Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Rene Almeling


Medical students with chronic health conditions are an underrepresented and often overlooked population in medical education. Previous research has described the dual roles these students hold as both health care recipients and providers and has detailed challenges they face related to accommodations and accessibility. However, less is known about how these students navigate the day-to-day requirements of medical school and how having a chronic health condition shapes the medical education experience on an interpersonal level. To address this gap in knowledge, I conducted semi-structured interviews with eighteen medical students with chronic conditions and examined data using reflexive thematic analysis. Findings revealed the competing demands students face between medical school expectations and the need to manage their health. They work to reconcile these demands on structural and interpersonal levels using tools like accommodations and strategic communication and on an intrapersonal level through reconstructing narratives and re-assessing self-imposed expectations. These participants understand having a chronic health condition as just one piece of their larger sense of self. Participants approach this understanding in individualized and nuanced ways, yet all participants share a cohesive view that their experiences having chronic health conditions inform their medical practice for the better. This thesis concludes with recommendations drawn from participant interviews of ways medical schools can better support medical students with chronic health conditions.


This thesis is restricted to Yale network users only. It will be made publicly available on 05/10/2025