Core Competencies on Disability for Health Care Education

The Alliance for Disability in Health Care Education (the Alliance) and the Ohio Disability and Health Program have partnered to improve the disability training that health care students receive. The purpose of this project is to develop a consensus on the disability competencies required for health care providers to provide quality care to patients with disabilities and to have them integrated into health education curricula.

Competencies are abilities and attributes that are essential to effective health care delivery.  Disability competencies, then, are the skills and attributes essential to providing quality health care to patients with disabilities. Health education programs are built around the core competencies of the profession.These competencies are designed to be cross-disability and interdisciplinary.

Who are we? 
The Alliance on Disability in Health Care Education (website) is a not-for-profit organization of medical school faculty, nursing school faculty, and other health care educators who are working to integrate disability-related content and experiences into health care education and training programs. The Ohio Disability and Health Program is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded project that works to improve the health of Ohioans with disabilities through physical activity, nutrition intervention, tobacco cessation, and training and education initiatives.

What was the consensus process?
We asked for the help of medical professionals, educators, and people who live and/or work with disability to help us refine a draft set of disability competencies as part of a Competency Development Committee. Using the Delphi Method, the Committee first reviewed and offered feedback on the draft competencies and the competencies were then revised based on the provided feedback. The revised draft was sent out to the Committee and a second wave of feedback was collected and the draft competencies again were revised. Survey responses about this third draft set of competencies were collected and it was determined that they included what health care providers need to understand about disability to provide quality care to patients with disabilities. As of April 2018, the Competency Development Committee therefore reached consensus on a final draft of the Core Competencies on Disability for Health Care Education. 

Across the six competencies, over 90% of participants rated the competency either mostly or completely clear.

Over 95% of respondents rated each of the competencies either mostly or very important.

92% of respondents thought the competencies and sub-competencies address the range of knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary for health care students to appropriately and effectively address the needs of people with disabilities either very well or extremely well.

84.4% of respondents thought the competencies are applicable to people across the full spectrum of disabilities, including behavioral, developmental, mobility, and sensory disabilities (cross-disability).

96.2% of respondents agreed or completely agreed the competencies were appropriate for use across health professions (cross-disciplinary).

What is the next step for integrating the competencies into health education curricula?

The Alliance is asking for endorsements of the Core Competencies from those whose who would like to see them integrated into existing curricula for future health care providers. Please complete and submit the following endorsement form if your organization,institution, board or council would like to endorse these competencies as necessary standards for health care education. 

How can I access a copy of the Core Competencies?
Please visit the link below.

Core Competencies on Disability for Health Care Education.


What resources are available to help make the case for endorsement to my organization?
Please visit the link below to access an Endorsement Toolkit.

Toolkit to help make the case for endorsement

How can my organization support and provide an endorsement of the Core Competencies?

You may choose one of the following ways to provide endorsement:

  1. Submit the online form below.
  2. Use the following Endorsement Template to create a personalized letter of endorsement and email it to us at Please note that this template includes only suggested language and can be modified.
  3. Contact the Ohio Disability and Health Program to make other arrangements for endorsement.

Endorsement Template (editable)*

How can my organization commit to including disability in health care education?

Sample Resolution on Core Competencies on Disability (editable)*

These documents contain suggested language that may be adapted by the user.

Core Competencies Endorsement Form

My organization is committed to quality health care for people with disabilities and hereby endorse the Core Competencies on Disability for Health Care Education. I affirm that people with disabilities should have equitable access to high quality health care. Including disability content and standards in health care education will prepare future providers to deliver appropriate, person-centered, quality health care to people with disabilities across the lifespan. I affirm that the Core Competencies on Disability for Health Care Education captures the standards that are critical to providing quality health care for people with disabilities.

Contact us at if you have questions about this project or need accommodations to fully participate in this activity.