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Prevalence of Disability 2.7 Percent at U.S. Medical Schools

Most common disability is ADHD followed by learning disabilities and psychological disabilities


WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence of disability is 2.7 percent among medical students at U.S. allopathic medical schools, according to a research letter published in the Dec. 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a theme issue of medical education.

Lisa M. Meeks, Ph.D., from the University of California in San Francisco, and Kurt R. Herzer, Ph.D., from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, examined the prevalence of all disabilities and the accommodations in use at allopathic medical schools. An electronic, web-based survey was sent to institutionally designated disability administrators from December 2014 through February 2016.

Overall, 91 of the 133 eligible medical schools completed the survey, and 89 reported complete data and were included in analyses. The researchers identified 1,547 students with disabilities, representing 2.7 percent of the total enrollment (range, 0 to 12 percent). A total of 97.7 percent of these students received accommodations. The most common disability was attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; 33.7 percent), followed by learning disabilities and psychological disabilities (21.5 and 20.0 percent, respectively). Mobility and sensory disabilities were seen less frequently.

"The preponderance of students with ADHD, learning disabilities, and psychological disabilities suggests that these disability subtypes should be included in future research efforts, such as studies assessing the performance of appropriately accommodated students," the authors write.

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