DOJ secures an accommodation for medical board examination

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The Justice Department announced a settlement February 22 with the National Board of Medical Examiners, a private nonprofit organization that administers the U.S. Medical Licensing Examinations, in response to a failure to provide reasonable accommodations for a student with disabilities.

The Justice Department intervened in the case in October 2010 when the student’s request for accommodations on the exam was rejected for a second time. The Yale University School of Medicine student, who has dyslexia, had requested double the standard time to take the exam and for a separate testing area.

Under the settlement, the student will be allowed his request. The board will also be required to follow specific guidelines, detailed in the settlement, when examining cases where reasonable accommodation may be necessary and to “consider all evidence indicating whether an individual’s ability to read is substantially limited within the meaning of the (Americans with Disabilities Act).”

“In the past, demands for unnecessary or redundant documentation, burdensome and expensive repeated professional evaluations, or irrelevant evaluative testing unrelated to the ability to demonstrate one’s knowledge or skills on an examination prevented individuals with appropriately documented disabilities from pursuing their chosen professions.” said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, in a news release. “By entering into this agreement, NBME is doing its part to ensure that people with a reading disability like Mr. Romberg will have the opportunity to take the USMLE with the reasonable testing accommodations they need to demonstrate their knowledge and ability.”