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Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - Partnership teaches medical students to interact with patients with disabilities

Ernest F. Krug, III, M. Div., M.D., FAAP
The Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine is partnering with JARC, an organization that serves people with disabilities, to create a special educational program. This collaboration teaches medical students how to properly interact with people who have developmental disabilities.

The program runs each winter semester and includes all second-year OUWB medical students. They visit the JARC corporate offices in Farmington Hills for an hour-long monthly presentation and tour one of JARC’s homes and meet with residents.

Ernest F. Krug, III, M. Div., M.D., FAAP, professor of Biomedical Sciences and Pediatrics at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine leads the program for OUWB. He says this partnership will help medical students become better doctors in the future.

“We are very grateful for the relationship we have launched with JARC,” said Dr. Krug. “The orientation to intellectual and developmental disabilities by JARC’s staff is excellent and the opportunity to interact with residents in the JARC homes provides an invaluable experience for our students.”

The first part of the program teaches students about the history of services for persons with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Students are also taught the most effective ways to communicate with patients and how to treat someone who is non-verbal or prefers not to be touched. They are also introduced to JARC’s philosophy of Gentle Teaching, an agency-wide effort started in 2009 to make sure everyone was treated in a way that made them feel safe and cared about.

Finally, the program helps students understand and address parental concerns. “One of your roles as a physician is to give parents hope while still being realistic,” added Carol Kaczander, parent and contributor to the JARC educational training program. “We need your kindness and insight to help us see that our child’s life will be good and even great, it will just be different than the one we anticipated.”

About JARC:

JARC is a Farmington Hills-based nonprofit, nonsectarian agency dedicated to enabling people with disabilities to live full, dignified lives in the community and to providing support and advocacy for their families. For more information on JARC, visit

About OUWB:

The Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine is a collaborative, diverse, inclusive and technologically advanced learning community, dedicated to enabling students to become skillful, ethical, and compassionate physicians, inquisitive scientists who are invested in the scholarship of discovery, and dynamic and effective medical educators. Learn more about OUWB at