A study published in 2016 the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the number of medical students with disabilities is nine times higher than originally estimated. The article points out the difficulty in capturing an accurate view of the number of med students with disabilities. In all, 2.7 percent of medical students were found to have one or more disability. Another study in Academic Medicine found that most medical schools seem unwelcoming to those with disabilities. More recently, a report in 2018 by the Association of American Medical Colleges shows that progress has been made for medical students with disabilities.
The most common disability was ADHD, followed by unspecified learning or psychological disabilities. Those with physical or sensory disabilities were much less common, perhaps because of the technical standards in place at medical schools. Some students also cited chronic health issues as a disability.
Experts believe that further studies need to be conducted to assess how students with disabilities perform in medical school. Of those in the study, 98% received some sort of accommodation. The founders of the Coalition for Disability Access in Health Science and Medical Education comment on the current situation for those with disabilities in an article on Student Doctor Network.
Liza Thompson, Expert Medical School Admissions Consultant