TO: The DMR Community
FROM: Gerry Morrissey
DATE: October 25, 2006
RE: Update 151

Rick O'Meara Selected to Receive the Carballo Award

The Department of Mental Retardation is proud to announce that Rick O'Meara, Regional Director for the Southeast Region is being honored with the 2007 Manuel Carballo Governor's Award for Excellence in Public Service. This award is given annually to no more than ten state employees who exemplify the highest standards of public service. Rick O'Meara is a natural leader who has made a significant difference in the lives of many people throughout his 30 years with the Department. The Carballo Award is being given to Rick in recognition of for his outstanding leadership this past year in directing the Commonwealth's effort to help 235 individuals displaced as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Rick was able to take a group of strangers from various backgrounds and agency mandates and, in a very short time, build a team with a common commitment to help those in need at Camp Otis Air Force base. He was always available to guide, support and problem solve with the team. Because of Rick's efforts, the Massachusetts experience at Camp Otis Air Force base was a huge success. Congratulations Rick.

Mary Barry and Patricia Cronin to Receive the Rooney Award

Each year, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts selects two individuals to receive the Eugene H. Rooney, Jr. Public Service Award - an award given to state employees who have demonstrated creativity and innovation in the development and delivery of training initiatives that not only help employees in their organizations but also the individuals they serve. This year, both of these awards are being given to DMR employees: Mary Barry, Area Director for the Newton/ South Norfolk Area Office and Patricia Cronin, Director of Training for the Northeast Region.

Mary Barry has been an innovative leader since she began her career over 20 years ago. She is one of the most experienced and respected area directors in the Department of Mental Retardation. Mary, even with her many responsibilities as an area director, has found the time to teach her staff on how to listen, to give staff the "big picture" of why they are working on certain projects and most importantly to teach staff on how to achieve the most important goal of finding solutions to problems concerning the individuals and their families that they serve. Whether it is educating community groups about the needs of individuals with mental retardation when siting a home or holding trainings and forums about transitioning from school to adult services, guardianship or social security benefits, Mary does it with a remarkable sense of humor and a quick wit. Mary is very good at seizing opportunities to turn any issue that she is dealing with into a "teachable moment."

Patricia Cronin is an exceptional person whose enthusiasm and dedication to her job has created a positive teaching environment that has won her the respect of all the managers in the Northeast Region as well as other Regions and Central Office of DMR. Since 2000 when Pat came to work for DMR, she has brought leadership and vision to the training unit in the Northeast Region. She has succeeded in translating governmental mandates into materials and activities that disabled individuals, families and staff find useful and accessible. Pat, with the help of her staff, has developed a first class orientation for new employees, expanded the roles of the area based trainers, provided support to the Regional Training Council and has had a major role in guiding and promoting the region's Supervisory and Leadership Institutes. In addition Pat actively participates in the management and expansion of the Community College Director Care Professional Program as well as the Direct Care Professional Conference.

Congratulations to Mary and Pat.

2007 Performance Recognition Winners

I would like to once again congratulate our 2007 Performance Recognition Winners. Congratulations!!!

Lee Fiske - Gymnasium Coordinator - Wrentham Developmental Center

Lee over the past year has made three significant contributions to the health and well-being of all who live and work at the Wrentham Developmental Center. He was a key contributor to the renovation of the 12 station - 1 mile - fitness trail called the Par Course. Lee also worked diligently to ensure that a 21 station functional fitness circuit called "Swerves" was erected in the Quinn Program Center Gym. These fitness programs are available to residents and staff and have led to a healthy lifestyle for all who participate.

Cindy Brown - Director of Nursing and Health Services - Monson Developmental Center

Cindy's contributions over the past 35 years as a nursing leader have had a positive impact on the individuals that the Department serves. Cindy has done an excellent job in developing and maintaining high quality medical services in facility settings and advocating for the development of needed clinical supports in the community system.

Cynthia Fentross - Residential Supervisor - Metro Residential Services Respite Program

Over the past year, Cynthia has made great strides in managing the Respite Program. This program serves individuals who have highly challenging behavioral issues. Through Cynthia's efforts, there have been reductions in the number of major behavior incidents and industrial accident claims. In addition, the turnover rate for staff has been the lowest ever since she was promoted to this position a year and a half ago.

Sharon Oxx, Director of Health Services and Neil Lazarra, Waiver Coordinator - Central Office.

Over the past year, Sharon and Neil took it upon themselves to team up and learn as much as they could about the new and extremely complex Medicare Part D Drug Program. Because of their training efforts and interventions, thousands of individuals with mental retardation made the transition to the new drug program without losing any benefits and more importantly without their medications being interrupted.

Casey Quirk - Occupational Therapist - Northeast Region

Casey implemented a program that assists families with children who are diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. In addition, Casey has written three manuals that serve to educate families about this disorder along with understanding what resources are available to them to provide assistance. Without Casey's efforts, many families in the Northeast Region would not be able to assist their children to have a better life.

Rebecca Anderson - Service Coordinator - North Shore Area Office

Rebecca developed the Holiday Star Project for her office. This project helps to provide gifts to individuals that her office serves who would not necessarily receive them during the holiday season. Each year the office is decorated and there are stars that hang from a garland with items that individuals would like to get. Over the past year 65 individuals received gifts through Rebecca's efforts and more and more of these gifts have come from people dropping by from the community at large who want to donate.

Rebecca Christie and William Bornstein, Service Coordinators - North Shore Area Office

Rebecca and William had the opportunity to assist a man and a woman whom they serve to ensure that their family stays together. This couple has had one child removed from the home by the Department of Social Services (DSS). While this was happening the woman was expecting another child. Rebecca and William worked with five different agencies, including DSS, to coordinate a comprehensive plan that enabled this child to remain with the couple. Currently, the couple is in the process of trying to get their other child back from DSS.

Rick Camara - Program Monitor - Central Middlesex Area Office

Because people with disabilities have limited opportunities to develop networks and connections for friendships, Rick thought it would be a good idea to start a group that would foster such situations. It became known as the "Lonely Hearts Club." There were staff from all disciplines and self advocates which met monthly to discuss ways to build networks. It culminated in a conference that was held on October 26, 2005 where over 200 individuals and staff attended. The event, " Creating and Supporting Connections," is now planned to continue as an annual event

Diane Ricchiazzi - Mental Retardation Worker II - Quabbin Residential Program

Diane is a person who only works 20 hours but she makes all 20 hours count. As a shift supervisor, she's well respected by her co-workers. What places Diane apart from others is not only her attention to detail around the house but the extra things that she does that makes the house a home for the men who live there.

Kelly Lawless - North Shore Area Director

Kelly has worked extremely hard to create unique work opportunities for the individuals that her office serves. She has hired four individuals to work in part-time clerical positions that she developed in her office. All four of the individuals selected have become quite successful in this environment; in fact, two of them were nominated last year to receive the Individual Recognition Awards. Kelly has worked hard to make sure that these individuals have been integrated into the daily social fabric of office life as well as professionally.

Elaine Sinni and Dolores Packard, Service Coordinators - Cape Cod & Islands Area Office

Listening to the individuals that they serve, Elaine and Dolores heard that they did not have many social outlets in their communities. Elaine and Dolores developed Planet Network as one answer to this problem. Planet Network is a group of individuals and staff who meet twice a month and plan activities such as line dancing, bingo and jewelry making and to highlight an individual's talents. The group started with 13 individuals but now has grown to 40. The continuous goal of Planet Network is to have individuals become more independent in socializing in the communities where they live.

Karin Howard, MRW II, Kathy McBride, MRWI, Sue Barthelette, MRWI and Cindy Kos, MRW I - Commonwealth Program

Karin, Kathy, Sue and Cindy provided extraordinary care for one of the woman that they serve during a time of need. The woman needed a total hip replacement which was to be done in Boston. Because of the incredible dedication to their jobs, these four women gave up time from their own families by working 12 hour shifts and commuting to and from Boston during an 8 day period to make sure that the individual had a supportive environment while undergoing the medical procedure.

Linda Fratamico, Residential Supervisor and Gary Poehler MRW - Hampden County Program

Linda and Gary made the extra effort to help a gentleman who had moved into the Hampden County Program in 2003. This gentleman had a quiet demeanor and it took some time before he told Gary about a sister he had not seen for many years. After much work by both Linda and Gary along with clues from the gentleman, they found his sister living in Connecticut. They had not seen each other for 37 years and had much catching up to do. Linda and Gary did not give up even though they were some obstacles in the way to reunite this man and his sister.

Larry Tummino, Assistant Commissioner for Field Operations, Anne Marie Stanton, Database Specialist, Victor Hernandez, Senior Project Manager, Ralph Edwards, Director Of Citizen Leadership, Kathleen Gallagher, Deputy General Counsel, Marianne Meacham, General Counsel and Margaret Chow-Menzer, Assistant Commissioner for Systems Integration Management. - Central Office - Statewide Boulet Administration Team

This team of Larry, Ann Marie, Victor, Ralph, Kathleen, Marianne and Margaret worked diligently and painstakingly over the past five years to ensure that a court settlement agreement was adhered to not only in the letter of the agreement but as importantly in its spirit. The Department needed to arrange for 2,225 placements and 210 day supports for those individuals who were on the "waiting list" for out-of-home residential services. Each member of this team had a special job to do and did with an eye to exacting detail as well as to make sure what was done was the right thing to do for each individual and the Department as a whole.

Daniel Mullen - LPN II, Adeline Felix - MRW I, Marie Clerger - MRW I, Wayne Johnson - MRW I, Linsfort Francois - MRW I, Sheila Saint-Fleur - MRW I, Marie Desire - MRW I, Theresa Lacroix - MRW I, Elizabeth Cefalo - MRW I, Cracieuse Jean-Louis - MRW I, Renel Antoine - MRW I, George Thermidor -MRW I, Abednego Cetoute - MRW II, Yves Rigaud - MRW II, Samuel Falaye, MRW II, Yolette Dodard, MRW II, Jacqueline Cayemite - MRW II, Jacky Michael - MRW II, Jeffrey Haggerty - MRW II, Mahamed Jamil, Residential Supervisor - South Boston Staff, Metro Residential Services

This team provided care and comfort around the clock for an individual in their house who suffered from liver cancer. They worked closely with the family so that he could receive hospice care in order for him to die with dignity. The team attended trainings on how to cope with death and dying but most of all they sat by the gentleman's bedside to comfort him and to keep him pain free during his last days. Their effort on his behalf is the embodiment of the mission of the Department.

Region Brad Keddal, Director of Program Development - Metro Region

Brad was instrumental to the Metro Region's success in meeting its Boulet Settlement placement goals year after year. At the end of the five years, over 1,000 individuals were moved to new homes that are well-suited for their preferences and needs. Brad's talents lie in his organizational skills, attention to detail and data management. He developed tracking systems and produced reports and charts that made it easier for the Area Offices to concentrate on what they do best - placing the individuals.

Susan Weiner, Director of Occupational Therapy - North Shore Enterprises - Hogan Regional Center

When Linda Montminy was asked to serve as the Fernald Facility Director as well as continue in her capacity as the Hogan Facility Director, she asked Susan to help restructure the day programs at Fernald. Working two days a week at Fernald while maintaining her hectic schedule at Hogan, Susan's excellent leadership, organizational and clinical skills resulted in the Fernald day programs achieving a greatly improved rating in the latest annual Title XIX survey.

Jackie Johnson, Administrative Assistant to the Facility Director - Templeton Developmental Center.

Jackie has worked with Patty Lyons, the Templeton Facility Director, for the past 17 years. Jackie has continually developed new skills and taken on new duties with great enthusiasm and dedication to detail. Along with performing her administrative duties, Jackie serves as Templeton's liaison with the Legal Unit on guardianship cases, and liaison with the Human Rights Committee. She is the MIS expert at the facility and has recently taken the lead in assisting staff on DMRIS initiatives. When Patty Lyons is absent, Jackie is the go to person for Templeton staff because she either knows the answer or can quickly find out who does.

Heidi Freeman, RNIV - Charles River West Area Office

Over the past year, the Charles River West Area Office had identified a significant number of individuals with complex and critical health care issues who were receiving less than optimal care. Heidi, whose warm and caring manners along with her candid clinical support in medical and health care issues, took on the task of contacting these individuals and their families. By using various strategies and with the help of a team of professionals was successful in raising the level of health care for these individuals by the end of the year.

DMRIS Update

In late September, the HCSIS Provider Enhanced Security Module was piloted by several of DMR's provider partners: American Training, Bay Cove Human Services, Growthways, Vinfen, Riverside Community MH/MRCenters, and Delta Projects. This module provides the tool to enable providers to define the level of access that a staff person would be granted to consumer information in HCSIS. Other features of this module include the creation of three new reports on enhanced security groups within the agency, the creation of a new HCSIS role: provider administrator of enhanced security, the creation of a restricted Incident Management Data Entry role (restricts the ability of a user to view incident details for incidents they did not create), the provision for providers to view/edit incidents they created after the consumer-provider relationship has ended, and the capacity to generate an audit trail that can track when users have viewed records. Upon completion of the pilot, this module will be made available to providers interested in using the Enhanced Security module in their agency.

Changes to the DMR Website

Check out the changes that have been made to the DMR Website, Click on "Roles of Individuals, Families and Volunteers" and you will find the "Individuals, Families and DMR Partnership Principles" posted. These are the principles established to foster collaborations and initiatives that will promote consumer choice and decision making. Click on "Spectrum of Services for Adults", and you can play audio files that have been added as an alternative means of communicating information. Please send us your comments and opinions about the DMR Website. You can contact us at:

M.A.S.S. Annual Meeting - November 4, 2006

Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong, the statewide self-advocacy group, is holding its ninth annual conference at the Worcester Hotel and Conference Center on Saturday, November 4th. This year's conference is "Let's Spread the Word …." The keynote speaker will be Rob Cutler, a self advocate and past president of the Autism National Committee. The conference will feature workshops on respect, employment, how to find a service provider, and the right to make choices. For more information and registration, contact MASS at 1-866-IAMABLE or 1-866-426-2253.

Regional Citizen Advisory Board Meetings

The DMR Statewide Advisory Board (SAC) and Regional Citizen Advisory Boards are hosting a series of regional meetings to celebrate and support the work of Citizen Advisory Boards (CABs) across the state. The meetings reflect regional interests and activities and include discussions on the SAC/CAB 2008 Budget Survey, the Family Citizen Monitoring Guidelines, preview of the SAC webpage, and strategic planning on CAB recruitment. Regionally selected topics such as Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP), updates on DMR initiatives, and others are also discussed. CAB and SAC members have found the meetings informative and energizing. SAC Chair Cynthia Levine says, "It's a wonderful opportunity for CAB members to learn what each board is doing and how we all contribute to a higher quality of life for our family members."

The Central West regional meeting was held on September 28, the Southeast regional meeting was held on October 12, and the Northeast regional meeting was held on October 19. The Metro regional meeting is scheduled for October 30th at 7 p m. at the Greater Boston Area Office in Hyde Park. You can contact Olga Page at or (781) 894-3600 ext.525, or Ralph Edwards (OCL) at 617 624-7755 for more information or directions.

Governor's Commission on Mental Retardation to Hold Public Hearing

On November 14, 2006, the Governor Commission on Mental Retardation will hold a public hearing on obstacles, solutions and recommendations for service system improvements. The hearing will be held at the Worcester Public Library from 5 to 7:30 pm. For more information contact Nancy Landry at (617) 988-3200

DMR Hosts Diversity Conference in Worcester

The Department of Mental Retardation held a Diversity Conference on October 18th in Worcester. More than 200 state employees attended. The keynote speaker was David Tulin, who spoke on "Leveraging Diversity to Advance Professional Excellence. Workshops offered that day included "Discussion on Family/Staff Relationships," "Mentoring," "Cultural Competency," Cultural Context -Language and Social Practice," and "Needs of an Aging Workforce."

Temple Grandin Conference: Animals in Translation & Autism and Asperger's Syndrome

The DMR Northeast Region Occupational Therapy Department and T.H.E. FARM Equestrian Program hosted Temple Grandin Ph.D. in a one-day conference Animals in Translation & Autism and Asperger's Syndrome on April 21, 2006. This conference was a phenomenal success as Dr. Grandin gave us her perspective on two very important topics on which she has first hand knowledge. A gifted animal scientist, she described how she uses her unique way of thinking as an autistic person to help her study animal behavior previously not examined nor understood. She spoke on autism as a woman who thinks, feels, and experiences the world in ways that are unique. Dr. Grandin is a tremendous advocate for good quality of life and employment opportunities for people with autism. Dr. Grandin teaches at Colorado State University. She has written over 300 articles and several books on the topics of both animal behavior and autism. She has greatly influenced people's perspective on what persons with autism can achieve and how animals should be treated throughout the world.

Daniel Lincoln & Sherril Hayter, NE Region, Receive Top EMARC Awards

Congratulations to both Daniel Lincoln and to Sherrill Hayter from DMR Metro North Area Office. Daniel Lincoln, Area Director, was awarded The ARC of East Middlesex's (EMARC) Public Leadership Award for his commitment and dedication in serving individuals with disabilities and their families.. Sherrill Hayter, Area Nurse, was awarded the ARC's Norma Howland Human Rights Award for her advocacy and work in making end of life services available to individuals with mental retardation. Both received the ARC's top agency awards at EMARC's Annual Awards event on April 11th.

Northeast Region's 2006 Individual Recognition Celebration

On June 15, 2006, the Northeast Region of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Retardation held its annual Individual Recognition Reception where 39 individuals were honored and recognized for their personal achievements. Family, friends, and staff joined in celebrating these 39 people's self-directed lives. Achievements honored included the embodiment of the ideals of self-determination in one's life as well as contributions to one's community and society. The well-attended evening was co-hosted by Regional Director Mandy Chalmers and Assistant Commissioner for Field Operations Larry Tummino.

Northeast Region's Direct Support Professional Conference

The Northeast Regional Training Council in partnership with Middlesex, North Shore and Northern Essex Community College co-sponsored its third 2006 "Direct Support Professional Conference - DSP: The Key to Quality Lives." This year's conference, attended by nearly 200 people, was held at the Danvers Campus of North Shore Community College on March 22, 2006. The conference day included a keynote, "The Direct Support Professional: The Key to Quality Lives" presented by DMR Commissioner Gerald Morrissey. Conference attendees enjoyed a day of learning and professional development that included an offering of 10 different workshops, a day of networking and opportunities to meet peers, a day of renewal and commitment, and a day of recognition and celebration for their invaluable work supporting people with developmental disabilities.

This information is provided by the Department of Developmental Services.