Disparities in health persist for people with disabilities (PWD). Physical access to medical facilities and equipment continues to be a significant barrier for equitable health care for patients with mobility and physical limitations. For example, only 8.4% to 17.5% of clinics had examination tables that could be lowered to the wheelchair height, requiring dangerous manual transfer by staff and patient (Mudrick, 2011; Sanchez, 2000). Even worse, only 3.6% of primary care clinics had a scale that was accessible for wheelchairs (Mudrick, 2011). Accommodations are rarely provided for many patients with disabilities. In one study, it was found only 17% of visits involving Deaf signers were with a sign language interpreter. This is despite a legal mandate to ensure effective communication (Alexander et al., 2015). Individuals with later onset of hearing loss also have a doubling or even tripling of their risk for developing cognitive impairment (Livingston et al, 2017) yet many providers fail to ask patients about their hearing loss. Many health care professional programs have limited opportunities for students and trainees to learn how to effectively care for this population. MDisability within the Department of Family Medicine (DFM) intends to tackle these issues under the clinical aim. Our DFM clinicians have expertise in a variety of disability health topics.
Clinical Innovations in Disability Health
In a span of a month, research assistant Kate Panzer led efforts to make and distribute nearly 500 clear face masks for Deaf and hard of hearing people during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The only primary care clinic in Michigan that is specifically designed for deaf and hard of hearing patients is located in the Dexter Health Clinic
New Funding: Family medicine faculty will lead research and clinical pilot program to address aging with long-term disabilities
A $4.3 million grant will help establish a Rehabilitation Research and Training Center at the U-M and Michigan Medicine. Disability researchers Michael McKee and Elham Mahmoudi will establish new research and a model clinic in this large-scale effort.
Hearing loss affects about 17 percent of Americans, but screening and referral for evaluation is rarely done. How an electronic intervention, developed by Philip Zazove, M.D., and Michael McKee, M.D., M.P.H., may help.
Based at the Dexter Health Center, the Deaf Health Clinic provided targeted primary care services to Deaf patients across Michigan. Led by Michael M. McKee and Philip Zazove, the Deaf Health Clinic is proud to serve the unique needs of the Deaf community.