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Southern Miss Institute for Disability Studies Names Young Director, Alliston Associate Director

Fri, 12/07/2018 - 11:35am | By: Alma Ellis

Dr. Gordon Cannon, vice president for research at The University of Southern Mississippi, is pleased to announce that Dr. Rebekah Young has been named executive director of the Institute for Disability Studies (IDS). Dr. Jerry R. Alliston has been named associate director of IDS.

“USM is very fortunate to have two seasoned leaders at the helm of IDS. The University is very proud of IDS and the essential services it provides the people of the state of Mississippi. Drs. Young and Alliston have done a fantastic job guiding IDS over the last year, and I look forward to working with them as we go forward,” said Cannon.

Dr. Young has served as IDS' interim director since September 2017. She previously served as associate director for three years. A Southern Miss alumnus, Young received her doctorate in higher education administration and a master's degree in public health with dual emphases in epidemiology/biostatistics and health education.

Young began work at IDS in 2009 in a collaborative role with the Institute and the School of Social Work focusing on health initiatives. She is a certified health education specialist and has 12 years of experience coordinating project and budget reporting, maintaining programmatic documentation, and developing data collection tools, as well as collecting, analyzing, and reporting data.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as Executive Director for IDS, and I am excited to continue working with our dedicated and talented team members to grow and enhance our excellent programs in the areas of early childhood inclusion and education, housing, wellness, and transition to adulthood,” said Dr. Young.

“Together, Dr. Alliston and I will work to lead and support the growth of the Institute by developing and maintaining new, collaborative partnerships with our stakeholders, the University community, other UCEDDs, and the national Association of University Centers on Disabilities network as we fulfill our mission to enhance quality of life for Mississippians with disabilities.”

Serving as interim associate director since December 2017, Dr. Alliston received his doctorate in higher education administration and a master's degree in social work from Southern Miss. Dr. Allston, who joined IDS in 2005, served as IDS' community education director for two years and has coordinated numerous projects concentrating on employment, transition to adulthood, volunteer service, and self-advocacy and leadership. Alliston has over 20 years of experience in the social sciences and disability fields.

IDS, Mississippi's federally funded University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service (UCEDD) has been located at Southern Miss for more than 40 years and has satellite offices on the USM Gulf Park campus in Long Beach and in Jackson.

IDS provides pre-service training, community services and technical assistance programs for individuals with disabilities of all ages and their families. IDS' areas of emphasis include early intervention and education, transition to adulthood, wellness and housing.

To learn more about the Institute for Disability Studies, call 601.266.5163 or visit: