The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health has established technical standards for admission to, continued enrollment in, and graduation from the MD Program.
Conferral of a medical degree certifies that the recipient has demonstrated all the requisite abilities and skills to become a practicing generalist physician either with or without reasonable accommodation. This demonstration encompasses a variety of attributes critical to the provision of quality medical care, including the physical, cognitive, and emotional strengths necessary to complete the rigorous requirements of the medical school curriculum, as well as the social and behavioral skills expected of a competent health care provider.
UW School of Medicine and Public Health technical standards and disclosure of disabilities during the admission process
Admission to the UW MD Program is based primarily on each applicant’s previous academic and personal experience, as well as that student’s attestation that s/he is capable of meeting technical standards. Admission also reflects the judgment of the Admissions Committee that the admitted applicant possesses the required attributes to become a practicing generalist physician.
Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination against otherwise qualified applicants who may be able to meet the technical standards if provided reasonable accommodation. As such, all applicants are held to the same academic and technical standards, with reasonable accommodations as needed for students with disabilities. Applicants must have a diagnosed and documented disabling condition in order to request reasonable accommodations.
Accommodation requests made during the admissions process are reviewed by the McBurney Disability Resource Center, and implementation is determined by the Technical Standards committee at the School of Medicine and Public Health. After review, the Technical Standards Director will engage in an interactive process with applicants who are making accommodation requests. To request accommodations, please download the accommodation request form (pdf) and follow the instructions.
Upon completion of the interactive process, UW reserves the right not to admit any applicant who cannot meet the technical standards with or without reasonable accommodations. This right to not admit or the right to rescind admission applies in cases where reasonable accommodation cannot be provided, would result in a fundamental alteration to the technical standards, or would compromise patient care or the safety of the prospective and/or currently enrolled students.
Enrolled students are required to attest that they meet UW technical standards either with, or without, reasonable accommodations.
Technical standards and disclosure of disabilities for enrolled students
Annually, enrolled students in the School of Medicine and Public Health are required to attest that they meet the technical standards either with, or without, reasonable accommodations. A required attestation form is available on the Online Access to Student Information and Scheduling (OASIS) system.
A need for reasonable accommodation may arise during a student's enrollment at UW. The disability services request form (pdf) and instructions for the accommodations process are in OASIS Notices. Upon diagnosis and documentation of a disabling condition, the McBurney Disability Resource Center will review the accommodations request, and the Technical Standards committee in the school will determine implementation. After review, the Technical Standards Director will engage in an interactive process with the student to review technical standards and implement reasonable accommodations.
Upon completion of the interactive process, UW reserves the right to advise a student that reasonable accommodation cannot be provided, would result in a fundamental alteration to the technical standards, or would compromise patient care or the safety of prospective and/or currently enrolled students. Continued enrollment in the school will be determined by the academic process applied to all students.
Technical standards for admission and graduation
The practice of medicine requires a broad combination of cognitive, emotional, physical, interpersonal, and technical skills and attributes in order to provide highly effective patient care. To perform satisfactorily in School of Medicine and Public Health courses, and to serve as a practicing physician after graduation, the school has identified minimum standards required of all students who matriculate.
These standards must be met throughout medical school in order for students to make satisfactory progress and graduate. Any intention of the student to practice only a narrow part of the curriculum upon graduation does not alter the requirement that all students perform satisfactorily in the full curriculum and meet all graduation requirements.
The functional ability to observe lectures, required demonstrations and experiments, anatomic dissection, microscopic studies, instructional and clinical laboratories, standardized patient demonstrations, the clinic, and the patient's bedside is required. Observational skills in the healthcare field necessitate the functional ability to detect, determine, convey, and exchange information.
Candidates for admission must show evidence of effective communication skills. Students must be able to communicate effectively, sensitively, and efficiently with patients, their families, and all members of the health care team in a way that promotes and facilitates appropriate and timely patient care.
Students must have sufficient motor function to carry out basic laboratory techniques; elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers; perform a dissection of a human cadaver; and have sufficient motor ability to use a microscope. During clinical activities, students must be able to perform a complete physical examination, perform diagnostic and laboratory procedures, and provide general care and emergency treatment to patients.
Actions requiring coordination of gross and fine motor skills as well as equilibrium consist of, but are not limited to, performing all basic required physical examination skills performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, inserting IV catheters, inserting endotracheal tubes, applying pressure to stop bleeding, suturing simple wounds, assisting in surgical operations, and performing general obstetrical and gynecological procedures.
Intellectual, conceptual, integrative, quantitative abilities
Candidates must be able to measure, calculate, organize, retrieve, sequence, reason, analyze, and synthesize. Students must have the ability to synthesize data obtained in a clinical setting, perform clinical reasoning, and solve problems efficiently and effectively. Problem solving and clinical reasoning, the critical skills demanded of physicians, require all of these intellectual abilities. In order to complete the requirements for the MD degree, students must be able to demonstrate mastery of these skills and the ability to use them together in a timely fashion in medical problem solving and patient care.
Behavioral and social attributes
Candidates and students must possess the emotional health required to fully utilize all intellectual abilities, such as exercising good judgment, completing responsibilities promptly, and developing mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and their family members, staff, and colleagues. Students must be able to function effectively under stress, adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and adjust to the uncertainties inherent in patient care. All students must be able to work effectively as a member of a health care team. Additional attributes required for medical practitioners include compassion, integrity, effective interpersonal skills, and motivation.
When a request for accommodation is received, the McBurney Disability Resource Center reviews the request and the supporting documentation and, in consultation with the Technical Standards committee in the School of Medicine and Public Health, provides reasonable accommodations. It is within the scope of the Technical Standards Committee to involve individuals who are knowledgeable and/or professional in reviewing, analyzing, and assessing the implementation of the requested accommodations.
Further implementation of these standards is the responsibility of the faculty and staff of the school. It is the responsibility of Student Services to monitor the progress of every student during every semester. Failure to meet these standards, with or without reasonable accommodations, requires a student to appear before the Student Promotions and Academic Review Committee (SPARC) to determine a plan for the student to regain a successful path within the School of Medicine and Public Health.
Successful matriculation for all students is acquired through an interactive process between the individual student and UW staff, faculty, and Student Services. This interactive process provides the opportunity to achieve a medical degree either with or without reasonable accommodations.