ADAPT understands the importance of healthcare for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and is aware of the barriers to care of those we serve. One barrier that we strive to overcome is a gap in education and training for healthcare students and professionals. Currently, there is no mandated curriculum in medical or nursing schools on how to provide quality care to individuals with disabilities. This includes hands-on clinical training. To address this need, ADAPT forged a partnership with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Recognizing that those we serve are more than just individuals with a condition, illness, or injury, but people, ADAPT became the only IDD agency to partner with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine as part of their new one-year Service-Learning program. This program allows medical students to rotate at ADAPT’s Stillwell Adult Day Program and gives students an opportunity to interact with the individuals in a non-clinical setting. Students can get to know the people we support and the social factors that influence their health. The medical students start the program in the second half of their first year of medical school and end in the first half of their 2nd year.
Yudelka Matta, Director of Stillwell Day Program, stated, “People supported have been able to forge relationships with the students during their rotation at ADAPT. I love the interaction between the medical students and people supported. We have been able to learn a lot from each other.”
As a complement to their Stillwell rotation, a clinical rotation was established at ADAPT’s Bronx Article 28 medical clinic for 3rd year Einstein students as part of their Primary Care Clerkship rotation. Here students rotate with our Bronx physicians, learning how to provide direct clinical care as well as the importance of communication, care coordination, and comprehensive interdisciplinary care. As a part of the 3rd year rotation, Einstein ensures all students view ADAPT’s Healthlink film prior to the start of this rotation.
The Healthlink film is another means to provide education. The film, produced by ADAPT in partnership with Positive Exposure, aims to fill the gaps in education for clinical students and professionals on the importance of providing quality healthcare to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The film is part of a larger separate HealthLink Training program offered by ADAPT that includes a virtual or onsite lecture, allowing hundreds of students and healthcare providers to be educated in an informative and engaging way.
Dr. Raj Capoor, Physiatrist at ADAPT Community Network, stated, “During their time at ADAPT, medical students will learn how to communicate effectively with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are both verbal and nonverbal. They will have the opportunity to address them directly and engage with them using their preferred communication method, so their wants and needs are being taken into consideration as it relates to their healthcare needs.”
Dr. Vincent Siasoco, Medical Director at ADAPT Community Network, stated, “These unique learning opportunities for students are valuable and fill a gap in education and training that is sorely needed. Medical Students from 1st to 3rd year now have the opportunity to learn about our individuals not only as a patient, but as a person.”
ADAPT wants to support any opportunity to provide educational training to healthcare providers about individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We want to get students in the healthcare field to understand how to care for people within the IDD community, fully grasp their complex needs, and ensure they are qualified to care for them.
We recently hosted a Plenary Session during our Virtual Family Connect Summit focusing on the future of healthcare for people with disabilities and always aim to make healthcare as equitable and inclusive as possible.