Barriers to inclusion: Service dog handlers in science laboratories

J. Ramp, C. G. Parker, J. S. Rhodes, P. Malik

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Despite institutional claims of the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM, people with disabilities remain under-represented. Current policies neglect to explicitly address inclusion of the growing population of students with disabilities who rely on service dogs, specifically in accessing teaching and research laboratories. With the increase in students registering for post-secondary disability services, the science community has outgrown general policies that primarily outline steps for exclusion of student service dog handlers. Here we discuss barriers and areas in need of improvement and then outline explicit guidelines for inclusion that are currently absent from existing policies. Particular concerns arise in teaching and research laboratories where live animals are present, and we recommend further research is needed to make informed decisions. In order to realize our vision of a diverse STEM workforce, academic institutions and professionals need to recognize barriers to inclusion and consider their role in making science accessible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101070
JournalDisability and Health Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Disability
  • Education
  • Inclusion
  • Science
  • Service dog

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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