Desired educational outcomes of disability-related training for the generalist physician: knowledge, attitudes, and skills

Minihan PM, Robey KL, Long-Bellil LM, Graham CL, Hahn JE, Woodard L, Eddey GE; Alliance for Disability in Health Care Education.
Acad Med. 2011 Sep;86(9):1171-8. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3182264a25.

Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA.

The problems adults with disabilities face obtaining quality primary care services are persistent and undermine national efforts to improve the health status of this group. Efforts to address this issue by providing disability-related training to physicians are hampered by limited information about what generalist physicians need to know to care for patients with disabilities. The authors consider the desired outcomes of disability-related training for generalists by exploring the contributions of the domains of knowledge, attitudes, and skills to patient-directed behavior and summarizing the empirical data.Because disability reflects a complex interplay among individual, interpersonal, institutional, community, and societal factors, generalist physicians can promote and protect the health of adults with disabilities by interventions at multiple levels. Thus, the authors use the social-ecological framework, an approach to health promotion that recognizes the complex relationships between individuals and their environments, to delineate the recommended knowledge, attitudes, and skills in the context of primary care. The importance of role models who demonstrate the three domains, the interactions among them, and issues in evaluation are also discussed. This clear delineation of the recommended educational outcomes of disability-related training in terms of knowledge, attitudes, and skills will support efforts to better prepare generalist physicians-in training and in practice-to care for adults with disabilities and to evaluate these training strategies.