NASDDDS Announces Award Recipients

The Censoni Award is the only award that recognizes public officials who strive to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities and is named after the late Ben Censoni, former developmental disabilities director for Michigan and chair of the association’s Governmental Affairs Committee. Ben’s motto was “people are what really matter.”

This year’s recipient is Ms. Gail Grossman is the former Special Assistant Commissioner for Quality Management for the Massachusetts DDS. Her career spans more than 40 years beginning with her role as the assistant executive director of Arc/Massachusetts where she oversaw all governmental affairs operations and was instrumental in incorporating the requirement for a community plan into the consent decrees at the state developmental centers. She then became the associate area director for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health overseeing the initiation and growth of community services for individuals with intellectual disability in this catchment area west of Boston.

 From 1986-1992, Gail was employed by Children’s Hospital of Boston, where she directed the Health and Habilitative Services contract at the Wrentham Developmental Center. Until the end of June 2016, Gail was the Assistant Commissioner for Quality Management for the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services. In this role, Gail was responsible for the creation of a quality management and improvement system considered by many to be a national model. Gail oversaw the licensure and certification system for over 190 public and private providers, the statewide risk management system, the health and dental services system, as well as the oversight of eight out of the state’s 10 home and community-based services waiver programs. Gail was an active contributor to the NASDDDS/CMS workgroup which resulted in revisions to the process and content of the HCBS Waiver assurance system. More recently, she was responsible for coordinating the state’s efforts to comply with the CMS community rule.

 Gail has been married to Bill Kiernan for 35 years, has three sons and five beautiful grandchildren.

 The Robert M. Gettings Compass Award was presented to Mr. William Kiernan, Ph.D. This award is presented to individuals who, while working in the private sector, have made a significant contribution to the development of publicly funded state service systems for people with developmental disabilities through research, the design of new service models, training, technical assistance, and consultation.

Mr. William E. Kiernan, Ph.D. is the Dean and Professor, School of Global Inclusion and Social Development, Director, Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts, Boston.   

Dr. Kiernan has served as a content expert for state, federal and international governments in the areas of employment policy and practice for persons with disabilities. He has written more than 130 publications in employment, school inclusion, and transition from school to adult life for persons with disabilities and been the director on more than $120 M in grants addressing research in employment policies, procedures and practices, training in rehabilitation counseling and vision rehabilitation. He has served on numerous national and international panels addressing systemic change in the employment of persons with disabilities. Dr. Kiernan has been a member of several national boards serving as president of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) as well as president of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD).

In addition to holding a Ph.D. in rehabilitation and special education from Boston College and master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from Boston University, he holds a second master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in health care management from Boston University.