Dr. Parent-Johnson is the new Executive Director of the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center and Professor in the Department of Counseling and Special Education at Virginia Commonwealth University. Previously she was the Executive Director of the Sonoran Center for Excellence in Disabilities at the University of Arizona. She has a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and a Doctorate in Education with an emphasis on Transition for Individuals with Severe Disabilities, both from Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Parent-Johnson has extensive experience in the areas of supported and customized employment, transition from school to work, Employment First policy and practice, and healthcare transition from pediatric to adult medical care.
She co-developed the Circle of Indigenous Empowerment in partnership with Tribal Nations and communities in Arizona and Oyate’ Circle in South Dakota focused on creating a central hub of information, resources, and trainings designed to enhance employment and quality of life for Tribal members with disabilities. She is well-known for her state, national, and international work focused on improving employment outcomes for people with disabilities, most recently providing training, mentorship, and support for disability employment advocates in Uganda. The emphasis of Dr. Parent-Johnson’s work has been on model development, capacity building, and implementation strategies that contribute to data-informed decision-making impacting policy, practice, and systems change. Dr. Parent-Johnson has conducted presentations and trainings; produced journal articles, book chapters, and other written products; and developed practical tools reflecting her innovative scholarly work and contributions to the field. She is Editor of the Journal of Rehabilitation and a member of the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation and Developmental Disabilities Network Journal.