Wendy Parent-Johnson Appointed Executive Director of the South Dakota Center for Disabilities

February 22, 2013

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - The Center for Disabilities at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine has named Wendy Parent-Johnson, Ph.D., CRC, CESP as its new executive director. She succeeds Dr. Judy Struck, who served in this role for the past 21 years and retired in January.

Parent-Johnson earned a bachelor's degree in psychology, a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling and a Ph.D in education from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va.  Professionally, Dr. Parent-Johnson has held positions at Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Georgia and the University of Kansas. Prior to the Center for Disabilities, Parent-Johnson worked as research professor and associate director of the Lawrence site of the University of Kansas Center on Developmental Disabilities and the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies.

"I am genuinely excited about the opportunity to lead the Center for Disabilities team and to build upon the expertise we have to increase engagement with the research and medical communities, both here and across the region," said Parent-Johnson. "Growth possibilities, for example in the areas of transition and employment for persons with disabilities are numerous, and I'm humbled to join the Center for Disabilities as we continue to expand upon its 42-year legacy."

Parent-Johnson has published numerous book chapters and journal articles and has co-authored several books, while also providing hundreds of presentations and workshops during her career.  Her areas of interest and research are supported/customized employment and transition from school to work for individuals with severe disabilities, inclusive post-secondary education, job coach certification, health care transition, and employment first, among others. 

For more information about the Center for Disabilities, go to www.usd.edu/cd.


About the Sanford School of Medicine

For more than a century, the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine has set the standard for medical education of students, residents and professionals in the state. The school's mission includes education, research and service. It emphasizes family practice to help create the next generation of doctors for all parts of the state. The school's economic impact includes attracting $17 million annually in research funding as well as hosting two of the four 2010 Research Centers designated by the governor.

About The University of South Dakota

Founded in 1862, The University of South Dakota is designated as the only public liberal arts university in the state and is home to a comprehensive College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, the state's only School of Law, School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, the accredited Beacom School of Business and the College of Fine Arts. It has an enrollment of more than 10,200 students taught by more than 400 faculty members. More information is available at www.usd.edu/press/news.