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Episode 95: ICAM Panel: “Breaking Barriers: Redefining Technical Standards for Disability Inclusion in Canadian Medical Education”

DocsWithDisabilities

Release Date: 06/20/2024

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Interviewer: Lisa Meeks

Interviewees: Rachel Giddings, Julia Hanes, Cheryl Holmes

Description: 

In this special live recording of the "Docs with Disabilities" podcast, host Lisa Meeks interviews medical professionals and educators who have worked to transform technical standards in Canadian medical education to be more inclusive of individuals with disabilities.

The panel discusses the shift from restrictive technical standards to core competencies, highlighting the importance of diversity-affirming frameworks over mere accommodations. They share personal stories and insights on the impact of these changes on medical learners and the broader healthcare system. The panel delves into the motivation behind their critical evaluation of outdated technical standards and explains how the project intentionally included individuals with disabilities. This initiative, which expanded across Canada, has garnered multiple endorsements, including from the AFMC and the Medical Deans of Canada.

Members of the committee meticulously re-envisioned Technical Standards for Canadian Medical Education, offering a comprehensive redefinition of the functional abilities required for medical training. This new document aims to dismantle obstacles and create a more inclusive admissions process for Canadian medical schools.

Listeners will gain valuable insights into the committee’s findings and recommendations, providing admissions teams with guidance on best practices and key messaging. The panel discussion explores the driving force behind this crucial initiative and examines the potential impact of the final document endorsed by the Board of the AFMC.

Discover how the document offers exemplar Functional Abilities for Students Entering and Completing Medical School, paving the way for more meaningful opportunities and greater disability inclusion in Canadian medical education.

Transcript

Resources: https://icam-cimu.ca/ 

Keywords: technical standards, medical education, doctors with disabilities, ableism, healthcare, health policy, Canadian healthcare, disability inclusion

Bios: Dr. Julia Hanes (she/her) is a second-year resident in the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of British Columbia. She completed her medical degree at the University of Ottawa and her undergraduate degree in Health Sciences at McMaster University. Throughout her academic pursuits Dr. Hanes has been a keen advocate for improved inclusion and accessibility. Dr. Hanes spearheaded a program to increase accessibility in the intramural sport and recreation program, which included a longitudinal sitting volleyball intramural program. While at medical school Dr. Hanes drafted and advocated for an accessibility policy for all of the Aesculapian Society events, which included all social events, orientation events and interest group activities. This accessibility policy has now been spread to several universities across the country and discussed at institutions across the US.  Dr. Hanes is an active member of the Canadian Association of Physicians with Disabilities (CAPD). Through this group Dr. Hanes is leading a project to develop a national curriculum on disability. She has co-authored documents to help disabled student’s transition from undergraduate studies to medical school, from pre-clerkship to clerkship and clerkship to residency. As a disabled student herself navigating often inaccessible educational environments, Dr. Hanes has paved a pathway for students following her to tread through. Her self-advocacy efforts prompted the creation of curb cuts, push button installation, swapping of doorknobs to handles, height adjustable tables, and more. Beyond her academic achievements, Dr. Hanes has done research in the field of childhood disability, including work to improve the quality of care and treatment of children and youth with disabilities and their families. Dr. Hanes is a passionate disability advocate and is eager to share how her experiences of ableism in medical education shapes her perspective and her advocacy efforts.

 

Dr. Holmes has an MD from UBC in 1984. After ten years of family practice, she enrolled in Internal Medicine at UBC, went on to complete a Critical Care fellowship at UBC and has been a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada since 1999. From 2001 to July 2018, Dr. Holmes practiced critical care medicine at Kelowna General Hospital where she was involved in clinical education of medical students, residents, and fellows in the ICU. In her current role as Associate Dean Undergraduate Medical Education, she works with senior leadership at all sites of UBC to provide overall curricular oversight of all four years of the UGME program. As Head of the UBC Division of Critical Care, she is responsible for academic leadership of clinical care, education, and research in critical care. Dr. Holmes serves as Vice Chair of the UGME Deans’; Council for the Association of the Faculties of Medicine in Canada (AFMC) and collaborates on initiatives such as the Culture of Academic Medicine Initiative, the Okanagan Charter Collaborative for the AFMC and is Chairing the “Re-envisioning Technical Standards in Canadian Medical Education” Working Group. Dr. Holmes also serves on the Committee for the Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS) and holds the position of Chair of the CACMS Standards Subcommittee. She is on the Board of the Canadian Residency Matching Service (CaRMS) and serves as Chair of the CaRMS Board EDI Subcommittee. Through these roles, Dr. Holmes is committed to cultivating respectful, compassionate, and health-promoting environments in academic medicine, where equity, decolonization, diversity, inclusivity, accessibility, belonging (EDDIAB) and social justice are prioritized. Dr. Holmes’ academic interests include promoting learner wellbeing, fostering inclusive and accessible learning environments, social accountability of medical schools, and facilitating the professional identity formation of health professionals. In 2015, she received the Canadian Association for Medical Education (CAME) Certificate of Merit for her outstanding contributions.

 Rachel Giddings is a second-year medical student at the University of British Columbia (UBC), where she previously earned a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry. Making medical education more accessible to students with disabilities is a particular interest of hers. Her current research is focused on the technical standards currently utilized by medical schools across Canada. In addition, Rachel is a member of the “Re-envisioning Technical Standards in Canadian Medical Education” Working Group.

Produced by:Dr. Lisa Meeks 

Audio editor: Jacob Feeman

Digital Media: Katie Sullivan