Building a Culture of Accessibility: Accessing Wellness Resources to Improve Learning Environments

Handouts Media

Presented at 11:45am in Plaza Court 3 on Friday, November 19, 2021.



  • Heather Flett, Director Postgraduate Wellness Office, Postgraduate Medicine, UofT, University of Toronto
  • Tina Martimianakis, MA, MEd, PhD,, Director of Medical Education Scholarship and Associate Professor, Department of Paediatrics Scientist and Associate Director, Collaborations and Partnerships Wilson Centre for Research in Education, Hospital for Sick Children, Faculty of Medicine, University of TorontoToronto, Ontario

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Interactive/Discussion
  • Expertise Level: All Levels
  • Type of session: General Conference


This interactive workshop will describe and explore the effects of the Hidden Curriculum (HC) through cases that highlight cultural barriers to accessibility in medical education. This workshop will demonstrate a mechanism for programs to monitor the HC and identify priorities towards improved wellness and accessibility for learners.


Medicine is a context that lacks a strong culture of accessibility. It requires grassroots transformation as well as structural elements from University policies and processes to create cultural shifts towards wellness and accessibility priorities. As the language and priorities of Faculties of Medicine have shifted to include wellness and positive learning environments, monitoring the Hidden Curriculum can identify misalignments between the formal accessibility curriculum and the tacit practices and processes learners experience in training. The hidden curriculum in contrast to the formal curriculum is not a planned or deliberate educational activity. The term is used to refer to socializing influences that operate at the level of structure, culture and practice. The hidden curriculum can be found in routines, customs, and rituals that constitute the day-to-day practices of teachers and learners. These hidden curriculum influences can either reinforce or undermine the goals of the formal curricula. In other words, the hidden curriculum can be both positive and negative. This interactive workshop will describe and explore the effects of the hidden curriculum through cases that highlight cultural barriers to disability access in medical education. Themes will be identified to enable reflection on how the Hidden Curriculum impacts learner health and accessibility. This workshop will demonstrate a mechanism for monitoring the hidden curriculum to identify priorities towards improved wellness and disability access.


  1. Describe the hidden curriculum concept and how it intersects with wellness mandates in medical education
  2. Explore the effects of the hidden curriculum on health and accessibility in the Learning Environment
  3. Identify themes applicable to health and accessibility in medical education programs

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Faculty Development & Support, Other, Teaching about Accessibility in Curriculum, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Heather Flett

Dr. Heather Flett is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. She is an active educator in Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Continuing Medical Education.

She has served as the Director of the Postgraduate Wellness Office from January 2018 to present.

She is completing a Masters of Health Professions Education with Maastricht University, Netherlands. She is active in medical education and her graduate and scholarly work centres on health professional learner wellbeing and the learning environment.

Tina Martimianakis, MA, MEd, PhD,

Dr. Maria Athina (Tina) Martimianakis is Associate Professor and Director of Medical Education Scholarship in the Department of Paediatrics, and Scientist and Associate Director Collaborations and Partnerships at the Wilson Centre, University of Toronto. Tina studies the socio-politics of education with a particular focus on issues related to the hidden curriculum, identity and faculty and learner experiences. Her work has explored the impact of organizational change agendas on the wellbeing of health care providers and learners. She has also studied the relationship between discourses of the hidden curriculum and humanism, the politics and effects of knowledge stratification in pain clinics, and the discourse of globalization and its relationship to medical competency.


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