2019 Alumni Award Honorees

by Michele Berhorst  •  March 27, 2019

We are pleased to announce the 2019 honorees of the Program in Occupational Therapy's Distinguished Alumni Award and Emerging Leader Award. The awards recognize alumni for their individual achievements in or contributions to the field of occupational therapy in research, education, leadership, professional development or community participation.

The awards will be presented at OT Scholarship Day on April 26, 2019.


2019 Distinguished Alumni Award

Jill Cigliana, MSOT, OTR/L

Jill Cigliana, Class of 2000, is the program director of Memory Care Home Solutions in St. Louis. Cigliana is recognized for her efforts to bring evidence-based occupational therapy services to persons with dementia and their caregivers to support, enrich and improve quality of life for those affected.

In her first few years as director, Cigliana advocated for occupational therapists to be added to the social work staff. She enhanced the caregiver training program to include up to four occupational therapy visits free of charge through grant funding. Cigliana championed a partnership with world-renowned dementia researcher Laura Gitlin, PhD, to assist the organization in analyzing outcomes and publishing the results of their program’s efficacy. She helped procure a grant from the Administration on Community Living to translate university-level, evidence-based research into real-life community programs. The grant allows her team to pursue an innovative and effective in-home treatment for functional and behavioral management. With Cigliana’s leadership, the team is finding ways to make the treatment accessible to other programs by partnering with rural hospitals throughout the region.

Day to day, Cigliana provides inspiring leadership and support to her team by promoting an inclusive work culture that values each member’s individual contributions to the mission.

For her passion and dedication to occupational therapy, her advocacy for evidence-based care for people with dementia and their caregivers, and her commitment to community health, we are pleased to present the Distinguished Alumni Award to Jill Cigliana.


2019 Emerging Leader Award

Theresa Carlson Carroll, OTD, OTR/L

Theresa Carlson Carroll, Class of 2008, is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is recognized

for advancing occupational therapy’s role in transitioning students with autism and other developmental disabilities to adulthood, her state and national leadership in this practice area and her commitment to innovative and evidence-based teaching strategies.

Carroll has focused her career on promoting and advocating for occupational performance and meaningful participation for adolescents and young adults. She is an active participant in the AOTA Transition Community of Practice, publishing papers and delivering presentations with fellow members. She co-founded the Illinois Early Intervention and Schools Community of Practice and leads a sub-group to advance OT’s role in transition within the state of Illinois. She has forged partnerships with community organizations Urban Autism Solutions and Easterseals Serving Chicagoland and Rockford to provide clinical practice experiences and research opportunities for students. In her work with Urban Autism Solutions, Carroll provides innovative occupational therapy services to autistic youth in Chicago. Carroll and a faculty colleague developed the Faculty Practice Initiative on Children, Youth and Families at the University of Illinois at Chicago to promote the advancement of occupational therapy.

As an educator, Carroll brings new effective technology and evidence-based teaching strategies to the curricula. She was the first faculty member to implement electronic medical record software in the classroom at UIC, and among the first to integrate Team Based Learning and iPads.

For her leadership in the area of transition, her initiative in forming community partnerships and her innovative approach to occupational therapy education, we are pleased to present the Emerging Leader Award to Theresa Carlson Carroll.

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