disability; healthcare disparities; delivery of healthcare; intellectual disability; disabled persons; disabled children; persons with mental disabilities; developmental disabilities; social discrimination; medical ethics; medical education; graduate medical education; patient care


Disability Studies | Internal Medicine | Interprofessional Education | Medical Education | Primary Care


Disability is extremely common in the United States with 26% of adults identifying as having some type of disability. Oftentimes, people with disabilities need to access health care services frequently in order to receive adequate care and support. However, despite this need, medical students receive limited, if any, education about people with disabilities and how to appropriately provide medical care and interact with them. This lack of education exacerbates health care disparities experienced by people with disabilities. This article highlights these disparities as well as the history of disability and health care. Current advancements in medical education regarding people with disabilities are reviewed with suggestions for medical schools looking to improve or begin programming focused on people with disabilities. By covering the history and current difficulties experienced by people with disabilities accessing health care, as well as the best practices for educating medical students, this article takes steps to fill an important gap in the literature.