HealthDay News — According to a research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the prevalence of disability is 2.7% among medical students at US allopathic medical schools.

Lisa Meeks, PhD, from the University of California in San Francisco, and Kurt Herzer, PhD, 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.

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Overall, 91 of the 133 eligible medical schools completed the survey, and 89 reported complete data and were included in analyses. The researchers identified 1547 students with disabilities, representing 2.7% of the total enrollment (range, 0.0 to 12.0%). 

A total of 97.7% of these students received accommodations. The most common disability was attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; 33.7%), followed by learning disabilities and psychological disabilities (21.5 and 20.0%, 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.


Meeks LM and Herzer KR. “Prevalence of Self-disclosed Disability Among Medical Students in US Allopathic Medical Schools.” JAMA. 2016. 316(21): 2271-2272. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.10544. [Epub ahead of print]

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