Telling Our Stories: Disabled Medical Students’ Perspectives of Medical School


Research Framework

Maximising Participation


The key aim of this project is to understand and describe disabled medical students’ experiences regarding the inclusive culture of medical school (for example, how do students feel their experience of disability is acknowledged, supported, and valued within Otago Medical School?). Disabled people are under-represented in the medical workforce and to create a more inclusive and supportive medical education culture, it is necessary to understand the first-hand perspectives of disabled medical students.

This research can be used to improve the inclusive culture of medical education for disabled students and contribute to more inclusive cultures in medical and health professionals education programmes, ultimately enabling more diverse, empathic and compassionate health services.


We will utilise a narrative inquiry qualitative approach which is an appropriate method for our research questions. Participants will be invited to articulate detailed perspectives regarding how their disability is acknowledged, supported, and valued within OMS, and how practices within OMS facilitate (or not) the empowerment, capacity, and capability of participants.


Otago Medical School (OMS) Medical Education Research Fund.

Status of Research

Recruitment and Data Collection Underway


Key Contact

Dr Johnny Bourke,
Ngāi Tahu Health Research Unit and Department of Medicine,

University of Otago

Researchers and Collaborators

Prof. Rebecca Grainger,
Dept of Medicine,
University of Otago

Dr Rachelle Martin,
Dept of Rehabilitation Teaching and Training (RTRU)
Univerity of Otago

Joshua Caldwell
Research Assistant
Burwood Academy
Phone:  +64 3 383 6871