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Basic Disability Information

The Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended, building on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, mandates that no qualified person with a disability shall, solely on the basis of disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity which receives or benefits from federal financial assistance. That means otherwise qualified students with documented disabilities are entitled to equal treatment at almost all institutions of higher education in the US, and to reasonable accommodation if needed to facilitate access. Geisel School of Medicine does not discriminate against students with disabilities.

To better understand the terms "qualified person" and "otherwise qualified students", students should read the Essential Standards for Matriculation, Promotion, and Graduation, including the Standards for Capacity. This document can be obtained upon request from Dr. Shoop, or viewed on the learning services website.

The curriculum, as established by the faculty, represents a core curriculum essential to all physicians. Therefore, the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth expects that each student admitted will be capable of completing the full curriculum of required courses, clerkships, and electives under the established School policies, and to function in a reasonably independent manner. We believe that we have a responsibility both to our students and to society; and the Essential Standards describe the abilities and competencies that all students must demonstrate, with or without accommodation.

Briefly, Geisel students (and applicants) must have significant capacities in five categories:

  • Perception/Observation
  • Communication
  • Motor/tactile function
  • Cognition
  • Mature and Ethical Functioning

A candidate for the MD degree must then demonstrate adequate mastery in a number of disciplines represented by our curriculum in order to progress and graduate. Acceptable levels of mastery are required in six general competency areas:

  • Medical/scientific knowledge
  • Clinical skills
  • Communication/interpersonal skills
  • Professionalism (mature and ethical conduct)
  • Practice-based learning (actively assessing oneself and making improvements in learning and performance)
  • Systems-based practice (effectively carrying out responsibilities in a complex system of contributing professionals)

Qualified students with documented disabilities are readily provided with reasonable accommodations at Geisel, and those accommodations sometimes involve an intermediary or an auxiliary aid. However, no disability can be reasonably accommodated at Geisel with an auxiliary aid or intermediary that provides cognitive support or medical knowledge, substitutes for essential skills, or supplements clinical or ethical judgment. That is to say, accommodations cannot eliminate essential program elements.

Return to Student Accessibility Services.