APD Staff Recipients of 2017 Prudential Productivity Awards

The Agency for Persons with Disabilities is pleased to announce several staff members were recently honored as 2017 Prudential Productivity Award recipients. Each year, Prudential and The Florida Tax Watch recognize state employees who combine their creativity and innovation to improve and deliver state services in a more efficient manner. On June 14, these staff members were recognized at the 29th Annual Prudential Productivity Awards ceremony held at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center in Tallahassee.

Two individual staff members and two teams from APD have won awards. Award winners included Jennie Ann Dean from Sunland Center in Marianna; Lori Keel from the Developmental Disabilities Defendant Program (DDDP) in Chattahoochee; Pamela London, Gordon Brown, Cheryl Aldridge, and Amber Poore from the Quality Assurance, Training, and Client Rights unit in APD’s State Office; and the CMS Rule Compliance of Residential and Non-Residential Settings group led by Ed DeBardeleben from APD’s State Office.

Jennie Ann Dean is the Resident Advocate at Sunland Center. She ensures the rights and needs of the individuals served at Sunland Center are provided without exception. In addition to her duties, she consistently goes above and beyond her scope of duty to search out and develop occasions that allow Sunland residents opportunities to engage in socially enriching and meaningful activities. Ms. Dean works tirelessly to enrich the lives of the individuals who reside at Sunland, advocating for opportunities that will enhance their life experiences. A couple of years ago, Ms. Dean became aware of the “Night to Shine” event sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, which enhances social engagement for people with developmental disabilities. She recognized that this would be a wonderful occasion for the individuals who reside at Sunland, as well as for others with developmental disabilities from our local and surrounding communities. She worked to procure an $8,000 grant from the Tebow Foundation to bring the event to the Marianna community. She established a committee of volunteers from Sunland Center and the local community, partnering with Rivertown Community Church and community businesses to ensure all needs were met. Through “Night to Shine,” Ms. Dean’s efforts improved community integration activities for Sunland and increased positive community relations for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities/Sunland Center.

Lori Keel serves as an Accountant IV at the Developmental Disabilities Defendant Program (DDDP). She understands individuals who have a wider array of choices are at lower risk for maladaptive behaviors and, in turn, are more open to learning opportunities. Ms. Keel recognized the DDDP residents needed more appealing activities and took the initiative to institute a plan of action to secure surplus computers at no cost to the state, saving approximately $5,000 had the computers been purchased new. The use of computers affords residents new opportunities to engage in educational computer games and activities. Through her efforts, freeware games and basic academic skills programs were made available for the residents at DDDP. By her actions, Ms. Keel went far above and beyond her job duties and responsibilities to meet the needs of the residents at DDDP.

TRAIN Florida is part of a national public health learning management network, managed by the Public Health Foundation. The network includes as affiliates, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and our own state affiliate the Florida Department of Health, which collaborates with Florida community partners and universities. APD has a shortage of trainers throughout the state of Florida. Through the efforts of Program and Policy Manager Pamela London, Training and Research Consultant Gordon Brown, Training and Education Specialist Amber Poore, and Government Operations Consultant II Cheryl Aldridge, APD was able to save over $1 million.

A team from APD headed by Edwin DeBardeleben created an automated CMS Survey Tool for Residential and Non-Residential Settings (through SharePoint) that provides up-to-date reports on providers’ survey results and provides the agency a means to aggregate data to determine trends and actions to be taken. APD was the first agency to automate the CMS survey tool process. APD's IT Department was instrumental in automating the Residential and Non-Residential Survey Tools. The features programmed and installed enable effective ongoing quality reviews of survey reports generated, allow opportunities through Skype Business for State Office staff to provide technical assistance and training to regional staff on the administration of the survey tools, assess settings to determine if they are presumptive institutions, and enable efficient means for regional staff to initiate providers' plans of remediation (POR) to correct deficiencies cited and to do follow-up surveys to close out the PORs. In addition, the automated tools and process enables assurance of statewide consistency in conducting the CMS surveys.

From left to right: Accountant Lori Keel, Superintendent Geri Williams, Resident Advocate Jennie Ann Dean.

APD staff members were recognized at the 29th Annual Prudential Productivity Awards luncheon held at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center in Tallahassee.