#DocsWithDisabilities campaign highlights diversity among healthcare professionals

Physicians are often stereotypically depicted as pillars of health, superheroes able to respond to emergencies at a moment's notice or even miracle workers, but a growing movement of healthcare professionals with disabilities is challenging this script, according to NPR.

Here are four things to know:

1. Lisa Meeks, PhD, a clinical lecturer and researcher at Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Michigan Medicine, highlighted the importance of acknowledging and accommodating medical professionals with disabilities. "It deserves attention and its own problem-solving," Dr. Meeks, who specializes in disabilities in medical education, told NPR.

2. Dr. Meeks started a social media campaign using the hashtag #DocsWithDisabilities with the goal to find at least 20 physicians willing to share their stories. Since then, she has been flooded with responses. The hashtag #NursesWithDisabilities also took hold, too.

"I felt this was a really unique opportunity to introduce all of these docs with disabilities to the medical field," Dr. Meeks told NPR. "To let people know there are not unique one or two physicians with disabilities, but that there are a number of physicians with disabilities throughout the United States.

3. Among the many physicians who shared their stories was Feranmi Okanlami, MD, a family medicine physician at Michigan Medicine. While in his third year of medical residency at Yale New Haven (Conn.) Hospital in 2013, Dr. Okanlami injured his spinal cord jumping into a swimming pool, resulting in him being partially paralyzed. After rehabilitation, Dr. Okanlami returned to practicing medicine.

"You have to be the person deciding what medication to give; you have to make sure that the people doing chest compressions are doing them adequately; you have to think about what could be the reason the person stopped breathing or their heart stopped," Dr. Okanlami told NPR. "The tasks required to run a code aren't all just physical tasks.

4. This new wave of physicians illustrates the most 'able' physician is one who can relate to patients and have the skills and creativity required to provide exceptional care, according to the report.

"What we view as absolute is very different now than what it was 10 years ago, and [we] owe a lot of that to assistive and adaptive technologies," Dr. Meeks told NPR. "But also medicine is an ever evolving creature."

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