Two Iowa LEND Trainees Recognized with Annual Healy Award

June 8, 2020

Mary Ball, M.A. LSC, and Cassandra Olmstead, M.A.,
Mary Ball, M.A. LSC, and Cassandra Olmstead, M.A.,

The Center for Disabilities and Development (CDD, Iowa's UCEDD) is proud to announce that Mary Ball, M.A. LSC, and Cassandra Olmstead, M.A., are the 2020 recipients of the Alfred Healy Leadership Award in Developmental Disabilities. Ball and Olmstead were members of the 2019-2020 cohort of the Iowa Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities program (ILEND).

The Alfred Healy Leadership Award in Developmental Disabilities celebrates the legacy of Dr. Alfred Healy, who served as the director of CDD from 1977 until he retired in 1998. A world-renowned pediatrician and educator, Dr. Healy devoted his life to caring for children with developmental disabilities until his death in 2012. The Healy Award recognizes his life-long commitment to leadership in developmental disabilities, and nurtures that commitment in award recipients. The recipients build on Dr. Healy's legacy through their contributions to the field.  

Mary Ball, M.A. LSC, served as the education trainee in the 2019-2020 ILEND cohort. She completed her master's degree in School Counseling in December of 2019, which included internships in K-12 schools in Iowa. She will begin a doctoral program in Couple and Family Therapy in the fall of 2020. As a teaching assistant for the undergraduate course, Technology in the Classroom, Ball taught pre-service teachers about instructional technology, including assistive technology. As a former graduate assistant for the Iowa Center for Assistive Technology Education and Research, Ball conducted assistive technology consultations, gave state and national presentations, provided professional development throughout the state of Iowa, and conducted research with individuals in the UI REACH program. Outside of her professional and clinical duties, Ball advocates for relatives with developmental disabilities.

Cassandra Olmstead, M.A., is a doctoral student in Education Psychology and the Learning Sciences in the University of Iowa College of Education. She served as the family trainee in the 2019-2020 ILEND cohort, bringing the perspective of her personal experience, as an advocate for family-driven care for her three children with special health care needs.  Her current research focuses on the attitudes of teachers toward inclusion, and toward the parents of children with special health care needs. She examines how those attitudes shape their ability to interact with students and their families. Ball plans to educate future teachers and design curricula to train educators and medical professionals about individuals with disabilities and their families.

CDD typically hosts an annual award luncheon to bring together members of Dr. Healy's family with the recipients. In this atypical year, however, the connection had to be virtual. CDD created videos so that Ball and Olmstead could share what receiving the Healy Award means to them and their plans for continuing their work to improve the system of care that supports individuals with disabilities and their families.

Watch the recipients' videos:

For more information about Iowa's LEND program, visit the ILEND webpages: