stigmatization toward individuals with disabilities. We then present scenarios in the context of family medicine residency education that involve stigmatization of a person with a disability. Following each scenario, we identify the stigmatizing problem and its potential impact on the individual with a disability. In addition, we outline a potential intervention as an individual witnessing this scenario, and an alternative, non-stigmatizing approach to the scenario. Finally, we present proposed core competencies on disability for health care education and potential strategies to incorporate these competencies into family medicine curricula.


Young KM, Newell KG. Disability as Diversity: Educational Opportunities for Family Medicine. Int J Psychiatry Med. 2022 Sep;57(5):387-395. doi: 10.1177/00912174221112829. Epub 2022 Aug 11. PMID: 35952410.

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