Dr. Susan Duan leads the DGSOM disability curriculum development. As part of this effort, Dr. Duan and team develop and integrate disability-focused curricula into the DGSOM student curriculum. As of 2022, our team has incorporated the following disability curricula sessions:

  •  MS1 Year:
    • Base Camp: Crip Camp Documentary Panel & Discussion, LGBTQ+ and Disability Population Health 
    • Foundations of Practice: Discrimination and Stigma in Healthcare, Intersectionality of Trauma and Disability, Language Justice: Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing

We are currently working with DGSOM faculty to integrate disability curricula into MS2-4 as well as residency programs.

Disability and Chronic Illness Student Group (DCI)

DCI is a medical student driven group that works with our faculty and staff to promote our research and curricula activities. The mission of DCI is to foster a community of individuals with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses, as well as their allies, to promote justice, diversity, and inclusion.

DCI is focused on five primary goals to enhance advocacy and accessibility:

  1. Community for trainees and faculty with disability and chronic illness
  2. Accessibility of resources and campus
  3. EDI and representation
  4. Admissions and curriculum inclusion
  5. Quality and inclusive patient care.

Student Members:  Leane Nasrallah, Zina Jawadi, Lauren Taiclet, Sam Hulbert, Alex Keir, Kasey Fitzsimmons, Charlotte Poplawski, Tiffany Fan

Faculty Member:  Alice Kuo

National Medical School Research Collaborations

UCLA DCI is collaborating with medical students across the country who are committed to enhancing medical education related to neurodiversity, disability, and chronic illness. In the context of these efforts, we are partnering with medical students at the University of Michigan in the development and pilot-testing of an original medical student survey.

Our survey evaluates medical student knowledge, perspectives, and experiences related to disability and the extent to which disability-related topics are—or should be—covered in medical schools. It is our hope that the findings from this work will spur enhancements to medical curricula across the country.

We look forward to partnering with more institutions in the conceptualization and implementation of research projects. If you and/or your institution is interested in collaborating, please reach out to Emily Hotez, Ph.D., [email protected].

Development of Continuing Medical Education (CME)

According to the research, many physicians and other healthcare providers lack the training and education required to effectively support neurodivergent, disability, and chronic illness populations. To address this gap, we are currently developing and evaluating an original virtual Continuing Medical Education (CME) course that aims to enhance healthcare providers’ capacities related to supporting these groups. Currently, we are developing and pilot-testing a course entitled, “Promoting Vaccine Access, Uptake, and Confidence for Neurodivergent Patients.”

This course will address the following critical topics:

  1. Lived experiences related to stigma and social determinants of the health;
  2. Promising approaches for health-promotion and vaccine uptake for neurodivergent populations in healthcare clinics;
  3. Strategies for effective, inclusive, and accessible health communication.

We look forward to the opportunity to build on this work and create additional curricula for practicing physicians and healthcare providers.