Christensen named director of Iowa’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities

Julie Christensen, MSW, PhD

Julie Christensen, MSW, PhD, 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, she has served as associate director of the Iowa UCEDD, working under the mentorship of Bob Bacon, who directed the Iowa UCEDD since 1998 and retired July 17.

“I have long admired the tremendous work of the Iowa UCEDD, particularly in the areas of promoting employment and decreasing health disparities for people with disabilities,” Christensen says. “The opportunity to work with Bob over the past year, and to learn from him and the talented team he has assembled, has been a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Christensen’s background includes over 15 years’ experience working with youth and young adults with disabilities and mental health challenges and their families, with an emphasis on work with urban poor and other underrepresented populations. She brings considerable experience developing, administering, coordinating, and evaluating federal, state, and local grant-funded projects, with an emphasis on cross-systems collaboration and program evaluation.

Christensen received undergraduate degrees from Syracuse University and a Masters in Social Work from Roberts Wesleyan College. She received a PhD in Health Practice Research at the University of Rochester, with a research emphasis on quality of life for adolescents and young adults with intellectual developmental disablities. She is also a graduate of the Leadership Education in Adolescent Medicine and Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities programs at the University of Rochester Medical Center.