Debra Young —owner of EmpowerAbility® LLC, an occupational therapy consultancy—is an award-winning, certified specialist in environmental modifications, inclusive design and the impact of the environment on health. Debra has 25 years of occupational therapy experience as a clinician, educator and business owner. With unique work experiences in health/healthcare, education, employment and housing, she has been a provider of services across a spectrum of settings and populations for both client-based and systems-level practice.
Debra has earned a Master’s in Education degree with specialization in Assistive Technology (AT) from Bowling Green State University, a graduate certificate in AT from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Elizabethtown College. Debra has been named a Fellow to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and has earned the AOTA Specialty Certification in Environmental Modifications; distinctions accomplished by less than 1% of occupational therapists nationally. She is the current Vice President of the AOTA and is the 2014 recipient of the AOTA Recognition of Achievement Award for notable contributions to the profession and its consumers in the environmental modifications specialty area of practice.
Debra has published and presented on local, state, national and international levels on the creation of healthy, inclusive homes and communities. She currently holds an adjunct teaching position with the University of South Dakota instructing post- professional doctoral occupational therapy and PhD Health Sciences students on leadership in healthcare and on a course that she developed on environmental modifications occupational therapy practice.