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Creating a Balance: Professionalism, Communication, and Students with Disabilities

Webinar Recording (0:59 Run Time)
PowerPoint Plain Text 
Communication Guide 
Webinar Transcript 

Professionalism in communication between university personnel and students is critical when addressing disability related needs and implementing accommodations. Students often struggle with how (and how much) to discuss their disabilities with faculty and supervisors. This can be especially difficult for students with disabilities that might impact their communication (e.g., Autism, Asperger’s, non-verbal learning disorder, psychological disability). As well, faculty and administrators may unwittingly complicate matters by slipping into their role as a provider, further blurring the lines of communication.

This webinar, recorded on October 7, 2015 addresses the importance of establishing and maintaining appropriate boundaries and provides numerous examples of positive and appropriate communication for various types of conversations (e.g., disclosure, requests, scheduling an accommodation). This guidance helps aid DS providers, faculty, and administrators who work with students with disabilities to understand the principles of professional communication.

Neera R. Jain, MS, CRC
University of California, San Francisco; Auckland Disability Law
Neera is a Rehabilitation Counselor by training and a passionate advocate for equal access in higher education, with a specialization in working with graduate and professional students in the health sciences. She was the first dedicated staff member to serve students with disabilities at two major health sciences institutions in the United States - the Columbia University Medical Center campus in New York City, and the University of California, San Francisco. Formerly the Director of Student Disability Services at the University of California, San Francisco, she continues to work with UCSF as a consultant on research initiatives and complicated cases. Neera is the co-chair of the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) Graduate and Professional School Special Interest Group (GAP SIG), and Policy advisor for the Coalition for Disability Access in Health Science and Medical Education.

Neera has presented on practices and approaches for crafting accommodations for clinical and other “outside the classroom” settings at U.S. and international conferences. She is the co-editor and an author of The Guide to Assisting Students with Disabilities: Equal Access in Health Science and Professional Education (Springer Publishing). Neera also wrote the afterword of the text, which considers the promise for the next decade of students with disabilities to enter the health sciences. Currently residing in New Zealand, Neera manages Auckland Disability Law (ADL), a free specialist legal service that is part of the Community Law movement. ADL is New Zealand’s only law practice dedicated to serving the unmet legal needs of disabled Kiwis.

Lisa Meeks, PhD
University of California, San Francisco
Lisa is currently on staff with the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine where she is the Director of Medical Student Disability Services and Assistant Professor of Medicine. She is also a co-founder and President elect of the Coalition for Disability Access in Health Science and Medical Education and co-chair of the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) Autism Spectrum Disorder Special Interest Group (ASD SIG). In addition to her work in higher education, Lisa has developed specialized trainings for the National Security Agency (NSA), the Department of Defense (DOD), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Association of Higher Education and Disabilities (AHEAD), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Currently her work focuses on developing computer simulations for use in remediating medical students’ communication skills.

Lisa is a published author of multiple books on Autism Spectrum Disorder and is the co-editor and an author of The Guide to Assisting Students with Disabilities: Equal Access in Health Science and Professional Education (Springer Publishing). She recently presented on the topic of Disability and Medical Education at Grand Rounds for the Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine — New York City and was also recently interviewed about the development of the Coalition and the future of disability in medical education for the NPR supported Story Corps-Disability Visibility project.

Maxine A. Papadakis, MD
The University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine
Dr. Papadakis is a Professor of Medicine and a practicing internist at the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center. She is the Associate Dean for Students in the School of Medicine at UCSF and a leading investigator in the field of professionalism. In a series of ground-breaking studies and in collaboration with the Federation of State Licensing Boards, Dr. Papadakis linked long term outcomes important to patient care (disciplinary action against physicians by licensing boards) to performance of physicians during training, particularly professional behaviors. She further advanced the field by describing the types of unprofessional behavior that are linked with disciplinary action, thus providing direction to the development of tools to assess these behaviors.

Her current work addresses the role of remediation in professionalism lapses. She is catalyzing the educational community to identify best practices for remediation and then to test them as interventions. She is a member of the Ethics and Professionalism Committee of the American Board of Medical Specialties. Recently, Dr. Papadakis has turned her attention to studying the performance of medical students with protected disabilities, focusing on their “abilities”. Along with her colleague Dr. Arianne Teherani, they conducted the first ever rigorous research study of medical students with disabilities to assess performance outcomes.

Dr. Papadakis is lead editor of the annually published textbook Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment. She is the recipient of many teaching awards, including the coveted UCSF Academic Senate Distinction in Teaching Award. In 2010, she received the John P. Hubbard Award from the National Board of Medical Examiners. This international award is given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the pursuit of excellence in the field of evaluation in medicine.

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This document outlines the future dates and formats of GSA meetings.

GSA Future Meetings Proposal 

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