Lisa M. Meeks Ph.D., a graduate of Cleveland State University’s Urban Education Ph.D. program and a Assistant Professor with the University of Michigan Medical School’s Departments of Learning Health Sciences and Family Medicine, is helping to shape the future of health science education for students with disabilities.
In 2021, Meeks founded the Docs With Disabilities Initiative, which works to build more inclusive educational environments for trainees with disabilities and increase the representation of disabled providers in the healthcare workforce. What started as a social media campaign, has grown into a podcast (hosted by Dr. Meeks) and now a “mini" cast highlighting research on disability inclusion in health professions education. The initiative now includes research groups, a webinar series, mentorship, and offers consulting services.
Dr. Meeks's personal experiences with COVID, and her area of expertise, have given her a unique perspective on the COVID-19 crisis and its disproportional impact on health care workers, many of whom are experiencing the effects of Long COVID. Her work was featured in a July 22 TIME Magazine article: “Doctors with Disabilities Push for Change as Long COVID Affects Their Workforce.” Meeks is concerned about the impact of Long COVID on the attrition of healthcare providers. In the article, she is quoted as saying “For those physicians and nurses that didn’t lose their lives to COVID, they may very well lose their livelihood. We need these people in the workforce.” Meeks and her team will be working with hospital systems to develop creative mechanisms for retaining healthcare workers through accommodation and re-structuring of positions.
The article also references a 2018 report co-authored by Dr. Meeks and published in the Association of American Medical Colleges which identified barriers and supports for disability inclusion in medical education. The report identified barriers such as a lack of standardization in disability policies and procedures across medical schools, inconsistent support for students with disabilities within medical programs, and a lack of awareness of responsibilities dictated by the American Disabilities Act.
Dr. Meeks remains connected to the Urban Education Ph.D program housed within the College of Education and Public Affairs, most notably as a donor to the Urban Education Ph.D. Recovery Fund created in the fall of 2014 by Meeks and program alumni that is committed to supporting future students. During her time in the program, Dr. Meeks experienced a tragic home fire and her CSU cohorts rallied to provide her with essentials, such as clothing, food, and class notes to prepare for comprehensive exams. “I am so grateful for the assistance I received after the fire and wanted to pay forward the generosity to other Ph.D. students who experience hardship or personal difficulties while pursuing their degrees,” Dr. Meeks said.
The Fund is available to doctoral students of the Urban Education Ph.D. Program on an “as needed” basis, as determined by Dr. Julia Phillips, the Chair of the doctoral program in Urban Education, in consultation with Dr. Roland Anglin, Dean of the College of Education and Public Affairs and in accordance with University policy.
To contribute to this fund please go to https://www.supportcsu.org/give-today or to learn more about charitable giving opportunities which provide support to CSU students in the College of Education and Public Affairs, please contact Brenda Driscoll, Development Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (216) 687-5538.