Two Iowa LEND Graduates Named 2022 Healy Award Recipients

June 17, 2022

(L-R) Flannery Currin, Assistive Technology and Family trainee, and Sofie Dollison, Public Health trainee
(L-R) Flannery Currin, Assistive Technology and Family trainee, and Sofie Dollison, Public Health trainee

Two graduates of the Iowa LEND program were recently named the 2022 recipients of the Alfred Healy Leadership Award in Developmental Disabilities. Each year, Iowa’s UCEDD awards a trainee, or trainees, who are nominated by LEND core faculty after completing the LEND program with distinction. This year’s recipients are Flannery Currin, Assistive Technology and Family trainee, and Sofie Dollison, Public Health trainee. Nominees share how the LEND program has demonstrated the importance of family-centered, coordinated, and culturally competent care, for individuals with disabilities and families. They also describe their future career plans and proposed leadership activities, which the award will fund.

The purpose of the Healy Award is to nurture in recipients a life-long commitment to leadership in developmental disabilities that will carry on Dr. Healy's legacy for future generations. Dr. Healy, who passed away in April of 2012, was a world-renowned pediatrician and educator who devoted his life to caring for children with developmental disabilities. He served as the director of the Center for Disabilities and Development (CDD), Iowa's UCEDD from 1977 until he retired in 1998. During their LEND year, trainees participate in a variety of clinical observations at CDD’s Healy Clinic.

Flannery Currin drew on her experience as a sibling of a person with a disability throughout her LEND experience to help her get the most out of the year. Taking part in the LEND Parents as Mentors program, where trainees are matched with families with children with disabilities, added to her personal understanding of the challenges families may encounter. She learned about the need for coordinated care through her participation in CDD’s interdisciplinary Neurodevelopmental Evaluation Clinic. And she worked collaboratively with trainees in other disciplines on a research project to help adults who work children with complex communication needs coordinate intervention with Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices. She and her LEND research team conducted a survey of SLPs and special educators in Iowa to identify reported needs for support related to AAC service provision. Currin is also interested in the positive and negative impacts that social media has on individuals with disabilities during the transition period. Her new research plans include conducting surveys to learn about parent attitudes toward technologies for children, such as concern about cyberbullying, and their behavioral responses to these technologies, such as setting screen time limits for their children or monitoring their children’s technology use.

Sofie Dollison earned her Master of Public Health degree in May, and plans to enter the public health workforce to pursue health education and health communication, with special interests in reducing stigma and promoting healthy nutrition. For the past year, she has been working on developing an online, interactive health education program for families. Her LEND training gave her the tools to ensure the program was accessible to all. With a focus on systems of care, she looks forward to promoting connections between health care systems and community-based organizations. Dollison draws on her own experience, when her own health care providers connected her with a nonprofit organization that became her community after she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. She is using her award funding to forge professional connections, as she continues her education and develops skills. She will attend the AUCD 2022 Conference and the 2022 Disability: IN Conference. She also will become a member of the American Association on Health and Disability, and she will participate in Research Methodology Training through Michigan’s ICPSR Summer Program.

Congratulations to both of Iowa’s 2022 Healy Award recipients!

Visit the Iowa LEND website to learn more about the program: