Disability and Ableism in Medicine: A Curriculum for Medical Students

Date of Review: June, 2021

This resource, from MedEdPORTAL, presents a curriculum for a 2-hour seminar on disability and ableism, as part of a 3-week course focused on identity and social justice themes. The goal of the curriculum is to equip medical students with a structural and human rights framework for understanding disability. The session was designed for 12-person groups of first-year medical students, and includes three key components: student presentations and group discussions on key topics (a week in advance, students signed up for a presentation topic with assigned readings); a brainstorming activity on countering ableism in medicine, where students developed multilevel strategies for overcoming health care barriers and biases, and; a privilege awareness activity using an abled-privilege checklist. The MedEd module includes all materials needed to deliver the curriculum, including a detailed facilitator guide (with lists of assigned readings for each student presentation topic) and a student guide. The curriculum has several notable strengths, including being feasible to deliver, and being up-to-date as of the year 2021. It was also apparently highly rated by student survey respondents . Limitations include a lack of experiential learning activities, and a brief single-session format that may not engender lasting effects on knowledge and behaviors throughout medical school and beyond. Overall, it seems to represent an interesting, modern, and helpful contribution on a topic that is sometimes underrepresented in medical school curricula. –Dave Liss, PhD, NCEAS

Corresponding Author’s Email:



University of California San Francisco (UCSF)

Where was the Curriculum Implemented:

San Francisco, CA

Source of the Curriculum/Resource:


Outcomes that Have Been Reported for the Curriculum:

Self-reported learner attitude

Self-reported learner knowledge

Outcome and Study Design:


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