Elizabeth Perkins, PhD, RNLD
Dr. Elizabeth Perkins is a Research Associate Professor and the Associate Director of the Florida Center for Inclusive Communities (FCIC), USF's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. She has a PhD in Aging Studies and a BA (summa cum laude) in Psychology, both from USF. Dr. Perkins is a Registered Nurse Learning Disabilities (RNLD) trained in the United Kingdom - learning disabilities is the UK equivalent terminology for intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD). Her clinical experiences there were predominantly in the field of geriatric and long-term care. Her current areas of interest include medical aspects of aging with IDD, quality of life issues of older family caregivers of adults with IDD, and compound caregiving (when older caregivers have multiple caregiving roles). Dr. Perkins' current work at the Florida Center for Inclusive Communities is concentrated on improving both access to and quality of healthcare for persons with disabilities, including training activities for medical students, nurse practitioners, and other allied health professionals. She is a faculty member in the Master’s Program in Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Concentration in Developmental Disabilities, and teaches the online graduate course Issues and Trends in Developmental Disabilities.
Dr. Perkins’ scholarly work has been published in a variety of notable journals including the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). She was the guest co-editor for a Special Issue on Aging and End of Life for the American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. She also co-authored the 5th (2010) and 6th (2014) editions of "Physical Changes and Aging: A Guide for the Helping Professions", a highly regarded gerontology textbook published by Springer. Both the 5th and 6th editions were translated and published in Chinese. Dr. Perkins is also the author of numerous book chapters, policy briefs, and health advocacy resources and tools including My Health Passport, My Health Report, and the Education for Lifelong Health Factsheet series. Currently, Dr. Perkins is consulting editor for the Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, and editorial board member for the UK’s Royal College of Nursing’s journal Learning Disability Practice, and the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities’ (AAIDD) journal Inclusion.
Dr. Perkins has held several prominent national leadership roles. She is currently the Immediate Past President of the national board of directors for AAIDD, and has previously served as member-at-large, Vice President, President-Elect, and the 142nd President - AAIDD was founded in 1876. Her former service has included being President of AAIDD’s Gerontology Division, and former co-convener of the Formal Interest Group on Developmental Disabilities for the Gerontological Society of America (GSA). Dr. Perkins is a Fellow of both AAIDD and GSA. At the state level, Dr. Perkins represents FCIC on the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC), and is an advisory member for the Disability and Health Program within the Florida Department of Health. She leads Florida’s DD Waitlist Campaign, an FCIC advocacy initiative to highlight Florida’s extensive waitlist for Home and Community Based Services for Floridians with Developmental Disabilities.