2018 FOTA Awards Winners

At the FOTA18 Awards Ceremony in Orlando, Saturday, October 27th, 2018.  Award descriptions and criteria available here. The following awards were bestowed:

The Louise Samson Leadership Award & Honorary FOTA Membership

Cathy Peirce, PhD, OTR/L

Nomination Information: 

I am nominating Cathy Peirce for this award based on her long history of service to FOTA and to the profession of occupational therapy throughout the state of Florida. Cathy has been a force of positive influence for generations of Florida OTs --including many on the FOTA Board-- through her service as an educator and leader. She has taught many OTs in our state and mentored those serving as Regional Reps in our FOTA organization. Her service has led to improve local connections and the associations influence in all parts of our state. Her name is synonymous with student scholarly activities through the poster sessions where she has coordinated the judging and awards for the student posters for many years. In summary, Cathy has 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.


The David D. Clark Award of Excellence

Debra Misrahi, DrOT, OTR/L

Nomination Information: 

I hereby nominate Debra Misrahi for this award based on my 10 years of knowing her and her service to FOTA. Debra has a long-standing record of serving FOTA in many capacities from volunteer coordinator, student webpage monitor, secretary, members concerns and now VP. She has excelled in her professional work as an OT, achieving a post professional doctorate in OT and serving in the students of Miami Dade schools in clinical and administrative roles. She has been a leaders and scholar with presentations at both FOTA and AOTA conferences. She continues to inspire and support others through mentorship and is a large contributor to the annual conference committee and to the leadership development committee for FOTA. She meet the mark for the definition of this award in honor of David Clark.


FOTA Award of Appreciation

Janine Silvaroli, Association Coordinator

Nomination Information:

I nominate Association Coordinator Janine Silvaroli. She is our one and only employee BUT she devotes a passion for the success of our organization that goes above and beyond the call of her duties. Always creative, innovative, and willing to push forth with new initiatives, she creates better value for your FOTA membership. All roads flow through to Punta Gorda and to Janine's capable hands. Thanks from the whole FOTA board and our members.


FOTA Awards of Recognition

Tia Hughes, DrOT, OTR/L

Nomination Information

I nominate Tia Hughes for the Award of Recognition for her excellent service in the role of Conference Convener. Tia has worked to continuously improve the quality of the association's annual conference over her term. She has represented our organization professionally and advocated for the best venue options and educational opportunities for our membership. Through her leadership, FOTA has been able to make more informed decisions about our conference, innovate in options for presentations, registrations and marketing, adapt to adversity in challenging times, and look to the future with a vision of conferences. Meanwhile, Tia serves in her capacity as a leader and educator as a faculty member and program director. I am thankful for Tia's service to FOTA and want to give her this award for her dedication and perseverance, and to acknowledge her effort and expertise on conference planning and implementation. She is a great role model for future leaders and a great example of the practice of reflection, analysis, and continuous improvement


Linda Struckmeyer, PhD, OTR/L

Nomination Information

It is a pleasure to nominate Dr. Linda Struckmeyer for the FOTA Award of Recognition. Dr. Struckmeyer has been a FOTA member since 2008, when she rst moved to Florida. Over the past 10 years she has demonstrated a strong commitment to the profession of occupational therapy through excellence in teaching, scholarship, service, and leadership, each discussed below. Teaching: Dr. Struckmeyer has been in involved in the education of hundreds of occupational therapy students at the University of Florida as both an instructor and the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator (AFWC) since 2013. She is well-regarded in our community as a supportive AFWC who works closely with fieldwork educators to support their work with occupational therapy students. Most recently, she has added the position of Doctoral Experiential Component Coordinator to her faculty role, as UF begins its Doctor of Occupational Therapy program in August 2018. She continues to engage in outreach throughout the state to educate sites about the new OTD.  She continues to present, locally and nationally, in these areas. She is also a co-author on peer-reviewed manuscripts related to these areas.  In addition to her roles in education and scholarship, Dr. Struckmeyer holds an impressive record of service within the profession. From 2016 to 2018 she served as the FOTA Region 3 Representative, planning quarterly Forums for our local occupational therapy practitioners, and reaching out to increase membership in FOTA. Here work as the regional representative brought together community therapists across Region 3 and resulted in many well-attended forum meetings. Leadership: In addition to serving as the University of Florida representative to the Florida Occupational Therapy Education Consortium (FLOTEC) since 2013, this year she was named the FLOTEC Chair.  Her work as chair of both FLOTEC will continue to support the profession’s needs for fieldwork and capstones in Florida and the nation. As a consummate professional, dedicated educator, emerging scholar and leader in OT, within the state of Florida, Dr. Struckmeyer is very deserving of the FOTA Award of Recognition. We take pride in nominating Dr. Struckmeyer, and hope the Award’s Committee will be as enthusiastic as our team in recognizing our colleague’s talents, skills and contributions to the eld of Occupational Therapy in Florida and beyond. We are looking forward to the committee’s decision relate to this prime candidate. Christine Myers, PhD, OTR/L- Program Director Sherrilene Classen, PhD, MPH, OTR/L, FAOTA, FGSA- Professor and Chair UF OT Department


Kathleen Frahm, MBA, OTR/L

Nomination Information: 

In my capacity as FOTA President, I have observed Kathleen work hard to analyze and provide guidance to FOTA on the business side of things. She has been a strong advocate for budgeting and prudent spending as well as disciplined record keeping and planning. Her skills and efforts have gone a long way to keep FOTA successful and to move us in proper directions while she contributes to the decision-making process on our board. She tells the truth as she sees it and provides an honest assessment of tough situations that our board needs to hear. Meanwhile, she also serves as an SIS Chair, and provides valuable expertise in her eld of Habilitation for those with Developmental Challenges. All in all, she's contributed consistently throughout her involvement with FOTA and her service is appreciated by our board and membership




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