The MDisability program summer internship, coordinated within the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan, is welcoming its newest group of summer interns.
Interns will learn how to conduct research and participate in hands-on disability health projects with faculty, not only in family medicine but university-wide. They will also build their own academic and professional networks of disability health leaders at U-M. But more than that – they will learn how to work as advocates for patients with disabilities and go on to inspire others in the medical community to consider the needs of all patients, no matter their disability status.
Now in its fifth year, the MDisability internship continues to build its reputation as one of the few programs in the United States that trains future doctors on how to conduct research on the care of patients with disabilities. With 13 internship alumni, the program has already created a ripple effect in the wider medical community, with former interns helping to revise medical school curricula; collaborate with disability health researchers at other academic and medical institutions; and spread the word among their medical student peers about the importance of providing equal access and care for those with disabilities.
We welcome MDisability’s 2023 summer interns Suhas Kellampalli, Blessed Mbogo and Ariana Nigoghosian to this summer’s program! Read on for more information about our new interns.
Suhas is a rising senior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and a master’s degree in public health. His own experiences living with a stutter have inspired him to work on eliminating health care disparities and enhance the quality of treatment for people with disabilities around the world. Suhas is a peer advocate for the disabled at the Center for Independent Living in Birmingham, Ala. In this role, he helps people with disabilities learn the skills they need to live independently. He has also collaborated with the University of Colorado's Disability Equality Center to help create a manual for ADA hospital coordinators. Suhas remains active in the disability community in his hometown of Hyderabad, India. He has volunteered with the National Institute for the Empowerment of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (NIEPID) and is currently collaborating with the NIEPID to plan and conduct a research study into the barriers to high quality healthcare for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in India. He aims to eventually have a global impact with his disability advocacy work.
Blessed is a rising fourth-year university honors student at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., studying biology and psychology on a pre-medical track. He became interested in academic medicine while working as an intern at Seattle Children's Research Institute on a project about racial health disparities among people with diabetes triggered by cystic fibrosis. Outside of academics, Blessed is a basketball player for Gallaudet and with the USA Deaf Basketball team. He won a bronze medal in the Pan-Am Championship in Argentina and will compete in the World Basketball Championship this June in Greece.
Ariana is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Michigan, majoring in neuroscience. She plans to apply to medical school this summer after she graduates. She hopes to become a pediatric neurologist and epileptologist, with a particular desire to help children who have neurodevelopmental issues. Ariana's early exposure to neurodiversity and her work with people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities sparked a lifelong commitment to advancing disability inclusion. This has motivated her to join groups with goals that are congruent to her own, such as the Special Olympics College and Best Buddies at the University of Michigan. She is especially interested in learning how to conduct disability health research through the MDisability program so she can serve as a better advocate for the inclusion of those with disabilities in an equitable healthcare process.