Medical colleges should be more inclusive of applicants with disability.

Medical colleges should be more inclusive of applicants with disability.

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Jerusha Mather started this petition to Notre Dame University and

I’m Jerusha, a third year PhD candidate and I live with cerebral palsy. I’m an ambitious person but for the past three years I’ve been unable to gain entry into any medical program, even though I know I am qualified. Medical colleges in Australia make it very hard for people like me to get accepted.

I’m calling on top medical colleges in Australia, such as Notre Dame University, University of Melbourne, and Deakin University to accept applicants who live with disabilities without a Graduate Medical Admissions Test (GAMSAT)/ Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) score.

Even with the provisions of reasonable adjustments in these tests, such as dictation of answers, performing tests on a computer, and additional time and rest breaks, considerable discrimination may still exist. For example, it may be too arduous to dictate the answers to a scribe, due to the lengthy manipulation of formulas, extensive drawings and substantial mathematical calculations required. Such components are difficult to undertake mentally and then dictate to the scribe. Additionally, the GAMSAT/MCAT may be difficult to complete on a computer because of the required problem-solving, involving the manipulation of equations, diagrams, and drawings, heavily required in Sections One and Three, which assess reasoning in humanities, and reasoning in biological and physical sciences, respectively. Further, speed reading can be difficult for people with disabilities, impacting the ability to achieve a competitive score.

Most medical schools accept Indigenous students without a GAMSAT /MCAT score. A similar incentive should be made for students with disabilities.

People with disabilities are one of the most underrepresented people in the medical profession. To build a representative medical workforce, colleges need to do better and establish supportive policies for prospective students. 

Currently, the application process for medical colleges is quite discriminatory against students with disabilities. Instead of heavily relying on standardized tests, medical schools should take a more holistic approach and find alternative ways to assess an applicant’s merit. 

Even at the interview stage, research has found medical students with visible disabilities face discrimination and aren’t seen as capable of the medical profession.

There are many specialities a doctor with a disability can successfully practice in including radiology, dermatology, general practice, psychiatry, pathology, paediatrics, and rehabilitation medicine, and some support and assistive technology can bridge the gaps to help them work independently in a clinical environment.

Integrating people with disabilities into the medical workforce will be transformational in reversing the negative attitudes society holds about us. Representation is so important and medical colleges have the opportunity to make real, impactful change here.

Please sign and share my petition to call for inclusive medical education.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!
At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!