Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Qualifying for Disability Accommodations

RUSM expects that each student admitted will be capable of completing the full curriculum of required courses, clerkships, and electives under the established RUSM policies. All students and applicants must be capable of meeting the RUSM Technical Standards (as outlined in the Technical Standards section of the Student Handbook) with or without reasonable accommodation, at each stage of their medical education. Our goal at RUSM is to provide equal opportunity without undermining the integrity of any course, clerkship, or program. Requests for accommodation should be made as soon as the need is known and within the guidelines described here. Requests are processed in Foundations of Medicine and Clinical Sciences by the appropriate Accommodation Coordinator in the Office for Student Affairs.

RUSM adheres to the guidelines set forth in the USMLE and NBME websites (www.USMLE.org or www.NBME.org ) for testing accommodations.

Accommodation Request Packet

The Accommodation Request packet may be downloaded from the Portal or can be obtained from the Accommodations Coordinator. Review the packet carefully to ensure you are aware of all the requirements. Further, it is important to ensure that all components of the packet have been completed, including all supporting documents, are submitted to the Accommodations Coordinator. Incomplete or missing documentation may delay the evaluation and final determination of your request.

RUSM reserves the right to request additional documentation. RUSM reserves the right to determine which tests are acceptable for diagnosis and requires that standardized tests are based on adult norms.

It is the sole responsibility of the person applying for accommodation to ensure the timely submission of any required documentation and to ensure their treatment provider provides all necessary information.

Please review the packet carefully and contact the appropriate Accommodations Coordinator, Foundations of Medicine or Clinical Sciences, with any questions.

RUSM will make all reasonable efforts to review requests in a timely manner, but cannot guarantee that any requests will be fully reviewed and granted prior to any specific examination or phase of the curriculum.

All accommodations will be confidential, reasonable, and appropriate to the circumstances, allowing equal opportunity for students with disabilities, and will not infringe on the essential requirements of, or fundamentally alter, the medical education program of RUSM.

Application Process

Foundations of Medicine

Requests for accommodation during the foundational science portion of the curriculum are to be submitted in writing to the Accommodations Coordinator for Foundations of Medicine. The submission must include all the completed documents from the Accommodation Request packet as well as any supporting documentation.

It is recommended that students prepare the Accommodation Request packet and gather the required supporting documentation prior to matriculation and submit their completed packet at least four (4) weeks prior to matriculation or the date accommodation will be needed. Please note that packets may not be reviewed until they are complete as a determination on the accommodation may not be made until all necessary information has been submitted. RUSM reserves the right to request additional documentation in support of a request for accommodation at any time.

RUSM recognizes that sometimes the need for accommodation may arise after a student has begun medical studies and is already in Dominica. Under these circumstances the Counseling Center or Health Clinic may provide documentation in support of an Accommodation Request packet.

The Accommodations Coordinator will communicate in writing to the person applying for the accommodation all decisions made with respect to their Request for Accommodation.

Clinical Sciences

Requests for accommodation during the Clinical Sciences portion of the curriculum are made separately from the request made during the Foundations of Medicine portion of the curriculum. Requests for accommodation during the clinical sciences portion of the curriculum, are to be submitted in writing to the Accommodations Coordinator for Clinical Sciences. Please be advised that accommodations that were approved and or received during the Foundations of Medicine may not be approved or received during the clinical portion of the program.

RUSM applies the guidelines set forth both in the USMLE and NBME websites (www.USMLE.org or www.NBME.org) for requests for reasonable testing accommodations during the clinical semesters.

These are the same standards USMLE and NBME will require a student to meet when requesting accommodations for their Step examinations. Students are advised that USMLE and NBME may adhere to stricter standards and documentation requirements than students have encountered previously during the course of their education.

Students should not expect that accommodations granted during foundations of medicine will necessarily be granted during the clinical portion of the curriculum. Only students who are in the process of appealing a denial of accommodation from NBME may be granted for the requested accommodation during clinical exams, pending the outcome of the appeal to NBME.

Requests for accommodation for physical impairments, or other impairments that are not testing related, are also submitted to the Accommodations Coordinator for Clinical Sciences. However, the clinical site shall be responsible for reviewing and granting requests for accommodation for any physical impairments. RUSM has no decision making authority with respect to the outcome of these requests.

It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all accommodation requests and materials are up to date prior to commencing Clinical Sciences, and to submit this request to the Accommodations Coordinator for Clinical Sciences. It is recommended that students prepare the Accommodation Request packet and gather any supporting documentation at least four (4) weeks prior to beginning Clinical Sciences or the date accommodation will be needed. Please note that packets may not be reviewed until they are complete as a determination on the accommodation may not be made until all necessary information has been submitted.  Additional documentation in support of a request for accommodation may be requested by RUSM or the clinical site at any time.

The Accommodations Coordinator is available to assist RUSM students through the accommodation request processes during Clinical Sciences.

Accommodations and USMLE/NBME Testing

If a student requires an accommodation for any phase of the USMLE testing, it is the student’s responsibility to seek that accommodation directly from the NBME in compliance with their policies.

RUSM has no influence or decision making authority with regard to requests for reasonable accommodation made to NBME.

Though RUSM may have granted a reasonable accommodation for the same impairment, this prior grant of accommodations is not an indicator, nor does it ensure that NBME will also grant that accommodation. Disability accommodations for NBME examinations are determined solely by the policies or processes of the NBME. Instructions and guidelines (both general and specific to certain disabilities) for applying for testing accommodations are located in the USMLE and NBME websites (www.USMLE.org or www.NBME.org).

Please note that NBME’s review for accommodations may take longer than 90 days. It is recommended that the student prepare by gathering the current assessments and documentation required by NBME standards at least six months prior to submitting the application to NBME.

Students seeking accommodation through the NBME are still required to adhere to the curricular and administrative deadlines for sitting for USMLE Step examinations outlined in the Student handbook, including, but not limited to, the section on graduation requirements. Failure to obtain accommodation from NBME will not exempt a student from meeting those deadlines and requirements. It is the student’s responsibility to understand and comply with both RUSM and NBME timelines.

The Accommodations Coordinator is available to advise RUSM students regarding the accommodation request processes for USMLE. However, the Accommodation Coordinator, or anyone else at the University, cannot guarantee accommodations granted at RUSM will be granted by NBME and have no decision making authority with respect to the outcome of such requests.

External Facilities

While RUSM is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualifying students, RUSM cannot guarantee that any facility not under RUSM control, including clinical facilities, housing and oth ments, on or off the island of Dominica, will provide accommodations for individuals with disabilities.