You are invited to join us for our CAME WEBINAR SERIES

Registration is now free for CAME members! Recordings of webinars are also available to our members via our new membership portal!

Date: February 20, 2024

Presentation 2: 12:00pm-1:00pm Pacific, (3:00pm-4:00pm Eastern)

Presenters: Dr. Laura Yvonne Bulk, Dr. Yael Mayer and Dr. Tal Jarus, University of British Columbia

Webinar Title: “Here, out of all places”? Ableism in health professions education and practice: Disabled students' and practitioners' experience


Laura Yvonne Bulk is a daughter, friend, cousin, tante; she is a Dutch settler to W̱SÁNEĆ territory; she is a first-generation university student, a disabled scholar, and an occupational therapy educator. She is an Assistant Professor of Teaching in Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy at the University of British Columbia on xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Territory. Her educational leadership focuses on promoting justice (right relationship with lands, waters, human and non-human beings, and Creator) and building spaces of belonging as people from equity-denied groups and in distributed education.

Yael Mayer is a mother, a partner, a daughter, and a clinical psychologist living with a disability. Yael is an assistant professor and the head of the BELONG lab for the study of Belonging, Diversity, and Multiculturalism at the University of Haifa; her scholarship is focused on belonging and inclusion of equity-denied groups and enhancing inclusion in highly polarized societies. Yael studies the interplay between social and political contexts, identity development, and mental health. In all her studies, she strives to create impactful research that promotes social justice.

Tal Jarus is a queer, white, cis woman, settler, who immigrated to Canada 17 years ago. She lives as an uninvited guest on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh people. Tal is a Professor in the department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of British Columbia. In the past few years her career is dedicated to social justice transformation, including focused research on justice and equity in the health and human service professions, in particular looking at the facilitators and barriers for the participation of students and clinicians from equity denied groups in those professions. Tal uses innovative techniques in her research, including art, such as photovoice or Research-Based Theatre.

Webinar Overview

People with disabilities are underrepresented in health professions education and practice due to barriers including stigma, disabling discourses, discriminatory programme design, and oppressive interactions. Students living with disabilities who study in one of the health professions are  in an especially vulnerable position given the power dynamics and the need to disclose to receive accommodations and support in a non-supportive and ableist social environment. This webinar will describe the current context in which disabled students in the health professions navigate, which challenges their sense of legitimacy and belonging as health providers and impacts the development of their professional identity. We will present findings from a large national study where we analysed 124 interviews with 56 disabled health practitioners and students from five professions: medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy and social work. Participants were interviewed up to three times over one year.

We will first present the tensions within health education and practice between the commitment to inclusion and the day-to-day realities experienced by participants. We will also discuss the impact of those tensions on the development of professional identity among participants. Finally, we will discuss potential strategies to allow us to be accountable for our commitment to equity and diversity in health professions education. We will brainstorm together 1) ideas for system-level practices and policies to support inclusion; 2)  day-to-day activities that might prevent the marginalisation of students and practitioners living with disabilities in the health professions; and 3) educational actions needed to increase understanding of disability in the health professions education, with particular attention to promoting social relations that foster collective responsibility for supporting inclusion.

Learning Objectives

  1. Discuss ableism in health professions education and practice.
  2. Describe current barriers experienced by disabled students.
  3. Examine the development of professional identity among disabled students.
  4. Appraise potential changes needed in order to increase accessibility in health profession education on the systemic, programmatic, and personal levels.

PST Session - “Here, out of all places”? Ableism in health professions education and practice: Disabled students and practitioners' experience

  • Tuesday Feb 20 2024, 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
  • Online via Zoom Platform