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Why Increasing Numbers of Physicians with Disability Could Improve Care for Patients with Disability

Why Increasing Numbers of Physicians with Disability Could Improve Care for Patients with Disability

Ama Journal of Ethics 18(10): 1041-1049

Erroneous assumptions among health care professionals about the daily lives, preferences, values, and expectations of persons with disability can contribute to documented health care disparities, faulty communication, and substandard quality of care affecting this heterogeneous population. Efforts to reduce racial and ethnic disparities have focused on expanding diversity in the physician workforce. Would expanding the numbers of physicians with disability benefit patients with disability? Increasing the number of physicians who identify as "disabled" is one strategy for proactively confronting disability-related barriers affecting patients, but such efforts will likely face substantial challenges. Nonetheless, physicians who require accommodations to practice (e.g., a height-adjustable examination table) could plausibly benefit patients needing similar accommodations and perhaps be well-positioned to provide patient-centered care to persons with comparable disability.

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Accession: 059270651

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PMID: 27780029

DOI: 10.1001/journalofethics.2016.18.10.msoc2-1610

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