In this podcast, Dr. Meeks and Bulk discuss the experiences of disabled learners in health professions, how to create a more inclusive environment in health professions education, and the emerging research on the value of #DocsWithDisabilities in healthcare professions. Dr. Bulk also recounts her own stories and struggles as a blind individual in Occupational Therapy.
Laura Bulk, PhD, Accessibility Advisor for students in health professional programs at The University of British Columbia (UBC).
Bio: Laura is a scholar, advocate, friend, learner, woman, teacher, mentor, daughter, accessibility advisor, mentee, disabled person, occupational therapist (OT), Christian, artist, and activist. A self-described ‘hat rack,’ Laura wears many hats, playing numerous roles in her academic, spiritual, recreational, professional, and familial communities. Often found preparing food for a small gathering, a meeting with colleagues, or a community event, Laura aims to contribute to shaping a more hospitable world for everyone wherever she can. Her heart for hospitality and belonging is reflected in her academic and advocacy work with the disability, higher education, and health professional communities. As the Accessibility Advisor for students in health professional programs at The University of British Columbia (UBC), she has the privilege of coming alongside learners and programs to explore how health professions education can be more hospitable and accessible to learners with disabilities. As a scholar, Laura is a Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow with the AcTinSite project exploring access in clinical education; she is the Principal Investigator on a justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion action-research project focused on Vancouver Community College's BScN program; and she is a collaborator on a series of projects pushing toward great access for health professional students with disabilities based at UBC, which includes the use of research-based theatre. She obtained a Bachelor's of anti-oppressive Social Work from the University of Victoria, and her Master of Occupational Therapy from UBC. Her doctorate focused on sense of belonging in higher education spaces - for staff, faculty, and students, and for disabled and non-disabled people. Laura is passionate about public scholarship, and as such her dissertation (Being Blind and Belonging in Academia) includes a workshop that she continues to facilitate in various institutions and settings, as well as research-based audio theatre collaboratively created with other members of the disability community. Laura also serves as a board member on the Coalition for Disability Access in Health Science Education’s Board. She is grateful to the Indigenous Peoples who have cared for the lands on which much of her living and working happens, including the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), and W̱SÁNEĆ Nations. Some keywords that describe her work include belonging, #HigherEd, health professions education, teaching and learning, accessibility, palliative care, occupational science, #DisabilityAsDiversity, allyship, and solidarity.