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Infusing Intellectual and Developmental Disability Training into Medical School Curriculum: a Pilot Intervention

July 8, 2024

Joanne Florio Siegel recently co-authored an article, Infusing Intellectual and Developmental Disability Training into Medical School Curriculum: a Pilot Intervention published by Taylor and Francis Medical Education Online. This pilot study addresses the issue of insufficient training for medical professionals in the care of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (PWIDD) – particularly adults.

The study aims were to increase medical student knowledge about intellectual and developmental disabilities and improve professionalism and patient care by increasing  interpersonal and communication skills when working with children and adult within the IDD community. This would be achieved through increased practice based learning as well as the provision of resources needed for systems based learning.

Joanne worked with researchers and colleagues at the Rose F Kennedy Center UCEDD/LEND at Montefiore and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. This study was granted through to the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry National Curriculum Initiative in Developmental Medicine (NICDM), now called National Inclusive Curriculum in Health Education (NICHE)  through the University of Louisville School of Medicine with funding support from the United States Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and Special Olympics International.

The study intervention included integrating didactic, panel presentation and clinical skills components into a 2nd year medical school curriculum.  The didactic session, covered assessment and health care of PWIDDs, history of IDD, stigma, social determinants of health and was co-taught by a developmental pediatrician, family medicine physician and social worker.  A panel of 3 adult self-advocates (SAs) with DD and a parent of a child with DD spoke about their lived experiences.  One week later, students practiced taking clinical histories of SAs within small group settings with adult PWIDDs, facilitated by medical school faculty.

The findings concluded that a brief (4 hours total) intervention was associated with modest but significant improved knowledge and attitudes towards PWIDDs.

Read more about the research and its findings on the Taylor and Francis online Website.

More about this work, impact and importance has just been published in the Helen Journal of the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry, May 13, 2024 article Infusing IDD into Medical: Looking at the Past and Taking a Leap into the Future.