ADEPT-CARE: A pilot, student-led initiative to improve care for persons with disabilities via a novel teaching tool

Lydia Smeltz, Sandra Carpenter, Lauren Benedetto, Nora Newcomb, Dana Rubenstein, Tonya King, Christopher Lunsford, Ami L. DeWaters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Over one-quarter of United States adults live with a disability. Despite persistent ableism, defined as discrimination and prejudice against people with disabilities, in healthcare, disability-focused training remains largely absent from medical education. Objective: The aim of this study was to pilot and evaluate a novel teaching mnemonic (ADEPT-CARE) for performing a comprehensive history and physical exam for disabled patients. Methods: In Spring 2022, first-year medical students at a suburban Mid-Atlantic institution could electively participate in a learning module that included ADEPT-CARE. Surveys were administered to students before and following exposure to the ADEPT-CARE protocol. Results: Of 142 eligible students, 33 and 21 completed the pre- and post-surveys, respectively. The ADEPT-CARE protocol made sense to 95.2% of students. All (100%) students reported that they will use the ADEPT-CARE protocol in the assessment of patients with disabilities. Students were more likely to agree or strongly agree that they had a consistent approach or strategy in mind when assessing a patient with a disability after exposure to ADEPT-CARE (85.7% vs. 39.4%, respectively, p = 0.002). There was no statistically significant difference in students’ perceived confidence in their ability to assess a patient with a disability after curriculum completion compared to before (85.7% vs. 81.8%, respectively, p = 1.0). Conclusions: The ADEPT-CARE protocol has the potential to be an effective teaching tool by providing a framework to equitably care for disabled patients. Future research should assess whether students’ self-reported increased confidence and intention to utilize ADEPT-CARE translates into the clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101462
JournalDisability and Health Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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