American with Disabilities Act/Student ADA

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) a disability is defined as an impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of an individual; a record of such an impairment; or, the perception that one has such an impairment.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School is firmly committed to providing full access to individuals with disabilities. In so doing, UMMS intends to fully comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, Diversity and Equal Opportunity Office guidelines, and Human Resources policies. Policies and procedures are in place to ensure that disabled applicants, students, staff, faculty, visitors, volunteers, and vendors do not experience discrimination in any way. The Diversity and Equal Opportunity Office, working in conjunction with the Department of Human Resources and the School Services Office, develops policies, procedures and training programs to ensure UMMS complies with all applicable federal and state regulations relating to individuals with disabilities. In addition, the Council on Equal Opportunity and Diversity evaluates policies regarding employees with disabilities, assesses adherence to these policies and makes recommendations for improvement to the Chancellor.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School’s (“UMMS”) School of Medicine, Graduate School of Nursing, and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences fairly consider all applicants who meet the admissions requirements, and further UMMS shall make every effort to provide reasonable accommodations for any individual with a disability.  According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA” – 42 USCA 1211 and following), an “individual with a disability” is defined as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.  The ADA does not name all “impairments” that are covered under the Act.  UMMS intends to fully comply with the ADA as well as all other applicable federal and state laws, codes and regulations, including but not limited to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 151C.    

The Academic Accommodations Committee (AAC) shall coordinate all student accommodation issues for UMMS’ three (3) schools in accordance with all federal and state laws, codes and regulations.  The AAC is co-chaired by Dr. Deborah DeMarco and Dr. Dawn Carpenter.

Once a student is admitted to one of UMMS’ schools, it is the student’s responsibility, if they desire, to notify one of the Student ADA Coordinators of their disability, requesting academic accommodations in writing, and providing appropriate documentation of the disability (see Documentation requirements listed below).  A student may request accommodations at any time prior to or during matriculation.  All requests for accommodations are reviewed and acted on by the AAC, which must determine, based on the documentation provided, if the student meets the definition of an individual with a disability and if the requested accommodation is reasonable.  The AAC is comprised of faculty or staff representatives from the three (3) schools, the UMMS Learning Specialist and a representative from Graduate Medical Education.  Other specialists may be called in as needed.  Regardless of any accommodation that may be approved, all students must meet the “technical standards” for their respective school, which standards are listed in each school’s handbook/webpage.

It is always the student’s choice whether or not to accept any approved accommodation and the student has the right to appeal the AAC’s decision.  Students who meet the definition of an individual with a disability and apply for accommodations, and/or who are approved for same shall not be treated adversely or with prejudice.  Confidentiality is a strict practice of the AAC and Academic Accommodations Appeals Committee (AAAC).  No ADA information goes into a student’s academic file.