Disability-related student groups at Johns Hopkins
  • The Equal Access in Science and Medicine committee is a subcommittee of the School of Medicine Graduate Student Association that provides advocacy, education, and community for trainees with disabilities, mental health conditions, and chronic illnesses on the East Baltimore campus. Although the committee is located in the School of Medicine, graduate students, medical students, and post-docs from across the School of Medicine (SOM), School of Nursing (SON), and School of Public Health (JHSPH) are welcome to join.
  • The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Mental Health Grad Network is a division-wide organization that 1) Supports current mental health efforts, 2) Seeks out mental health best practices by reaching out to other institutions and performing periodic reviews of literature on student mental health, and 3) Operates as a central repository for the preservation, dissemination, and implementation of effective strategies that can be deployed and adapted by departments and student groups. The ultimate goal of the Mental Health Grad Network is to create a sustained culture of mental health awareness and student well-being at JHSPH.
  • Advocates for Disability Awareness at JHU is a student-led affinity group for graduate and undergraduate students with disabilities at the Homewood campus. ADA provides support and advocacy for students with disabilities and conducts outreach in the Baltimore community related to disability awareness and services.
  • Students for Disability Justice is a university-wide effort to connect the leaders of student groups related to disability across Johns Hopkins and to organize inter-division and interdisciplinary events about disability awareness and advocacy. Students for Disability Justice was funded by a Diversity Innovation Grant from the Diversity Leadership Council. Read more about the project here.
  • Redefining Disability is a medical student interest group that partners with the Kennedy Krieger Institute to provide medical students with experience with working with people with disabilities and exposure to related careers.
Professional associations for scientists and clinicians with disabilities

Student Disability Services & Other Campus Resources

How do I register with Student Disability Services?
  • Students from all Johns Hopkins divisions can begin the SDS registration process online. You will be asked to provide your diagnosed disability(ies), previous accommodations and services, requested accommodations, and documentation from an appropriate provider. See the documentation guidelines and documentation form for more details. After filling out the online form, you will be contacted by your division’s Student Disability Coordinator.

  • If you’re not sure whether you want to register with Student Disability Services or have other questions, you can set up an appointment to speak with your division’s Student Disability Coordinator before completing the online form. The current list of Student Disability Coordinators can be found here.
  • Postdoctoral fellows with disabilities should follow the procedures for requesting faculty and staff accommodations.
When should I register with Student Disability Services?
  • It is up to you whether and when you want to register with Student Disability Services; however, it is generally easier to have accommodations in place to prevent a problem than it is to fix an issue once it arises.
  • Prospective students with disabilities can contact Student Disability Services to discuss how Johns Hopkins could provide reasonable and necessary accommodations. Communication with SDS is strictly confidential and will not be shared with the Office of Admissions.
  • Incoming students with disabilities can register with Student Disability Services before their first classes begin.
  • Current students can register with Student Disability Services at any time. Students may find that the transition from undergraduate to graduate study highlights a new need for accommodations or services. Students may also discover that accommodations are needed for the first time due to the change to remote classes. It is never too late to reach out to Student Disability Services.
Do I qualify for accommodations/services if I have ______ condition? What about mental health conditions and chronic illnesses?
  • The term “disability” is defined in general terms rather than with a list of medical conditions. The definition of disability includes: (1) a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, (2) a person with a record of a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, and (3) a person who is regarded as having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
  • Types of disabilities include (but are not limited to): Blind or Low Vision, Chronic Health Conditions, Cognitive Disabilities (ADD, LD), Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Physical Disabilities, and Psychological Disabilities.
  • You do not need to identify as having a disability to qualify for accommodations and services. Qualification is based on how your condition affects your ability to complete major life activities, which include activities like caring for yourself, sleeping, and concentrating. Two people with the same condition may qualify for different accommodations and services based on how the condition affects their ability to complete these activities.
I know Student Disability Services can help in the classroom, but do they offer support in clinical/lab settings?
  • A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a course, program, service, job, activity, or facility that enables a qualified individual with a disability to have an equal opportunity to attain the same level of performance or to enjoy equal benefits and privileges as are available to an individual without a disability.
  • Classroom and testing accommodations are the most well-known services provided by Student Disability Services. Examples of classroom and testing accommodations for specific types of disabilities can be found here.
  • However, accommodations are not limited to the classroom and testing environments. Accommodations for students in clinical or lab settings more closely resemble workplace accommodations available for faculty and staff, and may include making facilities accessible, adjusting work schedules, telework, restructuring jobs, the reallocation or redistribution of non-essential, marginal job functions, providing assistive devices or equipment, and modifying work sites.
  • What qualifies as a reasonable accommodation depends on your specific lab or clinical environment. Your Student Disability Coordinator is the best source of information for finding out how Student Disability Services can support you outside of the classroom.
What should I do if I’m already having a problem but haven’t registered with Student Disability Services?
  • Reach out to your Student Disability Coordinator using the contact information found here.
  • There is no responsibility for the university to provide retroactive accommodations prior to registration with Student Disability Services; for example, allowing you to retake previous tests with extended time.
  • If your issue involves discrimination or harassment on the basis of your disability, you can follow the reporting procedures here.
Can Student Disability Services help me if I don’t have a diagnosis yet?
  • Students with injuries or concussions may need temporary accommodations for a short-term disability. Provisional accommodations may be provided while students are seeking an evaluation to determine the presence of a disability or the specific services or accommodations needed. Please contact the Disability Services Coordinator at your school to discuss your particular situation.
  • If your health insurance does not cover adult learning disability assessments and you do not have the financial means to cover diagnostic testing, please reach out to your Disability Services Coordinator.
What should I do if I’ve registered with Student Disability Services but I’m not receiving the services and accommodations that I need?
  • There is a multi-step process for addressing grievances. First, discuss your concern with the Disability Service Coordinator at your school.
  • If your issue is not resolved, contact the Executive Director of Student Disability Services, Catherine Axe.
  • If your issue is still not resolved, you may file a formal grievance with the ADA Compliance Officer after attempting to resolve the concerns with your school’s Disability Service Coordinator and the Executive Director.
  • For more information, see the Accessibility at Johns Hopkins University site.
How is the university supporting students with disabilities with regard to COVID-19? What should I do if I have concerns about returning to campus?
  • Based upon CDC guidance, some people may be at higher-risk of experiencing negative COVID-19 outcomes due to their individual circumstances. Students who fall within the CDC’s definition of a “vulnerable person” (documented in the Return to Campus Guide) or with a documented disability may request reasonable accommodations to their educational environment. For the duration of the pandemic, SDS will review accommodation requests from vulnerable persons in in the same manner it reviews disability accommodations.
  • Information on the accommodations process can be found on Students can submit an online SDS Registration Form to begin the accommodations process or contact the SDS Coordinator for their school. As always, anyone who needs a religious accommodation, pregnancy or nursing parent adjustment can pursue those through Student Affairs.
  • Individuals who do not fall within the CDC’s COVID-19 guidelines defining a “vulnerable person,” but who have other concerns about returning to campus due to their individual circumstances (such as household members who may be at higher risk or a generalized fear), can engage in an interactive process to explore potential options for academic adjustments.
Other than Student Disability Services, what campus resources are available for students with disabilities, mental health conditions, and chronic illnesses?

Professional Development & More

Check back soon for more resources!