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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
HomeCommunitySchoolsNatural Hazards Center Awards VIUCEDD Director First Disability and Disasters Award

Natural Hazards Center Awards VIUCEDD Director First Disability and Disasters Award

Kimberly Mills, Ph.D. (Submitted photo)

The Natural Hazards Center has awarded Kimberly Mills, Ph.D., executive director for the Virgin Islands Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (VIUCEDD), the Disability and Disasters Award. This inaugural award was presented to Mills because of her efforts in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.

“I found her work at the VIUCEDD after hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 inspiring,” said Melissa Villarreal, committee member for the award and a graduate research assistant. “She organized a fundraising campaign that generated more than $7,000 to purchase emergency radios for those who are deaf and hard of hearing. The award committee agreed this was representative of the type of leadership and service that Dr. Mills exhibits in the area of disability and disasters.”

Mills said, “Hurricane relief was a team effort between VIUCEDD and our DD Network partners at the Disability Rights Center, Center for Independent Living and the DD Council. We did our best to support our community in a time that was traumatic and trying for everyone.”

She has spent more than two decades serving people with disabilities across the globe and in the U. S. Virgin Islands in several capacities, including in the context of disasters.

Her research and community priorities include best treatment practices for autism spectrum disorders, technical assistance and evaluation, the study of phenomenon surrounding the school-to-prison pipeline, cultural and linguistic competence through a behavioral analytic lens, disability employment, health disparities research and emergency preparedness.

The Natural Hazards Center recently established the Disability and Disasters Award to recognize those who advance and support the area of disability and disasters with their research, practice, or service. The award was made possible thanks to the generous contribution of an anonymous donor.

As the first recipient of the award, Mills will receive financial support to attend the 2021 Annual Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop. In addition, she will have travel and registration costs covered for the next in-person workshop.

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