UCSD Hosts Panelists from The Arc of San Diego

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The Arc of San Diego had the exciting opportunity to enhance the learning of future doctors at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine on January 31, 2024 by providing a panel of self-advocates and passionate staff members. This fantastic panel was orchestrated by Dr. Nina Bihani, MD, and her team, as part of a grant to revolutionize medical school education concerning the treatment of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

Self-advocates Steven Kerwood, Vickie Lawrence, and Nancy White had the opportunity to share their unique perspectives to the posed question, "What do future doctors need to know about providing care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities?". Additionally, Arc staff members voiced their perspective as well. Esther Coit, The Arc of San Diego Board Chair and parent of an individual with a disability, also shared her valuable insight to the question, saying "Doctors do not often have time to get to know them (patients with intellectual disabilities). What I ask is that if you are going to care for someone with a disability, make sure that your staff and your office knows that it will take extra time."

The ensuing conversation about the topic was nothing short of inspiring. Self-advocate Vickie Lawrence shared, "Get to know the background of our health. I do not make up pain. Listen to us, hear us, and have proper communication." Brittany Allen, Arc staff, vocalized, "Some of the individuals we support communicate in very different ways, and some of their baseline behaviors can be perceived as abnormal when compared to the general population. But take the time to listen to the care staff and the individuals themselves. It allows for a better understanding of their needs."

The resounding takeaways from the conversation were centered around the importance of doctors personally getting to know their patients with IDD, listening to their concerns, and allowing enough time to communicate with their patients directly.

The Arc of San Diego seizes every opportunity to amplify the powerful voices of our clients and their care team. This monumental collaboration with students at UCSD School of Medicine helps us forge a path towards a future where empathy and understanding reign supreme in the realm of medical care for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Pictured: Brittany Allen (staff), Esther Coit (parent/Board Chair), Steven Kerwood (self-advocate), Vickie Lawrence (self-advocate), Tanzania Mack (staff), Trenette Martinez (staff), Alba Sanchez (staff), Nancy White (self-advocate)