Center for Disabilities and Development Announces New Director of Iowa's UCEDD
Derrick Willis assumes leadership of Iowa's University Center for Excellence on Developmental Disabilities
Derrick K. Willis, MPA, has assumed the leadership of Iowa’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) at the Center for Disabilities and Development (CDD) within University of Iowa Health Care. For the past year, he has served as the interim director. Willis has been instrumental in helping lead and support the UCEDD’s work in reaching under-served populations. He has played a key role in their diversity efforts and helping to lead their Money Follows the Person work as the associate director for the Iowa UCEDD.
Prior to joining CDD, Willis served as director of urban mission at the Institute for Human Development, Missouri’s UCEDD, at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Willis’s background includes 32 years’ experience working at local not-for-profits, state government, and higher education. Most of his career has centered on working with youth and families from diverse backgrounds living in urban communities. He brings experience in mental health, substance and alcohol abuse treatment and prevention, violence prevention, education transition, employment, and cultural competency.
“It is an honor as well as a privilege to be selected to lead an organization with such a rich history in leadership and service. I look forward to working with CDD and the team of dedicated professionals as we meet the lifespan needs of individuals with disabilities and their families,” Willis says.
He is a past recipient of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) Multicultural Award for Leadership in Diversity and a graduate of the National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities. He currently serves on the AUCD Board of Directors and co-chairs the Multicultural Council for AUCD and is a member of the University of Iowa’s Disability Planning and Action Committee.
Willis received his undergraduate degree from William Penn College and a Master’s in Public Affairs with an emphasis in Nonprofit Management from Park University.