New Directors Named at Southern Miss Institute for Disability Studies

New Directors Named at Southern Miss Institute for Disability Studies

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The following is a news release from The University of Southern Mississippi

The Institute for Disability Studies (IDS) at The University of Southern Mississippi has fortified its leadership team with the naming of two new directorships. Dr. Rebekah Young has been named associate director, while Dr. Jerry R. Alliston has been named community education director.

"I am immensely excited to add these talented and motivated professionals to our management team," said Dr. Beth Bryant-Claxton, IDS executive director. "Drs. Young and Alliston have proved their dedication to helping IDS grow and flourish already during their time as staff. In formalizing their roles, I aim to ensure that the future promise for our Institute is fully realized."

Young began work at IDS five years ago in a collaborative role with the Institute and the School of Social Work focusing on health initiatives. She has coordinated the Tobacco Control Strategies (TCS) for Mississippians with Disabilities project which focuses on the development of tailored strategies, programs, and materials to help improve access to tobacco cessation resources and reduce tobacco use.

A Southern Miss alumnus, Young received her doctorate in higher education administration and a master's degree in public health with dual emphasis in epidemiology/biostatistics and health education. She is a certified health education specialist and has 10 years of experience coordinating and overseeing project and budget reporting, maintaining programmatic documentation, and developing data collection tools, as well as collecting, analyzing, and reporting data.

Alliston has served in various coordinator positions at IDS for 10 years. Until his recent promotion, he served as the Coordinator for Community Inclusion and Volunteer Service which allowed him to develop programs targeting youth and young adults with disabilities. Alliston has recently concentrated on the development of inclusive national service programs, work initiatives, self-advocacy development and leadership programs.

Alliston received his doctorate in higher education administration and a master's degree in social work from Southern Miss. He has over 20 years of experience in the social sciences and disability fields focusing on medical social work, military disability case management, disaster case management, early intervention services, and transition services.

Alliston serves as adjunct faculty for the Southern Miss Department of Child and Family Studies, Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education, and School of Social Work.

IDS has been located at Southern Miss for almost 40 years and has satellite offices on the Southern Miss Gulf Park campus in Long Beach and in Jackson. IDS provides pre-service training, community services and technical assistance programs for individuals with disabilities of all ages and their families. IDS' areas of emphasis include education and early intervention, housing, health, recreation and assistive technology.

For more information about IDS, visit