Disability Health

Establishing the Department as a Leader in Disability Health

Disability Health is a core tenet of the work we do within the Department of Family Medicine. We work to improve inclusion, equity, access, and care at all levels of academic medicine and throughout our community.

Since he joined the Department faculty in 1989, our biggest champion in this work has been Philip Zazove, M.D., the George A. Dean, M.D. Chair of Family Medicine. As Dr. Zazove’s tenure with the Department will soon come to a close, we are seeking to cement the Department of Family Medicine as the cornerstone of disability health within academic medicine in his honor.

We do not take on this endeavor lightly. Nearly 1 in 5 Americans identify as a person with a disability. And, as Dr. Zazove, so often reminds us, people with disabilities are the nation’s largest minority, and the only one that any person can join at any time. We know work in this area will touch nearly everyone and we are ready to make a lasting impact.  

Dr. Zazove is well acquainted with overcoming adversity as a family doctor who has lived his life with hearing loss. He’s had to prove himself repeatedly as someone who is just as competent and capable as someone with no disabilities.


A Trailblazer

This was true from an early age, as he attended public school as a child growing up near Skokie, Ill., to gaining admittance at Rutgers Medical School after countless rejections by other medical schools due to his disability. Despite those ongoing challenges, he was able to establish his own medical practice, first in Utah, and then joined the University of Michigan as a clinical assistant professor in 1989.

Now, after serving as the second George A. Dean, M.D. Chair of Family Medicine in the Department of Family Medicine since 2011, he is ready to retire after a lifetime of impressive achievements.


Ensuring a Legacy

Zazove leaves behind a tremendous legacy as a deaf clinician and researcher. He has tirelessly advocated for health care for people with disabilities and has pushed for changes that have opened access to medical school education to students with disabilities, not only at U-M but across the country.

“There’s so much work to be done in improving the health and lives of people with disabilities – a health issue most of us will have at some point in our lives,” he said.



Impact of Support 

Your support will impact our disability health initiatives and programs in the areas of education, patient care, research, and community outreach.

From supporting learners by providing disability health opportunities or a lectureship to the greater U-M Community, to offering wheelchair basketball to the community, to investing in cutting-edge research, or to supporting patient care at the Deaf Health Clinic in Dexter, whatever the area, the impact will be great. There is no limit in what we can do when we do it together.


Our Vision

It is our intent that our work in Disability Health will grow into a fully integrated hub of support, knowledge and research. Our faculty will build partnerships across Michigan Medicine, the University of Michigan and beyond in order to advance disability health in the areas of patient care, research education and community outreach.

We seek to create a more equitable environment for individuals with disabilities and improve access to health care and medical education, with a goal of inclusion for all.


Support With A Gift

Your gift to the Philip Zazove, M.D. Disability Health Endowment Fund will promote and support all disability efforts in the Department of Family Medicine, including patient care, research, education and community outreach, with an overarching goal of access, equity and inclusion for all.

A black and white photo of a teenage Philip Zazove looking at the camera, hand on his hip, wearing a shirt that read Illinois
Philip Zazove standing outside, in front of a building, wearing a dress shirt and tie, leaning on a sign that reads University of Michigan Dexter Health Center
A scanned image from a newspaper that shows Philip Zazove, head and shoulders, next to the words Defying Deafness How Philip Zaozve fought the odds to become the third deaf physician to become certified in the United States

Our Progress

Inclusion Matters At All Levels