Bruce Keisling, PhD, Named Executive Director of the UT-Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center

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Dr. Bruce Keisling is the new executive director of the UT-Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. (Photo by Thurman Hobson/UTHSC)

Bruce Keisling, PhD, has been named the executive director of the UT-Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities (BCDD) and Shainberg Chair of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC). He has served as associate director of the center for nine years, and is the director and principal investigator for the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Program.

Dr. Keisling, the fourth executive director since the center’s inception, is taking over the position from Frederick B. Palmer, MD, who retired from the BCDD after 23 years.

Dr. Keisling is a clinical psychologist and associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at UTHSC. He has over 20 years of experience in the field of developmental disabilities. Previous positions include a clinical faculty appointment through the Emory University School of Medicine and a four-year tenure as the regional director of a statewide, not-for-profit center that serves adults and children with developmental disabilities. He is president-elect of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities and serves statewide interests through his board membership on the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.

“We are thrilled to have a leader with both the experience and the national stature assume this position,” said Jonathan McCullers, MD, Dunavant Professor and chair in the Department of Pediatrics at UTHSC and pediatrician-in-chief at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. “Bruce will bring energy and new ideas forward in a time when these programs are more crucial to the children of this region than ever.”

Dr. Keisling said his vision for the BCDD “is to be the preeminent venue for training, research, and clinical service in developmental disabilities for the surrounding communities we serve.”

Asked about Dr. Palmer’s legacy, Dr. Keisling said, “Dr. Palmer has been committed to the interdisciplinary training of professionals in comprehensive, coordinated, family-centered care and support for children and adults with disabilities. He has been instrumental in establishing or growing several programs at our center over his 23 years of service, including our University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities Program, Shelby County Relative Caregiver Program, and Center of Excellence for Children in State Custody.”

He praised Dr. Palmer for his leadership statewide through his efforts on the Tennessee Autism Summit Team and the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.