Online Program

Preparing Medical Students to Care for Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 12:50 p.m. - 1:10 p.m.

Susan Havercamp, PhD, Nisonger Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Karen Ratliff-Schaub, MD, Nisonger Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Nikki Johnson, BS, Nisonger Center, Ohio State University, COLUMBUS, OH
Patricia Navas-Macho, PhD, Psychology and Sociology, University of Zaragoza
Kelsey Bush, BS, Ohio State University
Heather Souders, DO, Nationwide Children's Hospital
Purpose: Medical education is increasingly expected to address underserved and vulnerable populations and teach medical students to be culturally competent. We developed a curriculum that incorporates didactic instruction, patient interviews and panel discussions to teach medical students how to care for patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Our goal was to discover whether patient panels can effectively teach students patient care issues from the patient or family perspective. Methods: Medical students were asked closed-ended questions about the training using SurveyMonkey, as well as to provide a written reflection. Quantitative analysis of student feedback (N=99) was carried out using SPSS. Students’ reflections were analyzed using QSR NVivo software. Results: Students’ age ranged from 23 to 37 years old and 50 students were male and 49 female. Students reported positive or very positive changes after the training in areas including, knowledge about what to do or say (86.7%), level of understanding for the challenges that people with ASD face (86.6%), skills (77.3%), confidence (62.6%), competence in communication (70%), and ability to provide better care (80%). Males were almost 3 times less likely than females to report a change in their communication skills (p <.01) and were less optimistic about future training being beneficial (p < .05). No differences were found based on race or ethnicity. Those without previous professional knowledge about ASD were significantly more likely to find the training helpful (p < .05). Conclusion: Disability specific education results in positive changes in students’ knowledge, confidence and competence.  Dissemination efforts are needed to incorporate disability in medical education.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Identify best practices in training medical students to care for patients with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities. Design educational instruction for medical students to provide family-centered care to under-served patients. Describe and discuss skills, attitudes, and knowledge of persons from diverse cultural backgrounds including disability.

Keyword(s): Curricula, Cultural Competency

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Susan M. Havercamp is the Principal Investigator for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded Ohio Disability and Health Program (ODHP). She is engaged in providing disability training for healthcare providers and directing a program to increase the state’s capacity to promote health, prevent chronic disease, and improve emergency preparedness and quality of life for Ohioans with disabilities. Her research focuses on physical and mental health issues in persons with developmental disabilities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.