Recipients 2013

OADD Awards & Scholarship Recipients – 2013


Hull-Roeher Award of Merit
Presented in honour of John Hull and G. Alan Roeher to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution, or special achievement in the area(s) of education, humanitarianism, research or service for those with developmental disabilities

Maria Z. Gitta
Maria Gitta completed her master’s thesis in Social Experimental Psychology from the University of Western Ontario (UWO) in 1988. She began working as a Research Associate and Administrator in January 1990 with Dr. Benjamin Goldberg, who was the director of the “Developmental Disabilities Program (DDP)” and the DDP was under the aegis of the Department of Psychiatry, UWO School of Medicine. Somewhere in 2003-2004, the DDP became the Developmental Disabilities Division still within the department of psychiatry.

Maria was one of the progenitors of the OADD’s Research Special Interest Group beginning in 1991-1992 with colleagues such as Ivan Brown from the University of Toronto and Maire Percy and other great staff from Surrey Place Centre, as well as John Fotheringham, Bruce McCreary and Helene Oullette-Kuntz of Queen’s University. This was the first collective group of researchers in the field in the province and continues to this day.

Maria represented the IDD field on various task forces and groups such as the mid-1990’s “Educating Future Physicians of Ontario II” Needs Assessment and Community Partnerships, Western Ontario Group to highlight and advocate for the health needs of people with IDD.

Maria has conducted numerous projects and surveys on health, mental health, support services and medical and community education, including the Health Care Coordination Project which was used to inform the role of the Health Care Facilitator position with the Networks of Specialized Care.


OADD Award of Excellence
To be presented to an individual who has contributed significantly to better understanding of, or enhanced the quality of life for, those with developmental disabilities.

Michael Enright

Michael Enright has been the host of CBC Radio One’s The Sunday Edition since September 2000. Michael is known for his interviewing skills and investigative and information-giving journalistic reporting. He has hosted several specials following the events of September 11, and on the war in Afghanistan.

Michael’s journalistic credits are impressive. Prior to joining The Sunday Edition, he hosted This Morning for three years, and he spent 10 years hosting CBC Radio’s As It Happens. He has written for Time magazine and was the editor of Quest. As assistant managing editor of Maclean’s, he oversaw the magazine’s shift from a monthly to a weekly publication. Enright worked for The Toronto Star as a political writer and was Washington correspondent for the Globe and Mail. He received a Southam Fellowship for Journalism in 1979.

Michael has been a supporter of Community Living Toronto for many years. He is a member of the Resource Development Committee and chairs the sub-committee on Communications, which is an advisory committee of media and public relations professionals. In 2005 Michael co-Chaired the fundraising gala, Night of Stars. Michael also Chaired the Public Awareness Advisory Panel, which provided feedback and guidance to Community Living Ontario’s Public Awareness Committee. In 2008, Michael became a Patron of Community  Living Toronto and was also the Association’s Volunteer of the Year. In 2012, Michael was awarded the Order of Canada for his broadcasting achievements and voluntarism in the developmental services sector.

Geoff McMullen

Geoff McMullen, MA, M.S.W., received his education in both the United States of America and Canada.  Over the span of his career he has worked in the Education, Corrections and Social Service fields.  His employment has included Government and Not-for-Profit positions.  For the past 29 years he has provided leadership as the Executive Director for Developmental Services of Leeds and Grenville in Brockville, which is a multi service corporation established at the time of the closure of the first institution for the mentally retarded in Ontario.  He made a significant contribution in a number of areas, very committed to improving the quality of life for all individuals.   Some of these include:

  • founding chair of the Great Lakes Society (remains an active member)
  • president of the Provincial Network (currently Past President)
  • Treasurer of the 1 World Foundation (remains an active member)
  • Past Chair of OADD
  • Vice Chair of FOCUS Accreditation Services
  • co-chair for the South East Regional Dual Diagnosis Committee
  • has held numerous Board positions in the fields of Health Care, Corrections and Social Services
  • May 14, 2010 – he received the Annie Oliver Award of Excellence – OASIS


Kay Sansom Scholarships
3 Graduate Students received Kay Sansom Scholarships this year from the qualifying applicants. Each will receive $1,000.00 a certificate and free OADD sustaining membership. Typically there is 1 recipient from each of the following applicant categories: College, Undergraduate and Graduate.

Graduate Award Recipient: Mackenzie Salt, B.A. (Honours)
Mackenzie Salt is a PhD student at McMaster University, where he is currently completing his degree in the Cognitive Science of Language.
Mackenzie’s supervisor and committee member describe him as a focused and dedicated scholar who is ahead of his peers in his PhD program. Both references have praised him for his innovative research and speak highly of his abilities as a young scholar. Mackenzie has received the Ontario Graduate Scholarship for two successive years and has presented at numberous linguistic and autism conferences.
In addition to conference presentations, Mackenzie’s CV speaks to his competence as a graduate student having given a number of invited talks on a variety of topics.
Additionally, Mackenzie currently has an article in press. Mackenzie has also previously received the Kay Sansom scholarship, which speaks to his continued dedication to research in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The review committee expressed the sentiment that Mackenzie is quite deserving of receiving the Kay Sansom Scholarship to aid him in his current research examining the pragmatic abilities of individuals with Autism spectrum Disorders (ASD).

Undergraduate Award Recipient:  Lara Genik
Lara Genik  is a fourth year student at the University of Guelph, where she is currently completing her B.A. in Psychology. Lara had an extremely impressive application, with two very strong letters of recommendation that speak to her outstanding achievements as an undergraduate student. Her supervisor indicated that she was one of the most motivated undergraduate students that hshe has ever worked with. lara also provided a CV indicating an outstanding assortment of both research and clinical-related activites. Lara has worked as a research assistant at the University of Guelph, and has worked in a number of clinical and community settings in a number of positions. Lara has worked as a respite care provider, a support worker and a camp support worker. It is in fact that position as summer camp support worker that sparked Lara’s interest in developmental disabilities, as indicated in her letter of application. Lara has submitted a poster presentation for the RSIG Research Day on her undergraduate research examining respite worker’s beliefs about pain experience and expression in children and adolescents who are nonverbal and cognitively imparied. lara’s application was rated very highly by all members of the conference committee and we believe her to be an outstanding applicant worthy of recieving the Kay Sansom Scholarship.