Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU) will offer a course
beginning January 10 that will help health professions educators teach how
to better care for patients with disabilities.
The survey course is the first of its kind, according to Brenda Premo, a
nationally recognized expert on disability issues and the founding
director of WesternU’s Center for Disability Issues and the Health
Professions (CDIHP). Several institutions of higher learning have classes
on disability issues, Premo said, but none currently take the survey
approach covering solely the instruction of health care professions
educators (the people who go on to train medical, nursing, therapy and
other health care students). The 10-week class will help these student
educators include these issues in their own classes when they go on to
train health professions students themselves.
Course topics include a history of disabilities and the health
professions, an overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),
assistive technology and health care, blindness and vision loss, and aging
with a disability. Premo will teach several sessions, as will additional
experts on health care and disability, including June Kailes, recently
reappointed by President Clinton as chair of the Architectural and
Transportation Barriers Compliance Board; Mary Lou Breslin, MA, of the
Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund; and Paul K. Longmore, PhD,
director of San Francisco State University’s Institute on Disability.
“”By educating the professionals who train doctors, nurses, physical
therapists, pharmacists and other health care workers to become aware of
and sensitive to the needs of persons with a disability, those future
health professionals will then go on to become even more skilled and
compassionate care givers – to all their patients,”” Premo said.
The survey course, titled “”Educating Health Professionals: Persons with
Disabilities and the Health Professions,”” is part of WesternU’s Master of
Science in Health Professions Education program, but any health
professional, educator or member of the general public is welcome to
attend. Cost of the course is $575.
WesternU founded the CDIHP in 1998 in response to the concerns of the
disabled community, which is emerging as one of the nation’s fastest
growing and least understood minority groups. The Center’s goals include
but are not limited to: improving the capabilities of health care
providers to meet the growing needs of people with disabilities,
increasing the number of qualified individuals with disabilities who
pursue careers in the health professions, and empowering people with
disabilities to become more vocal and active participants in their health
The “”Educating Health Professionals”” course is a prototype for more in-
depth courses in the future on each of the issues to be covered, Premo
For more information, call Premo at (909) 469-5385.