University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications


Teaching health care students about disability within a cultural competency context

UMMS Affiliation

Center for Health Policy and Research

Publication Date


Document Type



*Cultural Competency; *Curriculum; *Delivery of Health Care; *Disabled Persons; Health Occupations; Humans; Students


Health Services Research | Medical Education


The training of health care providers has been identified as key to resolving the health disparities experienced by persons with disabilities. We contend that: 1) cultural competency provides a useful conceptual framework for teaching disability-related content to health professions students; 2) educational experiences can be structured to reflect the socio-cultural complexity of the 'disability culture;' 3) desired competencies associated with culture can be defined with regard to professionals' approach to patients with disabilities; 4) exposure to persons who have disabilities in their homes allows the student to make connections between the nuances of daily life with a disability and one's health care needs; 5) the framework allows the disability culture to be integrated with other cultural contexts, including race and ethnicity; and 6) the framework acknowledges the potential impact of providers' conscious or unconscious recognition of their potential membership in the disability culture on their approach to patients with disabilities.

DOI of Published Version



Disabil Health J. 2013 Oct;6(4):271-9. doi: 10.1016/j.dhjo.2013.05.002. Epub 2013 Jun 18. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Disability and health journal

PubMed ID