About Us

Mike McKee, MD, MPH, white male with glass, smiling, wearing a blue shirt
Michael M. McKee, M.D., M.P.H. Associate Professor and Director, MDisability

Dear friends,

Welcome to the MDisability website. MDisability is a collaborative, Family Medicine-supported disability health program focused on improving primary care for people with disabilities through medical education, research, clinical care, and community partnerships. In April 2024, we will celebrate our fifth year in existence!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in four people in America self-report as having a disability. Despite the high prevalence of disability, these individuals continue to struggle with health care barriers, suboptimal quality of care, and ableist attitudes in primary care. Medical schools and residency programs also fail to include any disability health curricula. What’s more, research studies and diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts often overlook disability, which impacts the engagement and inclusion of individuals with disabilities in research, medical education, and health care teams.

MDisability, through our affiliated clinicians, educators, and researchers, has been committed to tackling these issues over the past five years within the practice of family medicine through multiple innovative programs and activities. Our Michigan Medicine health providers and researchers also are innovating and improving upon the accessibility and quality of care for patients with disabilities.

Below, I’ve outlined some of the exciting work that is taking place, with the intention among all our participating program members to ‘move the needle’ on improving care for people with disabilities.

  • Our inaugural Disability Health Fellow, Brianna Marzolf, DO, recently founded the Michigan Improves Care, Access, Resources, and Experiences (MI-CARE) to improve primary care for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). This is the second model clinic that focuses on patients with disabilities. The Disability Health Fellowship was launched in Fall 2023.

These two model clinics provide educational and clinical opportunities for our learners. They also serve as fertile ground for implementing new clinical improvements and undertaking research projects that further address existing health inequities.

We've also have gained tremendous momentum with our various educational programs we’ve developed since MDisability’s establishment in 2019.

  • Our MDisability Provider Webinar series offers primary care provider education. This quarterly webinar covers different disability health care topics. 
  • Our collaboration with Partners in Deaf Health for our Deaf Health Talks. The Deaf Health Talks are an accessible, community-based platform where the public can learn more about different health topics. These talks include American Sign Language services.
  • Our unique and popular MDisability Summer Internship program was designed to provide education and research opportunities in disability health for upper-class college or early graduate/professional students. This program is committed to growing the pipeline of students with disabilities or who have an interest in disability health. The internship has educated 16 interns so far and has four more interns arriving in the summer of 2024. Our past graduates are highly successful, with many of them now attending medical schools, residencies, and other clinical research fields. This internship program has also created a ripple effect, with many of our former interns pursuing clinical and clinical research careers while also creating disability health programs at their respective institutions. 

MDisability doesn’t just focus on patient care, general health and medical education. Our MDisability researchers have been highly successful in obtaining grant funding for various disability health projects. This is leading to impactful disability work in both primary care and in other health care settings. Examples of some of MDisability’s funded projects include:

  • Improving online health information accessibility for those with sensory disabilities
  • Examining the risk of dementia and other health conditions among those with spinal cord injuries and Deaf individuals
  • Reducing the risk of polypharmacy among those with intellectual and developmental disabilities in primary care
  • Exploring new ways to conduct cervical cancer screening for those with disabilities
  • Analyzing the impact of electronic health records linked to disability fields on perinatal health accessibility and care quality
  • Tackling reproductive disparities among youth and young adults with disabilities
  • Examining the role of intersectionality on disability health. 

Together, we and our partners continue to create change in how family medicine providers care for all people, including those with disabilities. Disability-focused health care shouldn’t be an afterthought. It should be front and center because when we care for those who have disabilities, this in turn helps us all by considering everyone’s health needs.

Explore the website and see all the impactful work that we’ve done so far. If you have questions or want to make a personal connection, please reach out to me at [email protected] or MDisability Program Manager Dawn Michael at [email protected]. We thank our many partners and supporters who have helped make MDisability so successful. Here’s to the next exciting five years!


Michael M. McKee, MD, MPH
Associate Professor
Director of MDisability
Department of Family Medicine
University of Michigan/Michigan Medicine