Student Disability Services

Student Affairs Student Success Guide to Disability Services

The Burnett School of Medicine (SOM) complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 regarding students with disabilities. Applicants for admission and current students, with or without reasonable accommodations, must be able to satisfy the technical standards for acceptance into, progression through, and graduation from the school of medicine.

The Burnett School of Medicine works in compliance with the disabilities services policy set forth by Texas Christian University (TCU). Newly admitted and current school of medicine students with documented disabilities can be considered for academic accommodations by following protocol laid out by Student Disability Services (SDS).

Accommodation-Request Procedure for Newly Admitted and Current SOM Students

  • Accommodations are not retroactive; therefore, a student seeking an academic accommodation should contact Stacy Mason, TCU Director for Access and Accommodations, at or 817-257-6567. To apply for accommodations with The Office of Student Access and Accommodation at TCU, all students must present relevant, verifiable, professional documentation and/or assessment reports that meet TCU’s official guidelines.
  • Each eligible student must present TCU’s Access and Accommodations office with verifiable, professional documentation and/or assessment reports that meet the university’s official guidelines.
  • TCU’s Access and Accommodations staff will have the student complete an intake packet, which includes a procedures acknowledgment form, a release of information form, and a student information sheet, when they submit their documentation for accommodation consideration. (Intake Appointment Fact Sheet).
  • Documentation presented to the TCU Access and Accommodations office and/or their designee shall be reviewed by the appropriate university professional(s) to verify the existence of a disability.
  • Each student’s application is handled on an individualized, case-by-case basis. The review is an interactive process, along with student input and dialogue using relevant documentation.
  • Further documentation may be required to substantiate the claim of a disability or to assist the university in determining appropriate accommodations.
  • The TCU Access and Accommodations office shall prepare a letter to a School of Medicine representative concerning specific, reasonable academic adjustments for the student. The Office of Student Affairs in conjunction with the TCU Access and Accommodations office will partner with the student to ensure the accommodations are met.
  • The Office of Student Affairs will coordinate with the student necessary meetings with faculty members to ensure that outlined accommodations are in place.
  • The Office of Student Affairs will document the School of Medicine’s accommodation plan and will keep it on file until it expires or is amended on advisement from Student Disability Services.

Documentation Requirements

Because the provision of accommodations and services is based upon assessment of the current impact of the condition(s) on academic performance and access to educational activities, it is in an individual’s best interest to provide recent and appropriate documentation.

Comprehensive documentation should include the following seven components:

  • Evidence of existing impairment;
  • Background information (e.g., Current and previous history, interview, review of records, etc.);
  • Relevant testing;
  • Specific diagnosis;
  • Rule-out of alternative diagnoses or explanations;
  • Rationale for accommodations request that is appropriate to postsecondary settings; and
  • School plans, such as a history of accommodation from (a) previous institution(s), an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), a Summary of Performance (SOP), or a Section 504 Plan, are useful but may not, in and of themselves, be sufficient documentation to establish the rationale for accommodations.

The TCU Access and Accommodations office generally requires documentation of a disability from within the last three years. For students with physical/systemic disabilities, mental health disabilities, cognitive disabilities (such as traumatic brain injury), and other disabilities that are subject to frequent change or are impacted by medication or other treatments, documentation should be current and within the past 6-12 months (determination will be made on a case-by-case basis).

Evaluation for Disabilities

Students who have never been evaluated for a disability or those in need of updated documentation must be assessed by a qualified provider/evaluator.

The name, title, and professional credentials of the provider/evaluator, including information about license or certification (e.g., a licensed psychologist), the area of specialization, employment, and the state/province in which the individual practices, should be clearly stated in the documentation.

The TCU Access and Accommodations office can assist students in finding a qualified professional for assessment. Contact for assistance obtaining appropriate documentation.

Appeals Process

Students who wish to appeal a decision regarding appropriate accommodations shall do so in writing to the Chief Inclusion Officer/Title IX Coordinator, who shall decide the appeal.

  • The Chief Inclusion Officer/Title IX Coordinator’s decision may be appealed within 7 calendar days in writing to the TCU Provost, whose decision may be appealed within an additional 7 calendar days in writing to the TCU Chancellor.
  • At any step during such an appeal, the person requesting the appeal may confidentially consult with appropriate professionals/advisors within or outside of the university.

Accommodations and Implications for USMLE

The United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®), the three-step examination for medical licensure in the U.S., provides reasonable and appropriate accommodations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for individuals with documented disabilities.

The USMLE provides general guidelines for requesting accommodations, which includes submission of the Request for Test Accommodation Form, a personal statement, an evaluation by a qualified professional, and relevant objective records of impaired functioning. Receiving accommodations during undergraduate medical education does not guarantee that a student will receive USMLE accommodations.

In its consideration of accommodation requests, the USMLE relies heavily on records of demonstrated impaired function, making it important for School of Medicine students to seek approval for and utilize accommodations early in their medical education.