| The Louise Samson Leadership Award: Dr. Mirtha Whaley | FOTA Award of Appreciation: Vincent House | Award of Recognition: I'm For OT Group in Tallahassee

The Louise Samson Leadership Award: Dr. Mirtha Whaley PhD, MPH, OTRL

Dr. Whaley is the Assistant Professor and Director of Academic Affairs at Nova Southeastern University and the FOTA SIS Chair for Mental Health.

Dr. Mirtha Whaley has been a leader and advocate for mental health services within the greater Tampa Community. She has provided pro-bono OT evaluations, and education to care providers in residential and community based care facilities for individuals with mental illness and dementia. She has mentored students through the processes of providing OT interventions in community sites that have allowed residents to reclaim their social participation, and occupational engagement in their communities. Through her services and mentoring she has improved the quality of life and care, and promoted health and well-being for these individuals and communities. All the facilities in which she has provided care, consultation, and education have identified the value of OT. Several of these facilities are now in the process of developing positions for OTs. She has singlehandedly created places of better health, and quality of life within the community, and has provide the impetus for future OT opportunities in mental health care. She was key in the inclusion of Occupational Therapy Services and the creation of the Functional Assessment Unit at the USF Johnny Byrd Alzheimer's Institute. 

 Dr. Whaley has engaged in active leadership positions within FOTA as the MHSIS Chair and the Allen Cognitive Network. She provides much service within the community by providing education and support in mental health facilities in both English and Spanish speaking communities, such as Vincent House, Project Return, and Access House. She participates regularly in CarFit events, and coordinates an annual Fall Prevention event at the USP Health Johnny Byrd Institute. she also provides mentoring to other OTs in the community as requested. 

The Louise Samson Leadership Award: This award is the highest honor FOTA can bestow on an occupational therapist in Florida. This award acknowledges a practitioner who has developed his/her leadership capacity to serve the profession, FOTA, or the community; and whose leadership skills have contributed to supporting FOTA’s mission. Individuals considered must be an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant in good standing of FOTA for no less than 10 years upon nomination. The nominee shall have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in service to FOTA in a leadership position, notable impact on the profession by building the leadership capacity of others in FOTA, and documented volunteerism, which has met a significant leadership need in the community.

  FOTA Award of Appreciation: Vincent House:  A Recovery Through Work organization serving individuals with severe and persistent mental illness

Vincent House is a non-profit organization involved in the recovery of individuals with severe and persistent mental illness in Pinellas County, FL. This organization has, for the past three years, contributed to the preparation of our students at Nova Southeastern University's entry level Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program in Tampa. This they have accomplished through informational tours of their facility; on-site educational sessions provided by Ligia Gomez, MPH, Program Director; William McKeever, MA, CRC, Executive Director; and members of Vincent House who have shared their skills and stories with our students. Vincent House, the staff, and members have given our students a view of recovery and successful interventions that has forever changed our students' views of mental illness. In so doing, they have contributed to the occupational therapy profession here in Florida. Our students now consider service learning experiences at Vincent House, in addition to being open to the prospect of mental health practice. In turn,Vincent House is considering accepting a student for a residency at their facility, as well as creating a position for an occupational therapist in their program. 

FOTA Award of Appreciation: This award is for other persons and/or organizations that have rendered special services to FOTA or the occupational therapy profession in Florida. There may be more than one recipient for this award. Individuals/organizations cannot be Occupational Therapists and/or Occupational Therapy Assistants. Nominees shall have demonstrated significant contributions to FOTA in any of the following categories: political support, leadership, or contributions of education, equipment, leadership, employment etc.

Award of Recognition: I'm For OT Group in Tallahassee

For outstanding contribution in occupational therapy in Florida or for outstanding service to FOTA during the past year. OTs that spearheaded tackling the issue to include OT in the State Employee health plans. This group, headed by Tammy McKenzie First brought this to FOTA's attention and then worked tirelessly to contact legislators personally during Legislative Session to finally get OT services included in the state of Florida employee health plans. Through their efforts FOTA has come as close as we ever have to getting this issue resolved once and for all. 

Award of Recognition: This award honors outstanding contribution to the recognition and promotion of occupational therapy in Florida. There can be more than one recipient for this award. Individuals considered must be occupational therapists and/or occupational therapy assistants and FOTA members in good standing. Nominees shall have demonstrated significant contributions to the promotion and recognition of OT in Florida, in any of the following categories: FOTA involvement, education, political advocacy, presentations, clinical practice, administration, publications, or consumer advocacy. 


Amazon searches starting from benefit FOTA!