Supporting equal access for students at the IHP

Students at the MGH Institute are supported by a caring staff with policies and procedures to ensure equitable access. Accessibility Resources (AR) aims to advocate for and support students with disabilities on campus and arrange accommodations to help them succeed.

MGH Institute of Health Professions views disability as an important aspect of diversity and is committed to providing equal access to learning opportunities for all students.  Accessibility Resources (AR) is the campus office that collaborates with students and faculty to provide and/or arrange reasonable accommodations for students who have documented disabilities. 

Vision: We envision MGH IHP as a fully accessible, integrated, and inclusive setting that recognizes students with disabilities as one of the many groups that make our campus community a diverse community.

Mission: Through providing leadership and guidance regarding accommodations and universal access, which requires a collaborative relationship among all members of the community, Accessibility Resources aims to engage the community, empower students, enhance equity and provide a platform for innovation and inclusion. We achieve this by mitigating competitive disadvantages and environmental barriers that impact learning as well as by supporting faculty in the classroom and our colleagues across the Institute. We provide individual accommodations when environmental barriers cannot be eliminated and assistive technology that fosters independent, self-determined learners.

According to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) as amended in 2008, a disability is defined as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.”

Activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.

Major life activities also includes bodily functions including, but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.

We take student privacy very seriously. It is important to us and we encourage students to take it seriously, too. Disability-related documentation, including medical records and correspondence about accommodations will be managed in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), related legislation, and Institute policy.

Information concerning disabilities and accommodations will only be shared on a need-to-know basis, and only for the purpose of assuring appropriate accommodations in support of student success. No information related to disabilities or accommodations is included in official records (such as transcripts) for students and alumni.

We encourage students to discuss the logistics of their accommodation request(s) with relevant faculty and/or clinical instructors and their faculty advisor at the start of each course.

Any student who would like guidance on this aspect of managing accommodations should contact our office. Students are reminded to use good judgment if they decide to discuss accommodations with classmates or others.

Accommodations Process

To be eligible for disability-related services, individuals must have a documented disability as defined by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and/or the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and accommodations must be necessary in order for the individual to have equal access.

A person with a disability is someone who:

  • has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,
  • has a history or record of such an impairment (such as cancer that is in remission), or
  • is perceived by others as having such an impairment (such as a person who has scars from a severe burn).

There is a wide variety of disabilities. Some are visible and some are not. A non-exhaustive list of potential disabilities includes: impairments of vision, hearing, or mobility; learning, disorder; psychiatric/mental health disorders; brain injury; autism;  ADHD. In order for a diagnosis or condition to be considered a disability, it must substantially limit one or more major life activities.

Accommodations must be necessary to provide equal access and must be reasonable. Institutions are prohibited from making accommodations which pose a fundamental alteration to curriculum or course design/delivery. 

As one part of the eligibility process, students must be able to provide relevant documentation of their identified disability or temporary disability. There are a variety of forms of documentation which may be relevant to the decision-making process.

Documentation must come from a licensed provider with experience to evaluate conditions in the appropriate field, and minimally must include: a specific diagnosis, information on how the diagnosis was determined, information on how the diagnosis substantially limits one or more major life activities/what are the barriers to access. 

Recommendations made by providers for specific accommodations may be helpful in making determinations, however they are not the only factor considered and provider recommendations are not a guarantee of specific accommodations.

If the initial documentation provided to Accessibility Resources is incomplete or inadequate to determine the extent of the disability and appropriate accommodations, AR has the discretion to request additional documentation or require supplemental assessment. 

MGH Institute of Health Professions and Accessibility Resources has the right to deny services and accommodations that are determined to be unnecessary to ensure equal access, that would result in a fundamental alteration of curriculum or course design, that would impose an undue burden, or that are not supported by documentation. We also reserve the right to provide accommodations/assistive technology solutions that are not the exact requested, but which provide equal benefit.

It is the student’s responsibility to provide documentation, and all costs associated with obtaining documentation will be borne by the student. The cost of any assessments or evaluations necessary to provide documentation, including any supplemental assessments should initial documentation be insufficient, are the responsibility of the student. AR staff is happy to speak with and offer guidance to any students who have questions about obtaining evaluation or assessment.

Students who are initially applying for accommodations are required to have an individual meeting with AR staff. During this meeting you should be prepared to discuss your specific disability/diagnosis; the impact of this diagnosis on your functioning – particularly in the academic and clinical/fieldwork settings; barriers to access you experience/have experienced; and any history of accommodations. This meeting is also an opportunity for students to become familiar with the accommodations process at the IHP and the rights and responsibilities of all parties, as well as to ask any questions they may have. 

For on-line pre-requisite students, this meeting is waived if appropriate determinations can be made from submitted documentation.

Upon submission of the Accommodation Request Form, AR staff will reach out to schedule an initial meeting. If you would like to request an informational meeting prior to submitting the form please ihpar [at] mghihp.edu (email the AR office)

Accessing Services

Request for Accommodations

Semester Accommodation

Once approved for accommodations, students use this form each semester to have their Accommodation Notification Letters distributed.

Accommodation Notification Letter

Following approval of accommodations, a notification letter will be sent from us to the student, course instructors, and key program designee(s) who directly assist in implementing the accommodations.

Appeal

Students may pursue an informal resolution by meeting with the Director of Accessibility Resources and Wellness. If no satisfactory resolution is reached, student should initiate a formal complaint in writing to the Dean of Student Affairs and Services. It is not required to seek an informal resolution.

A formal resolution complaint must be submitted in writing to the Dean of Student Affairs and Services within 5 business days from the time the student knew or could reasonably be expected to have known of the action that is the subject of the complaint. It should include information regarding the specific action being complained of and the date it occurred, the grounds upon which the appeal is based, and the relief requested. If the nature of the complaint is time sensitive, please explain why in your statement.

The Dean will review the complaint, and contact the student to schedule an appeal hearing within 10 days of the date it was received.

All time frames referred to in this procedure refer to academic calendar days.

Hearing

Once the Dean has received your statement, they will determine if additional participants are needed at the hearing. For example, faculty or staff or classmates involved in the circumstances of your concern. Therefore, please be as specific as possible if there are others you wish to involve.

During the hearing, you will have an opportunity to summarize your appeal, and ask questions. The Dean will lead the hearing and will have questions for you after reading your complaint.

You may bring one individual to join you in the hearing, to take notes or offer support. This is optional. This person may not speak or interrupt the meeting in any way.

Contact Accessibility Resources

We are part of the Office of Student Affairs and Services. We welcome student questions, listen to their concerns, and respond to their needs and situations.

MGH Institute Logo on stone

Our office supports equal access to programs and services for students who experience a disability.

Our office supports equal access to programs and services for students who experience a disability.

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Director of Accessibility Resources and Wellness Office of Student Affairs and Services

Director of Accessibility Resources and Wellness Office of Student Affairs and Services

Emily "M" Meyer, MS, BCBA

Accessibility and Wellness Coordinator Office of Student Affairs and Services

Accessibility and Wellness Coordinator Office of Student Affairs and Services

Accessibility Resources can help with acquiring adaptive/assistive technology

Some examples:

  • Dragon: a speech recognition software that allows voice-to-text dictation. This can be helpful to students who need note takers, but also to those who prefer using their voice instead of a keyboard.
  • JAWS: a screen reading software that enables students who are blind or visually impaired to navigate the internet and Windows programs by using keystrokes to input data.
  • Listening devices are available for students who need them.
  • Amplified stethoscopes can be loaned out for students to use in their clinical placements.

There are a variety of outside resources available to students with disabilities and the MGH Institute population at large. Below are a few places to begin your search.

Accessibility Resources: Know Your Rights & Responsibilities

Student Rights Faculty Rights
  • Equal access to academic content and educational opportunities, including Institute sponsored events and activities
  • Confidentiality of all disability-related information as required by law
  • Reasonable and appropriate accommodations and academic adjustments as determined through the interactive process.
  • Terminate and/or request changes to accommodations at any time by contacting AR
  • Not self-identify if accommodations are not being requested
  • Appeal a decision or submit a complaint by following the process outlined by the Institute
  • Maintain the rigor and the fundamental nature of their course content
  • Evaluate the academic work of students with disabilities according to the same criteria of evaluation utilized for all other students in the class
  • Request an official Accommodation Notification Letter from AR before providing requested accommodations
  • Consult with AR if you have questions, concerns, or require clarifications or support to implement accommodations

 

Student Responsibilities Faculty Responsibilities
  • Follow the interactive process outlined by AR to receive accommodations, including requesting accommodation renewals for each course you require them in, each semester, in a timely manner
  • Establish a plan with each professor regarding the specifics of how accommodations will be provided. Make sure this agreement is clear to both of you.
  • Clarify/confirm testing accommodations with the instructor prior to each exam.
  • Maintain on-going contact with AR regarding changes to accessibility needs or concerns
  • Maintain the IHP code of conduct and meet the academic standards of your program
  • Maintain student confidentiality regarding disability and accommodation information
  • Ensure that student accommodations are implemented
  • Determine the specifics of how you will provide accommodations and communicate this clearly with the student
  • Clarify/confirm testing accommodations with the student prior to each exam
  • Direct students who have self-identified or indicated they may have a disability to AR

 

  • Identify policies and procedures for how to obtain accommodations and modify policies and procedures as necessary
  • Request medical/supporting documentation from students
  • Deny a request for accommodations or academic adjustments if documentation demonstrates that the request is not warranted, or if student fails to provide appropriate documentation.
  • Clearly communicate policies and procedures to students, faculty, and staff
  • Maintain student confidentiality, including any information communicated verbally or in writing
  • Engage in fair, unbiased, thorough review of all accommodation requests
  • Select among equally effective accommodations
  • Refuse an unreasonable accommodation or adjustment that imposes a fundamental alteration to an academic program.
  • Discuss academic requirements and technical standards with faculty and staff to help determine appropriate accommodations and/or adjustments
  • Treat each student request on an individual case-by-case basis
  • Communicate approved accommodations and/or any changes with students and designated faculty in a timely manner (generally 5-15 business days)
  • Stay current on best practices in the field

Frequently Asked Questions

Students are encouraged to request services as early as possible after deposit, however students can apply at any time. Students should fill out the Accessibility Resources Request form, and provide current documentation of a disability.

Once registered with AR, students will need to submit a Semester Accommodations Request Form each semester to AR. AR staff will then draft an Accommodation Letter which will be sent to the faculty, student, and appropriate program designee(s) who assist with implementation of accommodations.

While faculty will receive the majority of Accommodation Letters within the first couple of weeks of the semester, they may be sent at any point in the semester. Accommodations are not retroactive, and will only be in place from the point the letter is received forward.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Extended time for exams and quizzes
  • A reduced distraction environment for exams and quizzes
  • Note taker
  • Audio recording of class lectures
  • Textbooks and course materials in an alternate format
  • Paper copies of exams and quizzes

Testing accommodation arrangements vary from program to program. The designee in each program is copied on accommodation memos.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA revised 2010) define service animals as dogs individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.  

View Policy

If a student discloses to you that they have a disability, refer them to Accessibility Resources. Have contact information handy, and follow up with an email to the student and copy ihpar [at] mghihp.edu.

If a student is consistently not finishing exams on time, reporting an inability to focus, has repeated absences, or mentions knowing the exams but still failing exams, it is ok to tell the student about different resources that are available to them, including the Academic Support Counselors and Accessibility Resources.

Yes. Students are entitled to reasonable accommodations for clinical placements. The student should follow the same procedure for applying for accommodations and documenting the disability.

A determination about what accommodations can be made in the clinical placement will be a collaborative effort among Accessibility Resources, the academic program, and the student. Students who use accommodations in the classroom setting will not necessarily need accommodations in the clinical setting.

Each request will be individually assessed and accommodations will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

MGH Institute of Health Professions views disability as an important aspect of diversity and is committed to providing equitable access to learning opportunities for all students. Accessibility Resources (AR) is the campus office that collaborates with students and faculty to provide and/or arrange reasonable accommodations for students who have documented disabilities.

To learn more about the accommodations process visit  the Accessibility Resources website: https://www.mghihp.edu/overview/accessibility-resources, or e-mail ihpar [at] mghihp.edu