Dr. Elizabeth A. Perkins is Associate Director and Research Assistant Professor at the Florida Center for Inclusive Communities (FCIC), at the University of South Florida’s (USF) - 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 also an RNLD, a registered nurse from the United Kingdom, where she trained specifically in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Her clinical experiences have been predominantly in the field of geriatric and residential care. Her current areas of interest include health 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 activities at the Florida Center for Inclusive Communities are concentrated on improving the quality of healthcare for people with IDD, including training various disciplines of current and future healthcare professionals. She is a firm believer of the need to educate all healthcare providers regarding the needs of individuals with IDD to “make the unfamiliar become familiar” and especially with greater focus on aging health and wellness. She also authored My Health Passport, a popular health care advocacy document, which provides personalized information on how to best support the individual when they have need to visit a hospital or clinic.
Dr. Perkins is a past 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. At the state level, Dr. Perkins currently represents FCIC on the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC), and is a member of the FDDC’s Health Care & Prevention Task Force. Dr. Perkins has been published in several highly regarded journals including JAMA and Academic Medicine. She is the guest co-editor for a forthcoming Special Issue on Aging and End of Life for AAIDD’s American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Dr. Perkins is also a co-author of the fifth edition of "Physical Changes and Aging: A Guide for the Helping Professions", a widely respected gerontology textbook published by Springer, that was recently translated into Chinese.