Caring for Patients with Disabilities

Early in her first year at Geisel, Evette Ronner ’23 mused about whether or not she would find disability-related content in the medical school’s curriculum. Her interest in caring for patients with disabilities was both personal—she has a special-needs sister—and professional. If content was minimal, as she suspected, there may be an opportunity for improvement.

Meeting with Adam Weinstein, MD, co-director of On Doctoring, to talk about the curriculum, her suspicions were confirmed. Ronner and three of her classmates began working to integrate content around caring for patients with disabilities into the curriculum.

“When Evette approached me last year with an interest in what and how we teach students about caring for patients with physical and/or cognitive disability—we looked at where content already existed and discussed where and when it could be enhanced,” Weinstein says. They decided the best approach would be a defined curriculum integration, rather than creating isolated learning sessions.

Ronner’s initial idea took shape when she and Linda Morris ’23 partnered on a Making a Difference (MaD) project in the first-year course Patients and Populations: Improving Health and Healthcare that encourages students to address issues that compromise the health of communities and populations, and to tackle problems that may reduce the effectiveness and value of healthcare.

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