September 23 2009

Educating Health Care Professionals to Care for Patients With Disabilities

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Medical Humanities and Bioethics (Dr Kirschner) and Medicine and Medical Education (Dr Curry), Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (Dr Kirschner), Chicago, Illinois.

JAMA. 2009;302(12):1334-1335. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1398

The US Surgeon General's Call to Action to Improve the Health and Wellness of Persons With Disabilities1 was released in 2005 on the 15th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The report noted increasing evidence that individuals with disabilities have worse health status than those without disabilities and that resources for persons with disabilities to maintain health, prevent secondary conditions, and optimize wellness are inadequate. The failure of medical education programs to teach concepts of disability was identified as a root cause, and educators were encouraged to “increase knowledge among health care professionals and provide them with tools to screen, diagnose, and treat the whole person with a disability with dignity.”1

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