This website uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some of these cookies are used for visitor analysis, others are essential to making our site function properly and improve the user experience. By using this site, you consent to the placement of these cookies. Click Accept to consent and dismiss this message or Deny to leave this website. Read our Privacy Statement for more.
News & Press: Conference

IARP Honors Members in Portland

Friday, February 7, 2020   (0 Comments)
Share |

IARP Honors Members in Portland

Awards Presented at Annual Meeting

February 2020, St. Paul, MN - The International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals (IARP), an association of over 2,400 rehabilitation professionals from across the world, announced its principle award winners at the association’s 2019 annual meeting in Portland, Oregon on November 1, 2019. The awards highlight the IARP member who has made lifetime contributions benefiting the total rehabilitation community. Equally important are the awards for outstanding professional member, distinguished leader, and notable emerging professionals in the field.

IARP Lifetime Achievement Award

Amy Vercillo was honored with the IARP Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognizes the individual professional member who has demonstrated a history of distinguished service and life-long commitment to the rehabilitation profession. The award also identifies significant and notable contributions both to the organization and profession throughout their career. Dr. Vercillo has been actively involved for decades in IARP. She has dedicated her time towards the Social Security Vocational experts’ quest to receive fair pay and ensure appropriate qualifications for individuals serving as SSVEs. Dr. Vercillo was instrumental in obtaining a fee increase for SSVE members, first increase in nearly 30 years. This is a tangible outcome that greatly benefited IARP members. Recently, Dr. Vercillo was also asked to chair the Governmental Affairs and Legislative committee to assist all of IARP in governmental affairs and advocacy for the profession. She has gladly taken this additional responsibility on in addition to her continued service for the SSVE board. She has been active in leadership roles in IARP for well over ten years. She is always willing to help or assist in any way she can.

IARP Emerging Professional Award

Dr. Tracy Witty was awarded the IARP Emerging Professional Award. This award is given to the individual professional member who has expanded the role of rehabilitation professional through IARP participation, leadership, volunteering, and professional growth, thereby representing and promoting the mission of IARP to a larger audience. Tracy Witty, who has been granted CLCP credential within the last five years, has also completed a doctorate and published her thesis which promotes the professional practice of Life Care Planning within the occupational therapy field. Furthermore, she has encouraged and supported each of her associates to attain the CCLCP credential and IARP memberships. Tracy has also started multiple writing projects with colleagues; the goal of which is to publish in the area of LCP within IARP and OT professional journals.

IARP Outstanding Professional Member Award

Michael Blankenship was honored with this achievement because of his activities both inside and outside of IARP. He has given countless hours to IARP and represented members in Washington DC as part of the IARP Government Relations team. He exemplifies professional association leadership not only with his skills but with his positive attitude and good nature. When fundraising for a lobbyist to represent SSVE’s he challenged members to meet a goal with the promise of wearing a pink tutu to the national conference. Not only did Mike’s encouragement help the section meet the goal he looked very stylish in his pink tutu. Mike in generous with his time for the benefit of others, has mentored new members, provided outstanding leadership and did it all with a warm smile.

IARP Outstanding Leadership Award

Michelle Aliff was recognized as the winner of the IARP Outstanding Leadership Award. This award is given to the individual professional member who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the service of IARP, either at the section level, international level, or within a particular chapter. Michelle has served as the chair of SSVE for the past two years and has spent a considerable amount of her own personal money and time to improve the landscape for all SSVEs. In terms of contributing her own personal money, for several years she has donated several thousands of dollars to support a lobbyist to assist with improving qualifications of vocational experts testifying in administrative law hearings, increase fees paid to SSVEs for testimony and case review provided, and continuously travels (paying her own way) to Washington to advocate with a small team of vocational experts and the lobbyist to further support the mission of IARP. Not only is Michelle effectively communicating with decision-makers within the Social Security Administration, it appears they are reshaping qualification standards of vocational experts. In terms of contributing her time, she is constantly communicating on the list-serve with developments of lobbying efforts, extending the discussion on several topics (sharing resources that can be used by all SSVEs), resolving disagreements in a professional manner so that members do not feel attacked, and regularly meets with SSVEs to solve their issues when she can.

IARP Outstanding Chapter Award

IARP continued with the formal recognition of the outstanding work being done within IARP Chapters by giving out its second Outstanding Chapter Award. All IARP Chapters were invited to participate by describing how their chapter performed against a set of criteria, which included; leadership and organization involvement, learning and career development, membership growth and retention, integration of younger members, strategic planning, and creative activities. The winner for 2019 was IARP Washington! As the winner of the Outstanding Chapter Award, IARP Washington was presented with a banner that commemorates their accomplishment and can be used at future chapter events.

The IARP member recognition program was developed by a special subcommittee of the IARP Membership/Marketing Committee. The subcommittee was chaired this year by Mitchell Schmidt from Pennsylvania. Others contributing to the review of all nominations were: Todd Gendreau, Janice Marrero, Sara Shugars, Matthew Sprong, and Laura Woodard.

FLCPR Presents Annual Awards

Continuing its tradition of recognizing outstanding members of the life care planning community, the Foundation for Life Care Planning Research (FLCPR) presented its annual awards during a special reception for the Life Care Planning Section on October 31, 2019 in Portland, OR. Established in 2002 as a non-profit research organization, the Foundation's scope has broadened to include support for any well-developed research design within the field of rehabilitation that advances the field and/or makes a significant contribution to the population of individuals with a disability. The FLCPR works with several state universities, private practitioners, university academics and doctoral students, and enjoys a long history of supporting successful research projects as well as supervising several doctoral students in the completion of their dissertation work. For a summary of FLCPR projects, see

Congratulations to the 2019 FLCPR Award Recipients:

Sheri Jasper Memorial Recognition Award

Dana Penilton was awarded the Sheri Jasper Memorial Recognition award in recognition of her contributions to the life care planning community that exemplify the consummate professional. Dana continues to be a positive influence in the specialty practice of life care planning and embodies many of the same qualities as Sheri Jasper, the award’s namesake, through her consistent positive, supportive, friendly and encouraging attitude toward colleagues and clients. Dana’s tireless energy is evident in her passion for the principles of rehabilitation, case management, life care planning, and rehabilitation nursing. A strong believer in and advocate for giving back to the profession, Dana’s time and insight can be found not only in her clinical work, but also her contributions to the professional association and colleagues in the field. Dana stepped up and assisted this year’s conference committee in helping to plan the IARP conference and, more specifically, the successful and highly rated Life Care Planning Symposium and pre-conference.

FLCPR Lifetime Achievement Award

Dan Bagwell was honored with the FLCPR Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is given to an individual in recognition of their dedication and countless contributions to the specialty practice of life care planning. Recipients of the award have contributed significantly to the body of literature in life care planning and have advanced the specialty practice of life care planning through word and/or deed. Dan Bagwell received the Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award for his extensive experience in the field of life care planning, his generosity of both time and resources, including serving on important committees, presenting at symposium events, and mentoring other life care planners for more than twenty years. Dan has also authored co-chapters on organ transplantation and spinal cord injury in the Life Care Planning and Case Management handbook. Through all his activities, Dan has been a major advocate for the field and many of us have had the opportunity to benefit from his energy, insights, and friendship.

For more information on IARP and the awards, please visit Conference page.