Wendy Parent-Johnson, PhD, CRC, CESP

Ph.D. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, 1994
M.S. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, 1985
  • Disability employment
  • Transition from school to work
  • Health disparities
  • Health care transition
  • Interdisciplinary health science education
  • Workforce development
  • International employment policy
  • Inclusive education
Academic / Professional Bio: 

Dr. Wendy Parent-Johnson’s thirty-seven-year career has focused on education, training, research, model development, and systems change related to competitive employment, youth to adult transition, and quality of life for individuals with disabilities. Her work in Virginia, Georgia, Montana, Kansas, South Dakota, Arizona and nationally has emphasized people from underserved and diverse communities as well as those with complex support needs.

Dr. Parent-Johnson was a co-founder of Oyate’ Circle, a Native Center at the University of South Dakota established to enhance services and supports for Native American youth and adults with disabilities. She has worked together with Centro Ann Sullivan del Peru, an educational center for students with disabilities to develop a vocational program resulting in entrepreneurial and other employment outcomes for youth and young adults. Dr. Parent-Johnson has been a mentor for the Professional Fellows Program on Inclusive Disability Employment sponsored by the US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and implemented by the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, Institute for Community Inclusion-UMass Boston, and Humanity and Inclusion.

She has supported the work of six Professional Fellows from Tanzania and Uganda, Africa and was selected as an Outbound Fellow to provide on-site technical assistance in Tanzania. She currently serves on the Community of Practice on Cultural and Linguistic Competence in Developmental Disabilities state leadership team, is a member of the Refugees with Disabilities Roundtable, and leads the Developmental Disability Network Cultural and Linguistic Competence Strategic Planning Group. Dr. Parent-Johnson is the principle investigator on two new grants focused on establishing a Native American Disability Center in Arizona and developing an indigenous transition approach for Native American youth with disabilities, both in partnership with Tribal communities. 


Board Certifications: 
CRC Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, 1997, 2002, 2007, 2012, 2017
CESP Certified Employment Support Professional, 2013, 2016