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. Professionally, 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. A photo of Parent-Johnson is available for download at

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