October 7, 2022

3rd Annual U-M CDHW Disability Research Symposium

9:00 am to 4:00 pm

About the U-M CDHW Disability Research Symposium

The Center for Disability Health and Wellness at the University of Michigan developed this event to showcase the talented individuals conducting research on disability-related issues from across U-M schools and departments. Equally important, we hope to facilitate networking and discussion on how the research either is being used or can be used to facilitate solutions related to health, functioning, participation, and quality of life for those living with disabilities. 

During the symposium, presenters had 10 minutes to provide a TEDx-style talk or research-style presentation focusing on either an overall vision of their research or the results of a specific study or project. Previously, presenters included students, trainees, staff, and faculty members. The review committee grouped selected presentations based on identified themes. Breakout groups were used to facilitate discussion on the importance of the research and how it can be applied in clinical and community settings to enhance outcomes.

Symposium Watch Party

For anyone who preferred to meet in person, we organized a symposium watch party at the Burlington Building (325 E. Eisenhower Parkway, second floor).

Our Keynote Speaker

Jon Pearlman

Jon Pearlman, PhD
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology
University of Pittsburgh
Founding Director, International Society of Wheelchair Professionals
Director, IMPACT Center on Assistive Technology Translation

Presentations - Starting around 10:00 am

The morning program of the U-M CDHW Research Symposium consisted of presentations highlighting the diverse disability research being conducted at the University of Michigan.  Presentations were grouped around common themes and will be followed by breakout groups to facilitate networking and discussion.

Panel Discussions - Starting at 2:00 pm

Disability Inclusion in Medicine: Teaching and training physicians with disabilities.” 

Disability is an important topic in medical education. With 1 in 4 adults in the US identifying with disability, this is a patient population that all physicians will encounter during their careers. It is paramount that medical trainees graduate with considerable knowledge about disability, including disparate health outcomes and the health care inequities faced by this population.

One mechanism of informing medical education about disability is through the inclusion of disabled trainees and physicians. It is believed that  by working alongside a peer with a disability we can shatter prevailing stereotypes and inform medicine from the lived experience of individuals who have experience with the health care system as patients.

This panel addressed disability inclusion in medicine from the curricular/training perspective to the inclusion of learners with disabilities.

Lisa Meeks

Moderator: Lisa Meeks, PhD, MA
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine
Core Team Member, MDisability
Founder and Director of the Docs With Disabilities Initiative
Michigan Medicine

Dr. Meeks is an expert in disabilities in medical education. As an administrative leader and researcher, she is helping to inform policy and best practice in the area of disability inclusion for medical education, training and practice. Her research interests include: Improving access to medical education for learners with disabilities, medical student and resident well-being, reducing health care disparities in patients with disabilities, and the performance and trajectory of learners and physicians with disabilities. Her work has been published in the NEJM, Lancet, JAMA, and Academic Medicine and featured on NPR, in the Washington PostCNBCBloomberg LawTime Magazine, and AAMC News.

The panel consisted of two parts: 

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm Medical Education: Building curriculum to teach trainees and physicians about providing care for people with disabilities 

Susan M. Havercamp, PhD, FAAIDD, NADD-CC
Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Genetic Counseling
Director, Health Promotion and Healthcare Parity
Director, Nisonger Behavior Support Services

Dorothy W. Tolchin, MD, EdM
Instructor in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R), Harvard Medical School (HMS)
Director, Disability and Anti-Ableism Curriculum, HMS
Director of Medical Student Education for the Mass General Brigham/HMS Department of PM&R
Faculty Advisor, HMS Disabilities in Medicine and Dentistry Working Group
Faculty Advisor, HMS Allies in Chronic Illness, Health Conditions, and Disabilities
Lead investigator on multiple research projects focused on optimizing trainee education in both the medical school and residency settings.

Sandra L Hearn, MD 
Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Residency Program Director
Michigan Medicine

Michael McKee, MD, MPH
Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine 
Director of MDisability
Co-Director, Center for Disability Health and Wellness
Michigan Medicine


3:00 pm - 4:00 pm | Medical Education: The inclusion of individuals with disabilities as trainees and physicians 

Christopher Moreland, MD, MPH
Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine
Associate Program Director, Internal Medicine Residency
The University of Texas at Austin Immediate Past-President, Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Losses (AMPHL)

Karina Pereira-Lima, PhD
Research Fellow
Department of Neurology, University of Michigan
Researcher, Meeks Lab 

Caroline McGowan
University of Michigan Medical School student

Zoie Sheets, MPH
Former MDisability Intern and current Medical Student at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Medicine