March 18, 2022

MDisability monthly meetings grow into a virtual network opportunity for disability health providers, researchers, and medical students.

Since MDisability was established in 2019, a virtual community has been created that draws disability health experts from around the country to speak, many of whom have become regular attendees. The meetings provide networking opportunities that allow attendees to share, learn and work with like-minded and disability-focused learners and seasoned healthcare professionals.

The MDisability core team, which includes Family Medicine faculty and staff, as well as former MDisability interns and medical school students interested in disability health, meet once a month to share program updates, discuss the team’s latest disability health research and projects, and learn ways we can all support each other’s work. 

The monthly meetings were originally held in person at the University of Michigan North Ingalls Building (a.k.a. the NIB), with conference call arrangements made on occasion for team members who were unable to attend in person. 

Virtual meetings weren’t standard then and participants and guests preferred to attend in person. 

Fast forward to March 2020 and everyone and everything has gone virtual! We all had to get used to working remotely and meeting virtually. With Michigan Medicine’s adoption of Zoom’s HIPAA compliant platform, accessibility, closed captioning and live transcription further enhanced the options of guests we could invite to MDisability meetings.

Starting in January 2021, the format of the monthly meetings changed to keep pace and expanded to include invited guest speakers – community and healthcare leaders working to advance disability inclusion in MDisability’s focus areas. Those areas include research, patient care and medical education for students and faculty. 

An impressive roster of past guests have joined the MDisability-led forum, presenting on a wide variety of disability health topics including: disability health medical school curriculum, patient care for women with disabilities, and healthcare accessibility. What started out as a small, internal meeting has grown over the past year into a virtual community and network of disability health leaders across the country! 

Our past guest speakers and their presentation topics from 2021 to date of this eNewsletter include:



Building strong collaborative partnerships. How can we work best with a not-for-profit and community?

Alex Gossage
Executive Director, Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living (AACIL) 

Tyler James, MS, CHES
Postdoctoral Candidate for Research at University of Michigan Medical School



Managing New Intimate Relationships In (and Out of) Dementia Care

Kevin Mintz
Postdoctoral Fellow in Clinical Bioethics at NIH
PhD in Political Science and Doctor of Human Sexuality 

Digital Accessibility

Noa Kim
Former Research Informatics Project Manager
Department of Family Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School

Disability Health Rotations for Residents

Rebecca Northway, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor
Associate Program Director, Internal Medicine & Pediatrics University of Michigan Health
Team Physician, USA Hockey National Team Development Program



Disability health medical school curriculum

Cori Poffenberger, MD
Clinical Associate Professor, Emergency Medicine
Director of Faculty Development and Wellness
Stanford University

Overview - U-M Initiative on Disability Studies (UMInDs) 

Robert Adams 
Associate Professor, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning + Stamps School of Art and Design
Director, University of Michigan Initiative on Disability Studies [UMInDS]
Faculty, The Center for Ethics, Society, and Computing [ESC], University of Michigan



Virtual care, Accessible clinic

Margaret Punch, MD 
Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Director of Virtual Care and MiChart Optimization for the Michigan Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Associate Chief Medical Information Officer for Patient Engagement at Michigan Medicine

Christa Moran, NIC, MEd 
Interpreter Services Supervisor, Michigan Medicine Interpreter Services Program

James Cech
ASL/English Interpreter, BEI 3; M/MH, DB endorsed
Michigan Medicine Interpreter Services Program



Disability health fellowship

Alicia Wong, MD, MA, MPH 
Faculty Fellow, Department of Family Medicine, UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital

Patricia Meyer, DO 
Family Medicine Specialist, Denver, Colo.






Disability education for healthcare providers, and healthcare promotion and access for people with disabilities.

Susan Havercamp, PhD, FAAIDD 
Associate Professor, Center for Psychiatry and Behavioral Health
Ohio State University College of Medicine
Ohio State University Nisonger Center



Disability consciousness in medical education, training and practice

Christopher D. Lunsford, MD
Pediatric Physiatrist, Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine
Departments of Orthopaedics and Pediatrics, Duke University Health System



Bridging Depression and Disability Research in the Sen Lab: a review of 3 studies

Lisa M. Meeks, PhD
Founder and Director, ODAI & SUMMIT
Visiting Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Co-Host: Docs with Disabilities Podcast



Stanford Medicine Abilities Coalition (SMAC) and the emphasis on disability as diversity in medical education

Peter D. Poullos, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Radiology and Gastroenterology
Founder and Co-chair, Stanford Medicine Abilities Coalition (SMAC)



AAMC data, physician findings analysis

Chris Moreland, MD, MPH, FACP, FHM

Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine
Associate Residency Program Director
Dell Medical School, The University of Texas at Austin





Medication management by persons with developmental disabilities.

Steve Erickson, PharmD
Associate Professor, Department of Clinical Pharmacy
University of Michigan Medicine


February 2022

Integrated behavioral health in primary care and discuss aspects of integrated care for patients and providers with disabilities.

Heidi Joshi, PsyD
Faculty & Behavioral Health Program Manager
John Muir Health Family Medicine, UCSF Family Medicine Residency Program


March 2022

Reproductive health care for adolescents and women with disabilities at Michigan Medicine.

Susan Ernst, MD
Chief of Gynecology, University Health Services
Director of the Gynecology Clinic for Women with Disabilities 
University of Michigan 


We are excited about MDisability’s future as we all do our parts to promote disability health, accessibility, equity and inclusion. We welcome anyone interested in disability health to attend our meetings. For more information or to submit speaker suggestions, please contact MDisability Coordinator Dawn Michael at [email protected]