The CDDHV has a unique and valuable role in medical education in Victoria. Doctors at the Centre are supported by staff members from other disciplines in offering targeted educational sessions within the undergraduate medical curriculum at both Monash University and the University of Melbourne. People with a disability and their families and support workers collaborate in the design and delivery of a number of the sessions offered.
The inclusion of Developmental Disability Medicine in the undergraduate medical curriculum is important in providing students with opportunities to develop the attitudes, skills and knowledge required to provide high quality medical care to this patient population. Students also gain valuable generic skills and knowledge such as an understanding of the importance of multi-disciplinary teamwork in healthcare, and the importance of modifying their communication to the needs and capacity of individual patients. Many of the skills required to provide high quality care to people with developmental disabilities are transferable to other patient groups who live with chronic medical conditions, have cognitive or communication impairments, require the support of advocates and/or carers or are socially stigmatised and disadvantaged.
As an academic centre set up as a joint initiative of Monash University and the University of Melbourne, we have a close working relationship with curriculum coordinators of both medical schools. New opportunities for contributions to the medical courses have arisen as both medical faculties have launched new curricula over recent years. We currently contribute to the medical student curriculum at most year levels at both universities.
Most of our medical undergraduate teaching is delivered by the doctors at the CDDHV Centre. This underlines the relevance of the material covered to their medical practice, and provides role models and mentors for their work in this area. We work towards developing appropriate attitudes and providing a basic level of knowledge to all students and hope that some will be so inspired and excited by the area that they choose to develop special expertise in the evolving field of Developmental Disability Medicine.