Welcoming A New Director, Dr. Wendy Parent-Johnson

Staff Updates
Fall 2018

Dr. Wendy Parent-Johnson will be joining us in November as new director for the Sonoran University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), when Headshot of Dr. Wendy Parent-JohnsonLeslie Cohen, Sonoran UCEDD’s inaugural director, will be stepping down from the position (see The Sonoran UCEDD Celebrates the Leadership of Our Founding Director, Leslie Cohen).

Dr. Wendy Parent-Johnson has been Professor of the Department of Pediatrics, and Executive Director of the Center for Disabilities, a Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, and Lend Director (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and other Disabilities), at the Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota since 2013. In these positions, she has been responsible for administration and oversight of multiple grants, research, teaching, and supervision of more than 45 staff and contract employees. Her educational background includes a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and a Doctorate Degree in Education with an emphasis on Transition for Individuals with Severe Disabilities, both from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has thirty-six years’ experience in the areas of supported and customized employment, transition from school to work, and Employment First policy and practice. More recently, her research, teaching, and grant development has focused on health care transition, health disparities, interdisciplinary health science education, and the integration of health and employment. Dr. Parent-Johnson is Editor of the Journal of Rehabilitation.

Wendy is excited to join the Sonoran UCEDD team and continue the exceptional work of the current retiring director, Leslie Cohen. She and her husband, Richard Parent-Johnson, are looking forward to moving to Arizona and enjoying the many new activities and adventures the Tucson area has to offer. Wendy is the proud mother of a 26-year-old daughter who recently finished her Master’s degree in Athletic Training and is currently living in Miami, FL. Wendy is accompanied in her move by her two dogs, Stormy and Emma, and two cats, Jabber and Roadie. Her interests include kayaking, birdwatching, listening to music, and she is currently learning golf.