Medical Should I disclose a disability in my personal statement?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Goro

Full Member
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Verified Expert
Jun 11, 2010
67,507
2
104,008
Somewhere west of St. Louis
  1. Non-Student
    So I have a bit of a dilemma.
    Ive suffered from chronic migraines my entire life so I’ve been a life long patient. I think this gives me a unique perspective as an aspiring physician that could be a feature of my personal statement. Not to mention I’ve had to work 10x harder than my peers to get where I am (resilience, drive, dedication, blah blah blah)
    however- I don’t want to give them ANY reason to deny me. So I’m worried that they’ll see me as a liability. It’s probably technically illegal to reject me based on that alone but that doesn’t mean they won’t do it, consciously or unconsciously.
    Wanted some input from the experts. Would my disability make you hesitant to accept me? Is the strength it presents worth taking that risk?
    I have a close family member who suffers from migraines, so I can empathize. If you have a track record of academic excellence, that will allay any Adcom worries.

    I suggest that if you get accepted to med school, that you discuss this with student services to arrive at some sort of accommodation plan in case your headaches become an issue.

    You're aware that there are now a lot of new migraine meds that are available? If not, PM me. These pages are not for medical advice.
     

    lord999

    Full Member
    Moderator Emeritus
    Verified Expert
    15+ Year Member
    Feb 21, 2002
    3,957
    4,145
    DC
    1. Pharmacist
    2. Academic Administration
      There's a couple of schools of thought on that, but the warning that I have is if you bring it up, it's "fair game" for the interviewers or reviewers to make use of that information as they will. I personally would not find it an issue, but you do get problematic reviewers. If you do consider this an ADA disability level, then it is considered and you may need to make a performance statement. Ohio Civil Rights Commission vs. Case Western University and Kaltenberger are the standards, and it is quite legal to consider if the disability is profound enough to interfere with the technical standard required for practice given reasonable accommodation. It has to be based on a sound criteria though to reject on those grounds officially. However, that is a balance to strike in the statement as who knows who reads it? I wouldn't think most of us would have a problem, but there is the risk that you have the one-off superman reading. Possibly work on phrasing to make it more generic if you fear this and concentrate on the experience and how it motivates your desire and your work ethic.
       

      Mr.Smile12

      Admissions advisor
      Lifetime Donor
      10+ Year Member
      Verified Expert
    • Oct 14, 2011
      7,857
      4,010
      1. Academic Administration
        If the question is on whether to include it in a PS, my first inclination is to say no. You need to be careful how you describe the issue because of ADA protections that have already been pointed out earlier in this thread. You could have some questions in secondaries later on that talk about how you have overcome significant odds or challenges where this may be appropriate to mention. But in the blank canvas that is the PS, I would focus on doctoring, how you felt as a patient when it came to your understanding of these challenges (as a suggestion) as opposed to harping on the chronic nature of your situation.
         

        Mr.Smile12

        Admissions advisor
        Lifetime Donor
        10+ Year Member
        Verified Expert
      • Oct 14, 2011
        7,857
        4,010
        1. Academic Administration
          how do I emphasize my experience as a patient without focusing on the disability?
          I never intended the PS to be mostly about the disability it would more so be about how I have significant experience as a patient and how that presents a unique strength that many of my peers don’t have. Do you think there’s a way to do this without raising red flags?
          Obviously we can't write your essay for you. It has to be your voice, but I would reflect on the empathy others had for you as you were trying to figure out how to cope with your illness. Again, I'd focus on the doctoring as a suggestion at the center of your essay, how he/she addressed your fears, made you understand how to manage, how to listen to you as you described your condition. I'm challenging you to make the care the focus and not the disability, to show that you can do it and the lessons you learned from the health care team you had you can carry to other patients with a variety of other illnesses and conditions.
           
          Status
          Not open for further replies.