Johnson advocates for intellectual and developmental disability community on a national scale

 By Jena K. Gray

Khalilah Johnson, female, smiling [View Image]

Khalilah Johnson, Ph.D., OTR/L, postdoctoral fellow within Virginia Commonwealth University’s Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry and Innovation (iCubed), has been appointed the advocacy and policy coordinator for the Developmental Disabilities Special Interest Section (DDSIS) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

Dr. Johnson is a member of iCubed’s Culture, Race and Health Transdisciplinary Core where she utilizes her expertise in occupational therapy and experience working with people of minority backgrounds as well as those who have significant intellectual disabilities.

She works collaboratively with faculty members and community partners to address how culture and race/ethnicity affects health and overall well-being among those experiencing health disparities within the Crater Health District. The iCubed Core develops culturally informed and community approved interventions aimed to reduce health disparities in the district.

Dr. Johnson has 12 years of clinical experience as an occupational therapist. She has focused much of her time working with individuals diagnosed with severe and profound intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her recently appointed position of advocacy and policy coordinator for the DDSIS will serve to expand Dr. Johnson’s impact and ability to promote overall well-being for those within the intellectual and developmental disability community.

According to AOTA, the DDSIS focuses on “how occupational therapy assessment and intervention can facilitate the inclusion of individuals with developmental disabilities in home, school, work, and community life.”

“It is an exciting opportunity,” shares Dr. Johnson, “to be able to engage more broadly with my professional organization and advocates who are concerned with improving the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

During her 3-year term in this position, Dr. Johnson serves as the expert on legislative and policy issues related to developmental disabilities and lead discussions and dissemination of legislative information. In addition, she is responsible for the development of advocacy strategies designed to support initiatives of AOTA and serves as liaison to regulatory and policy staff.

She joins “pioneers in the profession” to advocate for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities on a national scale. Dr. Johnson will continue her current role at Virginia Commonwealth University as a postdoctoral fellow within iCubed’s Culture, Race and Health transdisciplinary core.

About iCubed

iCubed at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is a cutting edge institute focused on catalyzing collaborative connections between the university and the community at large through innovative academic and research programs. Our transdisciplinary core teams collaborate with key community members in order to develop holistic solutions to 21st century urban challenges within the Commonwealth. For more information about iCubed or to apply to one of the transdisciplinary core teams, please visit: