CoPI's and Leaders
Lisa Meeks, PhD, Principal Investigator
Dr. Meeks is the lead investigator of the Meeks Research Group and is passionate about equal access to education and healthcare for persons with disabilities. Meeks has co-authored several articles and books on the subject of disability in medical education, helping to inform policy and best practice in disability inclusion. She also consults with leading health science programs on a myriad of disability-related issues.
Her research interests include:
1. Improving access to medical education for learners with disabilities
2. Medical student and resident well-being
3. Reducing health care disparities in patients with disabilities
4. Performance and trajectory of learners with disabilities
5. Workforce Diversity
Dr. Meeks' work has been featured on NPR, the Washington Post, CNBC, Bloomberg Law, the Chicago Tribune, and in The New Physician magazine from the American Medical Student Association (AMSA).
She is the co-creator of the social media campaign #DocsWithDisabilities on twitter and co-host of the Docs with Disabilities Podcast. In addition, she co-founded the Coalition for Disability Access in Health Science and Medical Education, co-developed of both the AAMC Disability Webinar Series and the UCSF Disability Training Series for Faculty and Administrators, served as the co-PI and lead author of the AAMC Special Report: Accessibility, Inclusion, and Action in Medical Education: Lived Experiences of Learners and Physicians with Disabilities, and currently serves as a contributing author to the ACGME Equity Matters Initiative.
Ben Case, MPH, Research Manager
Ben is the researcher manager and co-investigator for the Meeks Research Group. He is a public health professional who serves in study coordination and research administration. His interest in disability-related topics originates from his own disability, and has led to his involvement in several relevant projects, publications, and presentations. With a bevy of experience ranging from basic science research to global health work, Ben seeks to leverage it to increase the inclusion of people with disabilities in research, education, informed healthcare practice, and community engagement.
Neera Jain, PhD, MS, CRC
Dr. Neera Jain is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Health Education Scholarship in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. A qualitative researcher, educator, and committed changemaker, Neera focuses on disability studies and disability inclusion in health science education. Weaving together perspectives of students with disabilities and school officials, her award-winning doctoral thesis, Negotiating the capability imperative: Enacting disability inclusion in medical education (University of Auckland, 2020), explores the limits of an accommodation-focused approach to disability inclusion and imagines a transformational alternative that is inclusive by design. She co-authored and co-edited Equal Access for Students with Disabilities: The Guide for Health Science and Professional Education (Springer Publishing, 2020), and she is a board member at large for the Coalition for Disability Access in Health Science Education.
Micheal Kim, MD
Co-PI, The Pathway Project
Dr. Michael Kim joined the faculty of the Department of Pediatrics in the Division of Academic General Pediatrics as a hospitalist after completing his bachelor’s degree, Medical School, and residency training at the University of Minnesota. Additionally, Dr. Kim did his residency at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Residency Programs. From 2005-2006, Dr. Kim served as Chief Resident in Pediatrics. A member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Kim also has extensive international experience having completed a global health course in tropical medicine at the University of Minnesota, and an elective rotation in internal medicine and pediatrics at Chiang Mai University Hospital in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Dr. Kim is a Pediatric hospitalist at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital and will work with Dr. Abe Jacob on improving inpatient care delivery and building the general pediatric inpatient service.
Christopher Moreland MD, MPH
PI, DHOH Pathway
Barriers Project; AAMC Workforce Data Team; Co-PI, AAMC Student Team
As an associate professor of internal medicine and residency associate program director at Dell Medical School at UT Austin, Chris works at the intersection of medical education, health disparities (particularly for those who are deaf or speak languages other than English), and workforce diversity. He serves as a researcher with the UC Davis Center for a Diverse Healthcare Workforce, President of the national nonprofit Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Losses, and co-director for Gallaudet University's Center for Deaf Health Equity. In addition to his research publications and presentations on these issues, his teaching and mentorship have been recognized with multiple regional and national awards, including the Society of Hospital Medicine's Excellence in Teaching award.
Karina Pereira-Lima, PhD
Residents with Disabilities Project
Karina is a research fellow at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan. Her research interests center on the study of mental health and stress-related disorders among training and practicing physicians. In 2021, Karina joined the Docs with Disabilities team in an effort to investigate factors associated with a better well-being, educational, and practice experience among physicians with disabilities.
Kristina H Petersen, PHD
Dr. Petersen was inducted into AOA in 2018 and has won awards for teaching, mentoring, and contributing to student life during her five years at New York Medical College. She oversees accommodations for all health science programs at NYMC and is currently working on several research studies that measure the impact of various factors on learning outcomes for medical students with and without institutional and/or NBME accommodations.
Peter Poullos, MD
Dr. Poullos is a faculty member in both the departments of Radiology and Gastroenterology and Hepatology and served as Associate Residency Program Director for the Stanford University Radiology Residency from 2009 through 2016. In 2018, he founded the Stanford Medicine Abilities Coalition (SMAC), which he serves as Executive Director. In that role, Dr. Poullos advocates for students and healthcare providers with disabilities, as well as for health equity for disabled patients. He is a Faculty Advisor to the Medical Students with Disability and Chronic Illness. Dr. Poullos currently serves on the Stanford School of Medicine Faculty Senate Diversity Subcommittee and the School of Medicine Diversity Cabinet. He also has a keen interest in medical education and enjoys the opportunity to teach medical students, residents, and fellows.
Erene Stergiopoulos, MD, MA
Erene is a resident in psychiatry at the University of Toronto, where she also completed her medical school, undergraduate training in psychology, and masters degree in history and philosophy of science. Her research focuses on medical education and physician health using qualitative methods to understand the experiences of trainees and physicians with disabilities, and the barriers they face to help seeking and disclosure. She has also worked as a journalist with bylines in STAT news, Nautilus, and VICE magazine.
Bonnie Swenor, PhD, MPH
PI, Pipeline to Biomedical workforce; Co-I Prevalence Study; Co-I AAMC Student Study
Bonnielin is the founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Disability Health Research Center . Her work takes a data-driven approach to advancing equity, justice, inclusion for people with disabilities and focuses on translating research into policy.
Nichole L. Taylor, DO
AAMC Student Data Project, Co-Chair of Diversity and Inclusion in Graduate Medical Education (DIGME)
Dr. Nichole Taylor is the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at Wake Forest School of Medicine and is a Clinical Associate Professor of Anesthesiology at Wake Forest Baptist Health. She was diagnosed with Relapsing and Remitting Multiple Sclerosis in 2010. She shifted her career from clinical practice to advocacy, advising, teaching and administration. She is the co-author of 4 book chapters in Disability as Diversity (2020, Springer Publishing) and Disability as Diversity: A Case Studies Companion Guide (2020, Springer Publishing Company). She recently co-authored a publications entitled, The Unexamined Diversity: Disability Policies at the 50 largest US Training Programs in the Journal of Graduate Medical Education, Oct. 2019 and National prevalence of Disability and Clinical Accommodations in Medical Education in Journal of Medical Education and Curricular Development, 2020. She has national leadership positions as a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologist Committee for Professional Diversity and a Board Member-at-large on the Coalition of Disability Access in Health Science Education. She is a fierce advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion and awareness of disability in the realm of health science education.
Elizabeth Viglianti, MD, MSc, MPH
Co-I, Sexual Harrassment Study
Liz is a pulmonary/critical care fellow interested in medical education and a harrassment free workplace.
Maher S Budron, BS
Research Assistant, Legal Trends Study Prevalence Study
Maher S. Budron is a UPenn PREP scholar investigating molecular mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases under the tutelage of Dr. Kelly Jordan-Sciutto. After earning a B.S. at DePaul University in Chicago, he completed a two-year NIH IRTA fellowship at in the neurogenetics branch in Dr. Kenneth Fischbeck’s lab. Maher is committed to serving students, patients, and people with disabilities and disadvantaged backgrounds through research and advocacy. To this end Maher also conducts research with Dr. Lisa Meeks on disability health education research. One of these projects involves identifying, cataloging, and interpreting OCR complaints and legal cases relevant to disabilities in medical education in an effort to shape and inform disability policy and practice. From mentoring inner-city youth to leading efforts to increase access for students with disabilities, he is working towards becoming a physician-scientist that hopes to build a more equitable environment where patients, students, and communities can thrive.
Ligia Fragoso, MA
Ligia is an MD-ScM student at Alpert Medical School's Primary Care-Population Medicine program. Her interests lie in socially-accountable medical education, as well as anti-oppression in biomedicine with an emphasis on mental health, race-based medicine, and addiction. She also volunteers for several organizations providing wrap-around services for Latinx communities and individuals experiencing homelessness. She will pursue Family Medicine or Fam Med-Psychiatry training with the goal of practicing community-based medicine.
Zina Jawadi, BS, MS
Zina Jawadi is a Decision Analytics Associate at ZS Associates, an international management consulting company that provides services in health care. Zina obtained a BS in 2018 and MS in 2019 both from Stanford University. Zina has been serving on the Hearing Loss Association of America Board of Directors since 2019. Previously, she served as trustee (2013-2019), secretary (2013-4), vice president (2014-5), and president (2015-19) of the Hearing Loss Association of America, California State Association.
Jacob Lowy is an MD/MBA candidate at the University of Michigan Medical School and Ross School of Business. He graduated from Haverford College in 2014 with a degree in Political Science and a focus in Latin American Politics and U.S. Public Policy. Upon graduating from Haverford, he worked as an assistant to the Medical Director of the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute, where he helped to design and implement New York State’s “Ending the Epidemic” HIV treatment and prevention initiative. He attended the Goucher College Pre-medical Post-Baccalaureate Program in 2016-2017 and worked as a research assistant in the Johns Hopkins Department of Pediatrics and Centro Sol, Johns Hopkins’ Latino Health Center. Learning to navigate higher education and his professional career while living with a disability has inspired Jacob to become more involved in promoting an equitable learning and work environment for people with disabilities. When Jacob is not at the hospital, he enjoys long distance running, cooking, and reading presidential biographies
Legal Trends Study, Docs With Disabilities Podcast Study
Swathi is a native New Yorker and a recent college graduate from The City College of New York where she studied anthropology. She will attend Penn State Medical College this Fall. Her academic interests include medical anthropology, disability studies, and classics. Swathi is an aspiring physician and a strong advocate for health and social justice and cultural literacy through the use of narratives.
Sofia R Schlozman
Co-Producer & Research Assistant
Docs With Disabilities Podcast
Sofia is a junior at Stanford University majoring in human biology with a concentration in neuroscience. Previously, she has spent time researching neuropsychiatric disorders, mindfulness, and the neuroscience of addiction, and her current academic interests lie in medical anthropology, psychopharmacology, and health equity. She first became interested in disability studies through discussions with her mom, who has a visual disability.
Zoie Sheets, MPH
Zoie Sheets is a 3rd year medical student at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), as well as a member of the Urban Medicine, Patient-Centered Medicine, and James Scholar programs at UIC. During her Masters of Public Health program, Zoie became interested in the disparities that folks with disabilities are facing when trying to access primary care. She believes that disability education in medical school curriculum has the potential to shift the attitudes that can exist toward disability within healthcare— both for patients and providers. As a member of the Meeks Lab, Zoie has conducted thematic analysis of the #DocsWithDisabilities podcast and is currently exploring social belonging for learners with disabilities in medicine.
Lydia Smeltz, BA
Lydia Smeltz is a first-year medical student at Penn State College of Medicine and a graduate of Duke University. She first became interested in disability advocacy while tutoring ASL and befriending her peers with disabilities at her public elementary school. Since then, she has sought out additional opportunities to engage with the disabled community and align her efforts with their testimony. At Duke, she researched the social determinant of health needs for people with disabilities. As an MDisability intern, she created an interactive map of accessible physical activity opportunities in the greater Ann Arbor area. She is interested in how we can better prepare healthcare providers to be allies and disability-conscious providers in order to achieve health equity.
Katy Stauffer, MS
Katy Stauffer is a second-year medical student at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine. She received her BS/MS in Biomedical Engineering from Drexel University in Philadelphia. Prior to medical school, Katy worked at a long-term rehabilitation facility where she designed and implemented assistive technology for people with disabilities. She is interested in the intersection between medicine and universal design, and she hopes to use her background in engineering to make medicine, and medical education, more accessible.