Corbett Ryan Pathways.org Pioneer Awards
The American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AACPDM) presents the Corbett Ryan Pathways.org Pioneer Award each year to honor individuals who demonstrate excellence in pursuing and achieving quality of life while living with a personal physical challenge.
Winners are chosen based on:
- Motivation and achievement in accomplishing personal or professional goals
- Creative approach to education and participation in their vocation or profession
- Positive approach to life
- Service as a role model, demonstrating self respect and sensitivity to others
2019 Recipient – Jason Benetti, J.D.
Jason Benetti is a play-by-play announcer for the Chicago White Sox and ESPN. He is also an adjunct professor at Syracuse University for Sports Broadcasting and Sports Interviewing. Jason received his bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism, Economics and Psychology from Syracuse University and has a doctorate of law (J.D.) from Wake Forest University. When he is not in the broadcasting booth, Jason is an ambassador for the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, which works to transform the lives of people who have cerebral palsy through innovation, research, and collaboration. Jason stars in the series “Awkward Moments,” a Cerebral Palsy Foundation video campaign which promotes the understanding of disabilities – helping people to understand and accept those who are different.
2018 Recipient – David W. Pruitt, MD
Dr. Pruitt is the Medical Director, Inpatient Pediatric Rehabilitation Unit Director, Rehabilitation Medicine Fellowship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He is also an Associate Professor at University of Cincinnati Department of Pediatrics and Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine. Dr. Pruitt was the recipient of the 2011 Pediatric Rehabilitation and Developmental Disabilities Council Outstanding Service Award.
Dr. Pruitt’s Publications:
- Visscher M, King A, Nie AM, Schaffer P, Taylor T, Pruitt D et al. A quality improvement collaborative project to reduce pressure ulcers in PICUs. Pediatrics. 2013: 131(6): e1950-60.
- Pruitt DW, Ayyangar R, Craig K, White A, Neufeld JA. Pediatric brain tumor rehabilitation. J Pediatr Rehabil Med. 2011; 4(1): 59-70.
- Pruitt DW, Tsai T. Common Comorbidities Associated With Cerebral Palsy. In: LJ Michaud (ed.): Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, 2009; 20(3):453-67
2017 Recipient – Kathleen Friel, PhD.
Dr. Friel is the Director, Clinical Laboratory for Early Brain injury Recovery at Burke Rehabilitation Center and Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Brain and Mind Research Institute, Weill Cornell Medical College.
Research Projects in progress:
- Using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to study motor system plasticity after intensive hand training in children with unilateral cerebral palsy (CP)
- Using magnetic resonance imaging to study brain pathways involved in controlling movement and sensation in children with CP
- Examining the safety and efficacy of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) as a therapy for children with CP
2016 Recipient – Justtin Herbst
Justin serves as a role model for people of differing abilities. He testified before the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) on “Fulfilling the Promise: Overcoming Persistent Barriers to Economic Self-Sufficiency for People with Disabilities.” He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in History from Southern Illinois University and while attending college Justin worked at the Women’s Crisis Center in Carbondale. Today, Justin works in Human Resources at UPS and volunteers at the Center for Independence as a mentor for teens with physical differences.
2015 Recipient – Andrew McAleavey
Andrew received a B.S. Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. Andrew is a Registered Patent Agent and founded his own company PATENTBEST. He has worked for over 15 years with Fortune 500 companies, researchers, scientists, engineers along with independent inventors to patent their inventions. In his free time, he is the director of the children’s climbing program at Ironworks Gym, in Berkley, California.
2014 Recipient – Paul Tudisco
Paul is a Technology Specialist. He is owner of Paul’s Computer Service, he regularly instructs and assists students enrolled in classes on assistive technology at United Cerebral Palsy of NYC and consults at NYU Polytech for their disabilities studies courses. Paul assisted in the creation of the “Limitless Stylus”, a product that attaches to the wrist to help people with limited motor skills use touch screen products.
2013 Recipient – Rich Donovan
In 2006, Rich founded Lime Connect, a non-profit organization that works with clients including Google, IBM, and PepsiCo to boost hiring of talented individuals with disabilities. Lime Connect was identified as a best practice company by the US Department of Labor. In 2012, he helped found Fifth Quadrant Analytics (FQA) which provides corporate clients with reports and consulting that helps transform disability compliance into an opportunity to grow and drive profitability. The disability market includes three billion customers worth trillions of dollars. Rich has held positions as CEO of FQA, a member of the
Board of Trustees at United Cerebral Palsy, and an avid sailor. He and his wife Jenn have a son named Maverick.
2012 Recipient – Tobias Tsai, MD
Currently a Pediatric Physiatrist at Levine Children’s Hospital, Dr. Tsai has used his own experiences with cerebral palsy to inspire his career. Specializing in treating children with physical, cognitive and language issues, he has helped patients reach their maximum potential. Dr. Tsai completed his Pediatric Rehabilitation Fellowship at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. He was the Chief Resident of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency Program at the University Of Cincinnati College Of Medicine.
2011 Recipient – Steven Wampler
After a career as an environmental engineer, Steve founded The Wampler Foundation. Also known as Camp Wamp, the foundation provides life-changing opportunities through outdoor recreation programs for children with muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other physical disabilities, at no cost to their families. Steve won the Sports Illustrated “Sweat for Greatness” contest after making history as the first person with cerebral palsy to climb and summit Yosemite’s El Capitan. He is married and has two children.
2010 Recipient – Gary Endacott
Gary Endacott has served as Disability Facilitator for the Ministry of Education of New Zealand. He has worked to ensure the best possible outcomes for children with disabilities. He was the first person with a physical difference to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Gary’s contributions to inclusion are extensive, especially in the world of sports where he has regularly excelled. He completed the New York City Marathon four times and became a world disabled tennis champ.
2009 Recipient – Judy Panko Reis, MA, MS
Judith Panko Reis, MA, MS, founder of the Women with Disabilities Center (WWDC) of Access Living, sustained a traumatic brain injury by random assault more than 20 years ago. Judith established the WWDC in 1991 at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago when she discovered a lack of accessible women’s health services during her own pregnancy. The WWDC became the first health resource center in the country run by women with disabilities for women and teenage girls with disabilities. Under the direction of a community board of women with disabilities, the WWDC offers weekly support groups, mentorship programs and individual consultations to help problem-solve.