Frequently Asked Questions
Mutual mentorship is a model of mentoring in which participants assemble in groups to support each other through problems specific to a shared marginalized identity. Instead of assigning formal mentor-mentee pairings, this model assumes that every individual has something to offer as a mentor and something to learn as a mentee. Consequently, participants can fit into the mentor, mentee, or both roles per their lived experiences as they interact with the community. This arrangement is ideal for our community because a person’s level of experience navigating medicine with a disability often doesn’t correlate with their stage of professional training. By employing the mutual mentorship model, we aim to create a space where participants can forge their own meaningful relationships with other disabled healthcare professionals, whether they be friendships, mentoring relationships or both.
DM3P does not formally assign mentor/mentee pairings. Our model of mentoring, mutual mentorship, is nonhierarchical by design. This arrangement offers a venue to organically establish informal mentorships, which are thought to result in better outcomes than formally assigned mentor/mentee pairings. It also provides participants an opportunity to gain multiple mentors to meet their differing needs.
This being said, participants are most welcome to forge formal mentor/mentee relationships on their own. Though we cannot commit to pairing all DM3P members, we are happy to refer you to participants who have certain knowledge and lived experience that is relevant to your situation. You can also connect to community members with particular types of disability or at particular stages of training in medicine through the private LinkedIn and Discord groups.
For the monthly Zoom meetings, we provide CART closed captioning and enable Zoom’s automated captioning system by default. We can also hire an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter and email you the slides for the monthly meetings ahead of time upon request.
For the virtual social time before and after the main monthly Zoom meetings, we cannot offer CART captioning at this time due to funding constraints. However, we do enable Zoom’s automated captioning system during social time.
For both the main meeting and the social hours, we allow our participants to freely choose whether or not to turn their cameras on during virtual meetings.
Finally, please email us with additional accommodations requests or accessibility concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please allow us at least one week to meet your needs. If you ask for a more systemic change, it may take us longer, but we will incorporate any accessibility suggestions as soon as we can. We want to give you the best experience possible!
While the vast majority of DM3P’s participants identify as disabled, you don’t have to be disabled to join us. The requirements to be accepted into DM3P are (1) desire to learn about and combat ableism in healthcare, and (2) willingness to respect the virtual meetings as a safe space designed to center the needs of disabled healthcare workers and trainees. If you are non-disabled, then it is extremely important to be a good ally to people with disabilities during meetings by prioritizing their needs and experiences. For more information on allyship, please refer to the frequently asked question about what it means to be an ally to the disabled healthcare professional community (below).
Many different conditions can count as disability. Examples of disability that are represented among our current DM3P members include but are not limited to…
- Mobility impairments (e.g., quadriplegia, use of mobility aids like walkers and wheelchairs)
- Sensory impairments (e.g., blindness, low vision, deafness, or hard of hearing)
- Chronic illnesses (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, genetic diseases)
- Cognitive and learning disabilities (e.g., ADHD, autism, dyslexia)
- Mental illness (e.g., mood disorders, anxiety disorders, PTSD, adjustment disorder)
The above examples are not all-encompassing. You might identify as a person with a disability even if your condition doesn’t fit the categories in this list. Conversely, you may have one of the above conditions but identify as non-disabled. Both stances are valid and respected by the DM3P community. Again, the way you identify has no bearing on whether you can join the community.
An ally is someone who actively supports the rights of a minority or marginalized group without being a member of that group. An ally continually looks within to evaluate and unlearn their own biases. They also outwardly challenge behaviors and institutional structures that oppress marginalized groups.
Allies recognize that because they are not part of the minority they have committed to support, it is not in their place to speak for or over members of that minority. They spread the word about how best to promote inclusion and equity for these communities by promoting the ideas and preferences of its members over their own opinions. They combat oppressive systems using strategies and philosophies expressly endorsed by the community, rather than their own agendas or belief systems.
Examples of allyship to the disabled health professional community include but are not limited to the following:
- Educating yourself about the stereotypes and challenges people with disabilities face in and out of the clinical workplace. This includes a commitment to research these issues on your own, to offset the burden on disabled people to educate you.
- Listening to perspectives of disabled healthcare professionals without negating their lived experiences, should they wish to share their thoughts
- Evaluating yourself for and unlearning any ableist opinions you may have about people with disabilities in your personal and professional life
- Challenging inaccurate and pejorative comments about disabled people
- Acting as an upstander or a supportive bystander when someone is subjected to ableist discrimination in your presence
- Educating your colleagues, superiors, juniors, friends, and family members about best practices for disability inclusion in healthcare and the value of instituting these practices
- Promoting and consuming the works and perspectives of disabled healthcare professionals Participating in activism at the local, state, and/or national level to advance disability inclusion in and out of healthcar
- Committing yourself to a career such as disability scholarship or disability law that advances the rights of people with disabilities in and out of healthcare