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cnd.8295

Applying as a Student With a Disability

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Hello,

 

As you may know, some Canadian medical schools require applicants to have been enrolled in a full-course load. Others, such as McMaster, do not.

 

However, I temporarily had to take on a reduced course load, due to my disability, and have since resumed a full-course load, earning a very high average.

 

Does anyone know what the procedure is for applying for an exemption from the full-course load requirement (in the case of students with a recognized disability) that is in place at some universities? On a related note, has anyone applied to medical school as a student with a disability, and is declaration of disability status on the application form disadvantageous?

 

Thanks in advance.

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If you have official documentation re: your illness, it shouldn't be a problem. I would contact admissions offices to learn more about the specific paperwork involved in the process. I'm sure they'd be understanding and not hold it against you.

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If you have official documentation re: your illness, it shouldn't be a problem. I would contact admissions offices to learn more about the specific paperwork involved in the process. I'm sure they'd be understanding and not hold it against you.

 

I think it depends on what the disability is. Reading the original post, it sounds like the person still has a disability. I agree that they wouldn't hold it against an applicant if studies were impacted by a past event; a current disability might be different.

 

As we all know, there are lots of physical, mental and emotional demands on a physician, so they will have to determine if the disability would have an impact or not.

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I think it depends on what the disability is. Reading the original post, it sounds like the person still has a disability. I agree that they wouldn't hold it against an applicant if studies were impacted by a past event; a current disability might be different.

 

As we all know, there are lots of physical, mental and emotional demands on a physician, so they will have to determine if the disability would have an impact or not.

 

Yeah, for sure. I don't know what the psych standards are (although at U of A, we signed some form declaring that we are mentally fit for med school/medical practice on one of our first days), but the physical standards are fairly well-outlined, and the admissions office would be able to provide them. The greatest extend of visible disability I saw at my interviews were dual hearing aids, but then again, so many people have disabilities that are not readily visible, so it doesn't mean anything. I would really worry about psychiatric and learning disabilities, though, more so than physical ailments, IMO.

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There is a student with cerebral palsy at UBC's Northern Medical Program. He walks with two canes and will probably need some modifications to his learning plan, but he obviously got in and has the academics required.

 

I don't know about other schools, but UBC has a section where you can indicate you have a disability and any impact it has had on your studies on the application.

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Hello,

 

As you may know, some Canadian medical schools require applicants to have been enrolled in a full-course load. Others, such as McMaster, do not.

 

However, I temporarily had to take on a reduced course load, due to my disability, and have since resumed a full-course load, earning a very high average.

 

Does anyone know what the procedure is for applying for an exemption from the full-course load requirement (in the case of students with a recognized disability) that is in place at some universities? On a related note, has anyone applied to medical school as a student with a disability, and is declaration of disability status on the application form disadvantageous?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

I believe to hold it against you would be tantamount to discrimination. I would consider handling your situation with a four pronged approach:

 

1] Contact the Office of Disabilities at the med schools of interest. They would likely have a fund of experience and reasonably they should be able to act as your advocate.

 

2] Contact each med school directly and in writing. Build up a dossier and keep copies of all exchanges. Cross check as seems appropriate with diabilities office.

 

3] Office of the Ombudsman can be your frriend should you be encountering any attitude or overly technical problems. This office is their to ensure fairness and equity in treatment of all students.

 

4] One of our members who has disabilities is in the present application cycle. She is resently unavailable for 2 weeks but if you PM me in two weeks and remind me, I can write to her with a view of putting you both in direct contact. This member who be a moist valuable source of information, reflection and insight for the entire process and what to expect.

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I believe to hold it against you would be tantamount to discrimination.

 

It is only discrimination it the person's disability does not make it so that they cannot do the job, even when accomodations are made. A person with a disability should not be given preferential treatment, just equitable treatment. That said, most physical disabilities should not be a problem. Operating tables and equipment can be height adjusted and there are many adaptations that can be made in order to make various areas of medical training accessible. A person with an intellectual impairment would be unlikely to be able to achieve the appropriate GPA and other cutoffs and therefore would not be considered. Social impairments, such as Asperger's, would impair a physician's ability to assess aspects such as pain (based on facial expressions), depression and other emotional states (assessment of mood and affect) and should probably be assessed on a case by case basis by admissions boards. I doubt many individuals with social impairments would make it through most interview sessions, though.

 

Here is McMaster's answer about disabilities in their Q&A:

Q: I have a disability. Can I apply?

 

An applicant with a disability is assessed on their ability to do the “job” of a medical student. The university will do what it can do to accommodate applicants with disabilities as long as, with that accommodation, they can undertake the necessary activities. We have a PDF document, primarily for applicants with a disability, called “Day to Day Activities of a McMaster Medical Student” which described the daily activities of our students.

 

As well please review the Council of Ontario Facilities of Medicine Policy document entitled Essential Skills and Abilities Required for the Study of Medicine (found on the OMSAS website at http://www.ouac.on.ca/omsas).

 

And here is UBC's:

Applicants to the Faculty with disabilities will be considered in accordance with UBC's policy on Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities. This policy does not eliminate the need for evaluation or the need to meet essential learning outcomes. Students seeking academic accommodation due to disability must:

 

provide the necessary documentation to the Disability Resource Centre (the University does not provide or assume the cost of diagnostic services), and

bring the request for academic accommodation or for changes in accommodation needs to the attention of the appropriate personnel in a timely manner in order to allow for arrangement of accommodations.

Students with disabilities are encouraged to pursue their studies as long as their continued involvement does not pose a health or safety hazard to themselves or others, and as long as they are able to meet the core requirements for a medical degree. The Faculty of Medicine will make every reasonable effort to ensure that any modified course of training will meet professional licensing requirements. However, licensing requirements and decisions are within the sole jurisdiction of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia. Similarly, access to the full-range of post-graduate training may be limited for students with disabilities.

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Other links that may be of interest...

 

As you shall see from the below link, OMSAS utilizes the Ontario Human Rights Code as its legal jurisdiction. Each province has their version of this legislation:

http://www.ouac.on.ca/omsas/omsas-essential.html

 

General information from the AMSA for pre-meds; American information, but still relevant:

http://www.amsa.org/premed/premedguide/disabilities.cfm

 

Hope this helps!

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Other links that may be of interest...

 

As you shall see from the below link, OMSAS utilizes the Ontario Human Rights Code as its legal jurisdiction. Each province has their version of this legislation:

http://www.ouac.on.ca/omsas/omsas-essential.html

 

General information from the AMSA for pre-meds; American information, but still relevant:

http://www.amsa.org/premed/premedguide/disabilities.cfm

 

Hope this helps!

 

There is also this group, which can probably help: http://www.capd.ca/

 

There are quite a number of med schools with disabilities - I don't think it will be held against you :)

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