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Derrick Willis

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I am excited to invite you to the AUCD 2023 Conference from November 5-8. The theme of this year’s event, Emerging Leaders: Shaping the Future, reflects the thousands of Emerging Leaders that we welcome to the AUCD Network each year. Emerging Leaders, researchers, practitioners, self-advocates, family members, and others, I hope you will join us this fall in Washington, DC for what will be an incredible event.

We will devote a great deal of time discussing Emerging Leaders and how they are vital to the growth of the AUCD Network and to the success of our mission: to improve the health, education, social, and economic well-being of people with disabilities. From innovative clinicians, service providers, trainers, advocates, family members, and academic professionals, these leaders – including people with disabilities – represent the next generation of experts that will propel our Network forward. 

The AUCD Emerging Leaders community will share their thoughts on the importance of interdisciplinary training, how they use their experiences to make an impact, and how being a part of the AUCD Network has influenced their pursuit of personal and professional goals. We also hope to hear from past Emerging Leaders about some lessons learned as they progress through their journey and how it helped them reach their personal and professional goals.

We look forward to hearing about your thoughts, experiences, and ideas at this year’s Conference. Emerging Leaders are the future of the AUCD Network and it’s up to all of us to prepare, engage, and support them so that together, we can build on a proud legacy of diversity and inclusion, striving for equity, and positively shaping the future.

Derrick K. Willis, MPA

AUCD President Elect and AUCD 2023 Conference Chair
Director, Iowa’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD)