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Bender, Deborah E.; Overman, Bonnie; & Arnold, Martha S. (2005). The Americans with Disabilities Act: Explaining Legislative Intent through Experiential Learning. Journal of Health Administration Education, 22(4), 435-458.


Imparting the requirements of healthcare workforce legislation to students is only one aspect of preparing undergraduate healthcare management students to be effective managers. On first review, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) appears quite straightforward. The Act applies to any employer with 15 or more employees and covers a full range of employment practices. What the law does not address are the skills in empathy and decision-making that are needed for effective implementation of the law. In this article, the authors describe an experiential learning model that was designed to teach healthcare management majors, (soon-to-be healthcare managers), not only the provisions of the ADA law but also skills in empathy and critical decision-making. Reflections from student participants are included. These reflections are examples of changes in students' empathy occurring as a result of participation in the ADA Experience. The authors also present actual case requests for "reasonable accommodation" made by persons employed in a healthcare setting.

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Health Administration Education


Bender, Deborah E.
Overman, Bonnie
Arnold, Martha S.