Advocacy Director Receives International Achievement Award
Shepherd Center's Mark Johnson recognized with 2015 Henry Viscardi Achievement Award.
Longtime Shepherd Center advocacy director Mark Johnson was recognized today with the 2015 Henry Viscardi Achievement Award, which is given to exemplary leaders within the disability community and their extraordinary societal contributions. Mark recently served as the chairman of The ADA Legacy Project, which brought attention to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its 25th anniversary earlier this year.
Mark and the other recipients of this year's Viscardi Achievement Awards were honored in a ceremony in New York City today. The awards are named for Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr., who founded The Viscardi Center, a network of non-profit organizations providing a lifespan of services that educate, employ and empower people with disabilities. As one of the world’s leading advocates for people with disabilities, Dr. Viscardi, who wore prosthetic legs, served as a disability advisor to eight U.S. Presidents, from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Jimmy Carter.
“Every day people with disabilities are leaving their footprint in communities all over the world, and their work often transcends the geographical boundaries of where they live,” said John D. Kemp, President and CEO of The Viscardi Center. “This year’s award recipients are a dedicated, diverse and trend-setting group that reminds us all that our work can be far-reaching and does make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.”
In addition to Johnson, the 2015 award recipients were:
- Jim Gibbons – President and CEO, Goodwill Industries International
- David Krupa – CEO, The Range of Motion Project and Certified Prosthetist
- Ed Lucas – Founder, The Ed Lucas Foundation; Sports Journalist
- Lonnie C. Moore – Program Analyst, Career and Education Readiness Branch, U.S Army Warrior Transition Command
- Winfred G. Mugure – University of Nairobi
- Toby Olson – Executive Secretary, State of Washington; Governor's Committee on Disability Issues and Employment
- Marilyn E. Saviola – Senior Vice President for Advocacy and the Women’s Health Program, Independence Care System
- Mark Wafer – President, Megleen, operating as Tim Hortons
Shepherd Center hired Johnson in 1987 to create Shepherd’s advocacy program, and advocacy became part of the hospital's mission statement in 1988. Johnson has led efforts to improve opportunities and accessibility for people with disabilities.
As chairman of The ADA Legacy Project (TALP), Johnson has focused on preserving the past of the disability rights movement, celebrating its present milestones and educating future generations on disability rights. Johnson led a nationwide effort to bring awareness to ADA25. This effort was the springboard for the curation of numerous permanent and temporary exhibits, an ADA25 commemorative publication, hundreds of grassroots events around the United States, and The ADA Legacy Tour featuring the “Road to Freedom” bus, which logged more than 23,000 miles and 115 stops in 33 states from July 2014 to July 2015. Under Johnson's leadership, TALP continues to educate, engage the next generation of disability rights advocates and change social attitudes about people with disabilities.
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 935 inpatients, 541 day program patients and more than 7,300 outpatients each year.