2016 George S. Jesien Distinguished Achievement Award

Deborah Spitalnik, PhD

December 6, 2016

The Distinguished Achievement Award recognizes a network member who has demonstrated a distinguished career of excellence and leadership in support of AUCD's mission to advance policy and practice for and with people living with developmental and other disabilities, their families and communities. This award was renamed after one of AUCD's past-Executive Directors, George S. Jesien, PhD.

Deborah Spitalnik, PhD

The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities
Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

For Your Leadership and Service and Your Dedication to People with Disabilities and Their Families

"Deb's outstanding career in the UCEDD network began as a doctoral trainee at Temple University. She later became the founding director of New Jersey's UCEDD, The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, in 1983 and has led the Center since then. In July 2016, she also became Director of the newly established NJLEND program. She is recognized for national, innovative programs such as the Developmental Disabilities Lecture Series which was established in 1984 and now draws more than 1,500 people a year. Deb's abiding passion is the intersection between people and public policy, which is reflected in her commitment to ensuring that the Center is an accessible resource that assists service systems to innovate and to be responsive to the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. As a result of her dedication, the Boggs Center has provided training and technical assistance through an agreement with the State's developmental disabilities agency for more than thirty years, received State funding to work with schools to promote inclusion of students with disabilities for over ten years, and has had numerous other collaborations."