Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Articles of Interest


Disability and Diversity studies as a professional basis for diversity-aware education and training in medicine [1]. Dungs et al. GMS J Med Educ 2020; 37(2)

People with disabilities who have negative experiences in the health care system, such as lack of sensitivity, disrespect and devaluation, often choose to not seek professional medical care. An inability to distinguish symptoms from the disability or other diseases, a limited knowledge of the disabled person’s life and communication problems results in suboptimal patient-doctor relationships and treatment plans.

Disability and Diversity Studies (DDS) aim to move away from the medical model to the social model of disability. The medical model emphasizes the physical illness or disability, whereas the social model focuses on social disadvantages and barriers. In the DDS program, affected persons define their needs and request support, as opposed to predefined institutional patient care plans that are often biased and based on categorical assumptions. “The focus is on assistance models that enable those affected to lead a self-determined and supported life according to their needs.” The principle “Nothing about us, without us! is recommended in the training of all health care professionals.The DDS Bachelor’s program curriculum at the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences is outlined in this paper. Inclusion of people with disabilities in medical education is deemed essential to acquire the following six fields of competence for respectful, patient-centered care.

  1. Contextual and conceptual framework for disabilities
  2. Professionalism and patient-centered care
  3. Legal obligations and responsibilities for the care of patients with disabilities
  4. Teams and system-based practice
  5. Clinical evaluation
  6. Clinical care over the life span and during changes.These principles should be applied in the treatment of people with any disability (i.e. physical, mental, addiction, economic, social, etc.).


  1. Dungs S, Pichler C, Reiche R. Disability & Diversity studies as a professional basis for diversity-aware education and training in medicine. GMS J Med Educ. 2020;37(2):Doc23.  [PMID:32328525]