Qudsiya Naqui joins me to discuss the medical view of disability. Qudisya is a lawyer, disability justice activist, and host of the podcast, Down to the Struts, which focuses on disability, design, and intersectionality.

Here are a few additional resources, which are mentioned in the interview:

Highlights include:

1:59 – QN: “The medical model centers the disability or impairment on the individual defect of a person’s body. (The social model of disability) instead focuses on the idea that systems and structures in our society are disabling. So in other words, people are not impaired or defective; it’s the fact that their environment is not built to be accessible to them or inclusive of their needs – that is what is actually a disabling factor.”

13:45 – QN: “There’s an ableism built into the medical training system itself. That idea that you are supposed to be sort of superhuman. And I think healthcare providers tend to presume that about themselves and that also contributes to and exacerbates the ableism. And the belief that people who are disabled, who are their patients, who they’re caring for, are less than they are. And that really does affect their ability to provide the highest quality of care that meets people where they are.”

16:55 – QN: “The physicians are treating the diabetes. They’re not really thinking about, well, we need to bring more affordable, nutritious, high-nutrition foods to this neighborhood where these patients are living.”

18:20 – QN: “Again, this ties back to the medical model of disability, of personal responsibility. Like, your impairment or your disability is your problem, your burden to bear. And you know, we, as the medical person, are the one who’s solving that versus thinking about it more as, there are social conditions, political conditions, other types of conditions that are resulting in these health outcomes. And we need to think about that when we think about how to treat someone.”

23:16 – QN: “If there was more integration between the medical profession and, for example, rehab services or like just thinking through with someone … okay, you know, I work, so I’m losing my vision really fast – the hypothetical ‘I’ – I work in a really fast-paced environment. I have to use the computer a lot. You know, trying to maximize my vision doesn’t seem like the most efficient thing, because that takes me a long time. Doctors saying, okay, maybe you should consider screen reading software. We disconnect these things like vocational rehabilitation services, they seem like a separate thing from your medical treatment. But I would argue that these things are really integrated because part of your overall wellness is this feeling of feeling successful and being able to do the things you want to do in life. Like that’s a significant part of it.”

Leading with Health is hosted by Jennifer Michelle. Jennifer has a Master’s in Public Health and Epidemiology and is a former EMT. As President of Michelle Marketing Strategies, Jennifer specializes in healthcare marketing. She is on a mission to create a healthcare system that actually cares about the patients and the providers.