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Interventions to Teach Medical Students about Disability

A Systematic Search and Review

Ioerger, Michael, PhD, MPH; Flanders, Reed M., BA; French-Lawyer, Jeremy R., MPH; Turk, Margaret A., MD SUNY Upstate Medical University

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: February 5, 2019 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001154
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Historically, medical students have received little training about working with patients with disability, but there is now a greater recognition of the need to educate medical students in this domain. The goals of this review were to define the body of literature and determine effective strategies for teaching medical students about disability. A systematic search protocol executed across six databases identified journal articles reporting interventions implemented to teach disability to medical students. Seventy-seven articles spanning 1960-2018 met inclusion criteria. The majority of articles reported objectives related to increasing knowledge and skills, or changing attitudes. However, only half included evaluations for all of their stated objectives in those domains. Additionally, few articles utilized longitudinal evaluations, resulting in the majority of articles basing conclusions on immediate post-test evaluations. Overall, the reported interventions exhibit a high risk of potential bias, with only 10% of the articles receiving a global quality rating of “good.” Thus, while several articles have reported educational interventions to teach medical students about disability, the high risk of bias, incomplete reporting, and limitations of the evaluations prevent evidence-based determinations of effective strategies for teaching medical students about disability. The findings highlight ways to improve future studies in this domain.

Michael Ioerger, PhD, MPH, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY 13244, USA; Reed M. Flanders, B.A., Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY 13244, USA; Jeremy R. French-Lawyer, MPH, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY 13244, USA; Margaret A. Turk, MD, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY 13244, USA.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Michael Ioerger, 304 Jacobsen Hall, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY 13210. Phone: 315-464-4782. Fax: 315-464-8674. E-mail: ioergerm@upstate.edu.

Funding: No funding was received for this work.

Disclosures: The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

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