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 residential 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.
Dr. Perkins has several national leadership roles. She was recently elected Vice President of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD). This follows her four-year term (2012 - 2016) as an elected member-at-large for AAIDD’s Board of Directors, and former service as President of AAIDD’s Gerontology Division. She was also the 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.
Dr. Perkins’ 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. Currently, Dr. Perkins is on the editorial board of the journals Inclusion, Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, and the UK’s Royal College of Nursing’s journal Learning Disability Practice. 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. In 2011, the textbook was translated and published into Chinese. She is also the author of My Health Passport, a popular health advocacy document that has had in excess of 25,000 downloads or hardcopies disseminated since it was released in 2011.