Lesley Cottrell, Ph.D., professor and vice chair of research in the West Virginia University School of Medicine's Department of Pediatrics, has agreed to serve as the interim director of the WVU Center for Excellence in Disabilities (CED).

Dr. Cottrell is co-director of the West Virginia Prevention Research Center (WVPRC) and, from 2004-11 led the research component of WVU’s renowned CARDIAC Project (Coronary Artery Risk Detection in Appalachian Communities), which provides screening and intervention to tens of thousands of West Virginia children at risk for heart disease. She has also served as a member of the WVU Faculty Senate since 2005.

Dr. Cottrell holds a doctorate in developmental psychology and is funded on several projects related to autism and disabilities. She served as the Primary Investigator (PI) for the West Virginia portion of the National Children’s Study, which examined developmental conditions such as autism and longitudinal trajectory of learning disabilities. Most recently, she was selected as the recipient of WVU’s 2015 Women in Science and Health (WISH) award. 

Established in 1978, the CED is located in Morgantown, West Virginia and has a satellite office in Big Chimney, West Virginia with staff located in offices across the state to better serve clients in their communities. The CED is a unit within WVU Health Sciences, and because of the placement within the University, has access and alignment within the Schools of Pharmacy, Public Health, Nursing, Medicine and Dentistry. Reporting authority with WVU tacitly supports the opportunity for collaboration, education and training needed to support and strengthen the state's capacity to meet the needs of persons with disabilities.