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Medical Students with Disabilities

DR. ASHOK MUZUMDAR MEMORIAL AWARD for Medical Students with Disabilities Winner Announcement

In conjunction with the Canadian Association for Physicians with Disabilities (CAPD), the CFMS are overjoyed to announce the winner of the Dr. Ashok Mazumda Memorial Award, Amanda Annette, from the Class of 2020 University of Calgary! All applicants were truly worthy and inspirational.

An excerpt from Amanda Annette’s application -

There indisputably exists a need to showcase diversity in medicine – including disability. Normalizing disability in medicine not only humanizes physicians, but reinforces that medicine is a field that is accessible to individuals of diverse lived experiences. From my personal journey, I know how powerful sharing the stories of practitioners with disability can be; I’ve frequently found inspiration and reassurance in the experiences and accomplishments of practitioners like Dr. Muzumdar, who have succeeded despite significant adversity. Certainly, Dr. Muzumdar continues to exert a positive influence on the medical community today both through his moving story of resiliency, and through his advocacy and pioneering work with the Canadian Association of Physicians with Disabilities. The last several decades have seen significant developments to reduce systemic barriers to full participation for individuals with disability in medicine; I’m optimistic that ongoing advocacy, and open dialogue surrounding disability in medicine, will continue to foster the development of an increasingly inclusive medical community. 
I feel honored to receive the Dr. Ashok Muzumdar Memorial Award, and am infinitely grateful for the world of opportunities it has presented – both for the pursuit of further academic endeavors, and to contribute my experience to the dialogue surrounding medical student and practitioner disability.

-Amanda Annette

DR. ASHOK MUZUMDAR MEMORIAL AWARD for Medical Students with Disabilities

The Canadian Association of Physicians with Disabilities was founded by Dr. Muzumdar in 2000, the first organization devoted to fostering mutual support for physicians with disabilities.

When Dr. Muzumdar passed away in November, 2012 the board and executive of the CAPD, along with Dr. Muzumdar’s devoted family, endeavored to create an award in his honour. It is the collective hope that this award will support a medical student with a disability who embodies the resilience demonstrated by our founding member and past president.

With the launch of the Dr. Ashok Muzumdar Memorial Award, the CAPD hope to offer $2,500 to one successful candidate who fulfills the following criteria:

Award Selection Criteria:

  • All applicants must be registered at a Canadian medical school in any year of training.
  • Applicants will have a disability whether physical, cognitive, or psychological, that has required accommodation or assistance through the affiliated medical school.
  • Applicants must submit their completed application form along with a maximum one page letter of reference by: 2020 (TBD).

If the recipient feels comfortable, CAPD will announce their success on their website, and if the recipient wishes, CAPD will support them to share their resiliency story. Otherwise the recipient may remain anonymous.

For more information, including full application details, click here.

CFMS Statement

The CFMS has recognized that we are in a new era in medicine, an exciting time where medical students with disabilities are challenging norms and breaking barriers. Therefore in 2008 the CFMS made it a priority to provide support, services and advocacy for medical students with disabilities. The CFMS hopes to encourage others to do the same and create a more inviting, comfortable and accommodating atmosphere for students with all abilities.


Learning Disability Resources

Student Bios

Ashley is a student with CP from the College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Class of 2012. Prior to medical school she completed an undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. At this point Ashley is interested in completing a Pediatrics residency, however, it seems to change everyday! Megan is a deaf student from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Class of 2013. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of Manitoba-B.Sc (Major) Biology. Right now she is planning on pursuing family medicine as her career.

Q & A from Canadian Medical Students with Disabilities

  • When should I disclose my disability? Generally, it’s better to be upfront with the Faculty. I was worried my application would be rejected if I mentioned it, so I waited until I got my interview letter to disclose my disability. The important thing is that when you do let them know about your disability, you emphasize your abilities and your coping mechanisms (not the disabilities).
  • How do I get the accommodations that I need? Contact Disability Services (or whatever other names they’re referred to) at the university and they should be able to help you get started. They provide a wide range of services and should be able to meet your needs academically. In terms of accommodations specifically for medicine, it’s a good idea to meet with the Faculty of Medicine and have them involved in making sure all your accommodations are met. They are a pretty good resource for information and can be really supportive once they understand your abilities.
  • Financial help. Canada Study Grant for Students with a Permanent Disability is a grant to help pay for accommodations such as specialized equipment, tutors, interpreters, etc. You can apply for it annually through your provincial student loan program and you don’t have to pay it back. Vocational rehabilitation programs can also help fund your tuition, books, and even accommodations if necessary. (For Manitoba, it’s through Society of Manitobans with Disabilities).
  • Specific tips for Deaf/HOH students. Let your classmates know your preferences in terms of communication right away. Have Disability Services or the Faculty set up ASL classes for those interested. Do your research on stethoscopes. Your audiologist may be able to help you find stethoscopes that will work for you and Association of Medical Professionals with a Hearing Loss (AMPHL) has information regarding specialized stethoscopes that work for those with a hearing loss. I deferred my admission one year to allow Disability Services and the Faculty to have sufficient time to hire good interpreters that are committed to the entire four years and be able to prepare for my arrival. As a result, things went much more smoothly than if I had started the same year I’d been accepted.
  • Educating classmates. Once again, it’s really important to be upfront with your classmates. If you have a disability that’s easy to hide and you want to keep it that way, that’s fine. For those with disabilities that are somewhat obvious, it’s best to be open about your disability and educate your classmates from the start.

Navigating Medical School with Hearing Loss

This resource is a brief guide to assist you in navigating medical school if you have a hearing loss. There is a spectrum to hearing loss, and each individual’s experiences, accommodations, and resources are unique. This guide aims to be as broad as possible but we recognize there may be topics that are overlooked.

PDFNavigating Medical School with Hearing Loss