Dr. Oluwaferanmi Okanlami is an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, and Urology at Michigan Medicine, and the Interim Director of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) and Director of Adaptive Sports & Fitness within the Division of Student Life at the University of Michigan. He also serves as the Director of Adaptive Sports in the Michigan Center for Human Athletic Medicine & Performance and is the Spokesperson for Guardian Life in their Equal & Able Partnership.
“Dr. O” was born in Nigeria before immigrating to the US at a young age. He attended High School at Deerfield Academy and college at Stanford University where he also ran Track & Field, serving as captain his last two seasons and achieving Academic All American recognition.
He then earned his MD from the University of Michigan before matching into Orthopedic Surgery at Yale. At the beginning of his 3 rd year he experienced a spinal cord injury, paralyzing him from the chest down. After two surgeries and intense rehabilitation, he was blessed with some return of motor function, and navigates the world as a proud wheelchair user, managing the other long term sequelae of an incomplete cervical spinal cord injury.
He went on to earn a Master’s in Engineering, Science, and Technology Entrepreneurship from The University of Notre Dame, and completed his Family Medicine Residency at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Indiana. He served on the St. Joseph County Board of Health, appointed by former Mayor Pete Buttigieg; and is on the board of the River City Challenged Athletes, a non-profit supporting the area adaptive sports teams. He was featured on Robin Robert’s Good Morning America Series “Thriver Thursday,” and has a catch phrase, “Disabusing DisabilityⓇ,” hoping to demonstrate that DISability doesn’t mean INability. He is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honors Society, received Michigan Medicine’s Distinguished Early Career Alumni Award in 2020, and was given the “A Teacher’s Teacher Award” by the Academy of Medical Educators.
Nationally, he serves as the Disability Issues representative on the Steering Committee for the Group on Diversity and Inclusion at the AAMC, and the National Medical Association’s Council on Medical Legislation. He speaks around the country on topics related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, including, but not limited to the lack of black male physicians and creating a health system that is accessible and inclusive to both patients and providers with disabilities, and has been featured on CBS News, PBS News Hour, and MSNBC’s Morning Joe. He is leading efforts to create an adaptive sports program, providing access to physical fitness and recreational and competitive sports for all.