2023 Diane Lynn Anderson Memorial Award

Prior to her death in 1990, Diane Anderson was a major force in implementing programs for people with disabilities in Pima County when no such programs were available.

The Diane Lynn Anderson Memorial Award was established by an anonymous donor at the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona in memory of Diane to recognize those who, through their work, have shown the same kinds of qualities Diane possessed: active acceptance, respect, compassion, devotion, and caring for people with disabilities.

Nominees may be individuals, including volunteers, who demonstrate the same kind of qualities Diane exhibited. Organizations or programs that have established advocacy services and/or increased community resources for people with disabilities may also be nominated.

2023 Diane Lynn Anderson Memorial Recipients

Dr. Gabrielle Ficchi identifies as a disabled woman and is a passionate advocate for equality and justice for the disability community. She is a licensed therapist, as well as a certified rehabilitation counselor.

Dr. Ficchi currently works to bring mental health services to the disability community and their families as the CEO & Therapist at her therapy practice, New Perspectives, LLC. She holds a full-time faculty position at the University of Phoenix as a professor in counseling and disability studies, where her research focuses on disability pride both for individuals and families, independent living, resilience, and disability identity.

Dr. Ficchi also works as a consultant and advocate for families on disability issues to help raise awareness about bettering the lives of disabled individuals in our community.

Upon learning that she was receiving the Diane Lynn Anderson Memorial Award, Dr. Ficchi shared, “I think one of the really important messages here is that representation matters and that when we are talking about individuals with disabilities, the fact that they are also served by other individuals with disabilities is really important. I think there are a lot of messages that get fed to us in one way or another through our society that say the individual with a disability needs to be serviced, but we don’t often flip that around to say that the disabled individual can be an active participant in their community, just like everybody else. We are valued members of our community, and I think it’s really important for the people working with them to recognize their value and value their voices and perspective. So this is a full-circle moment for me.”

Dr. Ficchi continued, “I am super honored to be a recipient this year. I think we are really lucky to be able to spread disability awareness and positive messages about representation. This award is a great way to do it!”

Dr. Sydney Rice is a Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician and has spent her career focused on caring for children in Arizona with disabilities. She is an active clinician caring for children with disabilities, including seeing children with autism, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, brain injury, preterm birth, and early drug exposure. She participates in multiple research teams investigating each of these conditions as a researcher at the University of Arizona Steele Research Center. She also participates in clinical teams that provide outreach services to children across the state, on the border, and with native populations.  She is the Chief Medical Officer at Children’s Clinics in Tucson, a center for children with disabilities, and she advocates for children and families throughout the state in this role.  As a native Arizonan, her career has been dedicated to improving the lives of children with disabilities in Arizona.

“I am beyond honored by this award,” shared Dr. Rice. “I love my relationships with children who have very medically complex conditions and their families. I am invited into the most intimate details of family life, and I guard this gift that I am given.  As a physician, I am intrigued by the most complicated and challenging medical situations, and I try to disentangle, advocate for, and interpret for my patients and their families. I truly love what I do.”

Past Award Recipients

2022: Talon Duncan, Echoing Hope Ranch; Jim Roden, The Journey Church

2021: Anne Levy, Community Outreach Program for the Deaf, Deaf and Residential Services; Kyle Lininger, Intermountain Centers for Human Development

2020: Dr. Fabi Hirsch Kruse, Friends of Aphasia; Dr. Stephanie MacFarland, University of Arizona College of Education

2019: Vicki Cuscino, DIRECT Center for Independence; Echoing Hope Ranch

2018: Steve King, Beacon Group; Marshall Herron, Jewish Family and Children’s Services

2017: Mindy Bernstein, Coyote TaskForce; Steve Freeman, Southern Arizona Network for Down Syndrome

2016:  Mary Vardi, Therapeutic Riding of Tucson; Taglit Day Program at the Jewish Community Center; and Angeline Fahey, Beads of Courage

2015:  Jamie Lakin Kelley, Integrative Touch for Kids

2014: Aurora Foundation of Southern Arizona and Criminal Justice Team of the Community Partnership of Southern Arizona

2013:  Sister Jeanne Carrigan, ArtWorks; Kathy Gray-Mangerson, Arizona Department of Education

2012:  Derry Dean, National Alliance on Mental Illness Southern Arizona; Disability & Rehabilitation Employment Awareness Month (DREAM) Team

2011:  Murray Everson, Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind

2010:  Jenny Hill, Angels Purse, Inc.; Alicia Morada,  Southern Arizona Legal Aid, Inc.; Richard St. Denis, World Access

2009:  Jean Balcezak, Tucson Arthritis Support League

2008:  Barbara McDevitt; Maureen A. Priestley, Amphitheater School District

2006:  Jamie Zink, Our Family Services; Giving Tree Outreach Program

2005:  Roni Spehn, Blake Foundation; Polio Epic

2004:  Karen Gialle and Jennifer Quinlan, Southern Arizona Veterans Administration Healthcare; Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Southern Arizona

2003:  Eric Morrison, Pima Community College; Dr. Juliet Niehaus, Tucson Botanical Gardens; Top Dog

1998:  Marcia Berger, Third Street Kids; Catalina Helping Hands

1997:  Sherry Isaman, Sunnyside School District; Patricia Ann Childs, Multiple Sclerosis Support Foundation; SAGE Employment & Community Services

1995:  Dr. Kent Kloepping, CEDR/University of Arizona; Tucson Association of the Blind-Goals Program

1994: Dolores Flores, Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona; Michael Flores, United Cerebral Palsy

1993: Ray Stoughton, Arivaca Coordinating Council; Anne Parrish, Amputee Outreach

1992: Alamo Reaves, Handi-Dogs; Project RAISE-Adult Basic Education

1991: Ron Olson, Catholic Social Services

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