MDisability Summer Internship Program

The Department of Family Medicine’s MDisability Summer Internship Program, a unique academic program designed for upper-class level college or graduate/professional students, specializes in providing education and research opportunities in disability health. Interns gain experience and connections that put them on track to shape the health care landscape and provide access and equity to people with disabilities.

Meet our 2022 Summer Interns and our MDisability Internship Alumni.

Sam Grewe
Kaila Helm
Kate Panzer, a young white woman with brown hair, stands behind a table that has many face masks with a clear window stacked on it.

“As someone with a disability, I’ve experienced firsthand many of the challenges and barriers that my colleagues and I set out to tackle through this internship. Having the opportunity to work with these issues and implement real, tangible changes proved to be incredibly rewarding. The lessons I’ve learned, both academically and emotionally, will undoubtedly help inform my future decisions as I pursue a career in medicine.”

Sam Grewe, 2020 Intern

Do you have a passion for improving healthcare for individuals with disabilities?

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Currently enrolled in an undergraduate program (Junior or higher class standing, with an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher), post-baccalaureate or early graduate students, or individuals in a gap year
  • Must be available full time during the internship period, generally early June through early August
  • Must have the ability to commit to a 40-hour work week
  • Have United States Citizenship (or hold permanent resident status) or international students currently enrolled in a U.S. college/university and hold a student non-immigrant visa
  • Students with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply 

“I am excited to bring the skills and expertise I have gained to Penn State College of Medicine. I have gained confidence in my knowledge and ability to effectively collaborate with others to critically examine the ways things are done and brainstorm how we can improve accessibility and inclusion."

Lydia Smeltz, 2021 intern

The annual internship is held during the summer months. It begins during the first full week of June and runs for nine weeks. The internship is based at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich. And, virtual options are possible. Please direct any questions to Dawn, the MDisability Program Coordinator, at

“The MDisability Summer Internship Program helped me establish a foundation to identify and address disability-related issues throughout my career. I plan to build upon this experience and continue to advocate for people with disabilities as a medical student and ultimately as a physician.”

Michael Casden, 2020 Intern
  • Complete Program for Education and Evaluation in Responsible Research and Scholarship (PEERRS) training. This training must be completed prior to the start of the internship
  • Attend a weekly Journal Club or faculty series with various family medicine faculty members
  • Complete a project in one or more MDisability domains (clinical, research, education, or community), to be developed with faculty mentors and completed during the nine-week internship. Projects may lead to a publication or poster presentation. Please see project examples here: MDisability Summer 2021 intern projects.
  • Complete a group project with other summer interns that addresses a community or disability health need
  • Prepare and present internship projects to family medicine faculty and staff at the end of the internship
  • Attend and participate in family medicine and pertinent Michigan Medicine regularly scheduled meetings including family medicine research, MDisability, and Center for Disability Health and Wellness

Applicants able to participate in person will:

  • Shadow family medicine MDisability faculty at local Michigan Medicine family medicine clinic locations
  • Participate in external, disability-focused, community organization events 

Being a part of the MDisability Internship Program has demonstrated to me the need for and impact of scientific research. I now have a deeper appreciation for the power of scientific research in improving the health of patients by providing guidelines for patient care and changing health care policy.”

Hiwot Abate, 2021 Intern

Please contact Dawn Michael, MDisability Program Coordinator, at