The Bette Ann Harris '83 Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest form of recognition awarded to a graduate of the Institute, and is named in honor of the Institute’s first person to graduate with a master's degree who continues to serve the Institute as professor emerita.

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2024 Recipient: Reginald B. Wilcox, III, DPT ’04, MS-PT ‘05

man in graduation regalia holds a crystal award shaped like a tear drop
2024 Bette Ann Harris '83 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient Dr. Reginald (Reg) Wilcox, DPT ’04, MS-PT ‘05 receives his award at commencement with MGH IHP President Paula Milone-Nuzzo

Dr. Reginald (Reg) Wilcox has been a physical therapist since 1994. He obtained board certification from ABPTS in Orthopedic PT in 2006 and recertified in 2015.  Clinically, Wilcox focuses on shoulder dysfunction and the postoperative management of patients having undergone shoulder procedures.

Dr. Wilcox has been in a leadership position in the Department of Rehabilitation Services at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA since 2001 and was named Executive Director in fall of 2017, a role which he continues to serve in today. Prior to his work at BWH, Wilcox held various clinical physical therapy positions at Deaconess Hospital (Boston, MA), Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center-West Campus (Boston, MA), and Brockton Hospital (Brockton, MA).  He has presented his work locally and nationally and is the recipient of several awards.

Dr. Wilcox is dedicated to continuous learning. He is a faculty member at the MGH Institute of Health Professions and plans to graduate with his MBA from UMASS-Amherst in May 2024.

Past Recipients

2023: Angela Patterson, DNP ‘16

Dr. Angela Patterson, FNP-BC, NEA-BC, FAANP graduated from the Doctor of Nursing Practice program – Executive Track in 2016. Angela’s significant experience as an advanced practice registered nurse ultimately led her to her current role as Vice President at CVS Health, and Chief Nurse Practitioner Officer of Retail Health. In this role, Angela provides clinical and professional practice governance for more than 3,500 nurse practitioners, physician associates, ancillary nursing staff and behavioral health therapists who staff MinuteClinic’s more than 1,100 retail health clinics located across 36 states and the District of Columbia. She is a leader in clinical quality, patient experience, clinical training & education, and care delivery workforce engagement. In terms of supporting the broader organization, Angela is a senior-level member on key governance committees including enterprise patient safety, enterprise women’s health initiatives, and the Diversity Management Leadership council. Dr. Patterson’s contributions to the field were recognized in 2018 when she received the AANP Sharp Cutting Edge Award for her exemplary work in nursing organizational leadership and again in 2019 when she was inducted as a Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

2022: Naseem Chatiwala, MSPT '04, DPT'07

Naseem (Chalawalla) Chatiwala is the founder and owner of Rehab Health 360 LLC, an outpatient clinic in Acton, MA offering premium physical therapy services to clients with neurological deficits. As a board-certified neuro clinical specialist and a certified vestibular clinical specialist, Naseem has been instrumental in developing the vestibular task force at Spaulding Rehab Network and the neuro and concussion program at The Clough Family Center for Rehabilitative and Sports Therapies at Emerson Hospital.  

Educating the next generation of physical therapists is important to Naseem. She serves as an adjunct faculty member at both the Institute and at University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Additionally, she is a course developer and instructor for Summit Professional Education, where she teaches in-person and online webinars offering continuing education courses to Physical and Occupational therapists on numerous neuro diagnosis. Naseem is actively involved in American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and is currently a co-chair of the APTA Concussion Clinical Practice Guideline knowledge translation task force. Naseem has presented at various state and national conferences and has won awards for excellence in research for case study (poster presentations). She was awarded Emerson Rehab 2019-Excellence in Education Award and most recently received the APTA of MA 2021 Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Practice Award.


2021: Melissa Agriminakis, DPT '10

Melissa Agrimanakis graduated from the Institute’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program in 2010. She is a Clinical Specialist Physical Therapist in the Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Inpatient Unit at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. Melissa is dedicated to clinical care and helping spinal cord patients achieve their full potential; therefore, she marries her clinical and research pursuits to accomplish this goal. In 2016, she received a Clinical Scholar’s Independent Research Project award to investigate the use of NMES on gluteal and hamstring muscles to improve healing time for SCI patients with acute pressure sores. The outcomes of this project will provide further information on wound care, which is an ailment of significant concern for the SCI population. Imparting knowledge and skills to others is also fulfilling for Melissa, which means that you will often see her serving as a term lecturer, lab instructor, or full-time supervisor to IHP students. Outside of her professional life, Melissa is committed to serving the underserved. She travels to Haiti several times per year to provide pro bono care through her work with STAND: The Haiti Project.


2020: Andrew Dwyer, PhD, MSN ’00, CAS ’00

Andrew Dwyer, PhD, MSN ’00, CAS ’00 graduated from The Institute in 2000 with a Master’s in Nursing and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Clinical Investigation. Dwyer’s academic pursuits did not end at The Institute as he completed his PhD at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. He is a certified family nurse practitioner and has extensive experience working with translational research teams at Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Lausanne. Dwyer’s research interests include endocrinology, genetics, adolescent health and rare diseases. In 2018, he was inducted into the National Academy of Practitioners (Nursing) as a Distinguished Fellow. Currently, Andrew Dwyer is an Assistant Professor at the Connell School of Nursing at Boston College.


2019: Stephanie Ahmed DNP '08, FNP-BC, DPNAP

Stephanie Ahmed, DNP ’08, FNP-BC, DPNAP was one of the first three graduates of IHP’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program, and only three years after graduation became director of ambulatory nursing at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She currently is the hospital’s executive director of clinical effectiveness. Dr. Ahmed went on to become a certified caritas coach through the Weston Caring Science Institute, traveling nationally and internationally to advance and study the impact of caring science. In 2017, Dr. Ahmed received the President’s Award from the American Nurses Association of Massachusetts, with added recognition from the Organization of Nurse Leaders of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut. During her two terms as president of the Massachusetts Coalition of Nurse Practitioners, she championed the removal of physician oversight with the hope of granting full practice authority to nurse practitioners and greater access to health care for the most vulnerable in Massachusetts. According to one of her nominators, Dr. Ahmed “has been a fierce advocate for patients, nurses and the community all while exuding kindness, compassion and true empathy.”


2018: Rebecca Stephenson, PT, DPT ’06, MS ’05, WCS, CLT

Rebecca Stephenson, PT, DPT ’06, MS ’05, WCS, CLT, received the Bette Ann Harris Distinguished Alumni Award. A member of the rehabilitation and clinical leadership team at Newton-Wellesley Hospital as a clinical physical therapy specialist, Dr. Stephenson has played a major role in improving the treatment of women with severe back and pelvic pain during the early stages of their pregnancy, and founded the non-profit Global Women’s Health Initiative to promote women’s health both domestically and internationally through physical therapy.


2017: Sarah Ward, MS-SLP '94

2016: Dr. Roya Ghazinouri DPT '07, PT '99
Roya Ghazinouri has distinguished herself as a scholar, teacher, mentor, and researcher since earning her Master of Science in Physical Therapy from the MGH Institute in 1999, and subsequently earning her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in 2007. A native of Iran, Dr. Ghazinouri has spent her professional life pioneering new programs and implementing innovative approaches to the delivery of health care, both here in the United States and abroad. She has been a leader in the rehabilitation department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where she began as clinical supervisor for inpatient physical therapy in 2005. She was promoted in 2012 to Manager for Process Improvement Standards, designing and implementing a hospital-wide quality improvement program. In 2015, Dr. Ghazinouri became the Strategic Program Manager for the hospital’s newly formed Center for Healthcare Delivery Sciences academic research center. In this role, she works with various departments to implement quality improvement programs to reduce variability and length of stay, and improve patient care.


2015: Janet Callahan, PT, DPT '13, MS '00

Janet Callahan has distinguished herself as a scholar, teacher, mentor, and researcher since earning her Master of Science in Physical Therapy in 2000. Dr. Callahan, who also earned a transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in 2013 from the MGH Institute, has spent more than 30 years as a physical therapist. As a Clinical Specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Physical Therapy department for the past several years, she has been instrumental in devising a novel clinical evaluation of patients with dystonia, an illness in which a patient experiences involuntary movements and extended muscle contractions. Dr. Callahan has received several honors from her peers throughout her career. These include the Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Practice from the Massachusetts chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association and Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Practice Award from Mass General.


2014: Allen B. Smith, PhD, MS-SLP '96

Allan B. Smith, associate professor and chair of the University of Maine Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, has distinguished himself as a scholar, teacher, mentor, and administrator since graduating from MGH Institute of Health Professions in 1996 with a Master of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology. For the past dozen years, Dr. Smith’s research efforts have focused on acoustic measurement of speech in children. In particular, he studies the timing of brief speech events such as syllables, words, and pauses to better understand typical and atypical speech and language development, which has helped identify a greater number of toddlers who have reading disabilities. Currently, he and his students are investigating ways to detect earlier signs of speech, language, and reading disorders to improve understanding of how to remediate these problems. Dr. Smith, who received his PhD from the University of Connecticut in 2002, has co-authored more than a dozen peer-reviewed articles in highly prestigious journals, and delivered numerous presentations at national and international conferences.


2013: Kathleen M. Gill-Body, PT, DPT '02, MS '86, NCS

For the past 27 years, Dr. Kathleen Gill-Body has greatly influenced the physical therapy profession’s development in rehabilitation management of patients with neurologic disorders.
Dr. Gill-Body is an internationally recognized master clinician who has spent most of her career managing patients, teaching and mentoring graduate students, and pursuing a scholarly agenda with other nationally recognized experts. She has been awarded $1.5 million in research grants, published dozens of research articles, and assumed state and national professional association leadership roles. Board certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties, currently she is a senior physical therapist at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. Previously, she spent more than 25 years practicing at Massachusetts General Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.


2012: Lauren A. Katz, PhD, MS-SLP '95

Since graduating from the Institute’s Communication Sciences and Disorders program in 1995, Dr. Lauren A. Katz earned her PhD from the University of Michigan, where she also completed a post-doctoral fellowship. She currently is a member of the faculty at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, where she led the establishment of a reading clinic to help children and adults with reading and writing disorders. Her research in the area of language and literacy development has propelled her to national prominence, leading a visionary cadre of speech-language pathologists in developing new interventions for children and adults with communication difficulties. Dr. Katz has published extensively, and presented her work to numerous national and international audiences. As one of her nominators remarked, “Lauren exemplifies the best of the Institute’s graduates who have become leaders, scholarly thinkers, and committed practitioners who are influencing and changing the field of speech-language pathology.”


2011: Sara Dolan Looby,  PhD, MS '00, RN

Sara Dolan Looby, PhD, has been at the forefront of national nursing care for women living with HIV. Since earning her Master of Science in Nursing from the IHP, she has been a nurse practitioner on the nutritional metabolism and neuroendocrine unit of Massachusetts General Hospital. Under the mentorship of Dr. Steven Grinspoon, she helped design, implement and manage four separate clinical trials investigating the metabolic complications of HIV among women. She has published 23 papers and served as first author on 9 publications.  Notably, two of her publications were among the first ever to report reduced bone density among women with HIV. The recipient of numerous honors, prizes, and grants, Dr. Looby has been an invited speaker at National Institutes of Health (NIH) workshops and was recently awarded an NIH career development research grant. She holds an appointment as an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, a rare appointment for a nurse. She also holds an adjunct faculty appointment at the Institute and recently served as mentor to one of the Institute’s Schweitzer community service fellows.


2010: Constance Dahlin, MS '91, '98

Connie Dahlin received her master’s degree in nursing from the Institute in 1991. A certified nurse practitioner, she currently serves as clinical director of the Mass General Palliative Care Service and co-director of the hospital’s Outpatient Palliative Care. Connie has been at the forefront of the national nursing palliative care movement for more than a decade. Serving as president of the Hospice and Palliative Care Nurses Association earlier this decade, she advocated for science and evidence-based practice to move end-of-life care beyond hospice. She has published extensively in the professional literature, including 17 book chapters and 27 journal articles. And last year, she was inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, the profession’s most prestigious recognition. “It is Connie’s special qualities of kindness, compassion, dedication, empathy, commitment to care, perseverance, and wisdom, combined with her scientific knowledge, clinical expertise, and scholarly contributions, that make her so deserving of this award,” one nominator wrote.


2009: Dr. Deborah L. Givens, PT, DPT '05, PhD, MS '90, OCS

Deborah Givens is a nationally recognized expert on spinal biomechanics, is the Director and Associate Professor of Physical Therapy at the School of Allied Medical Professions in the College of Medicine at The Ohio State University. She is also a faculty member at the University’s Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program and Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Dr. Givens has received the Faculty Research Award, the Faculty Teaching Award, and the Faculty Service Award from The Ohio State University. Dr. Givens’ research involves motor control of postural responses for spinal stability. She notes, "My long-term goals are to understand and analyze motor learning principles and control mechanisms for neuromuscular spine stability and their implications for exercise prescription." In addition to her academic career, Dr. Givens has more than 25 years of experience as a clinician. She has numerous publications, including peer-reviewed professional journal articles, book chapters, and monographs. Dr. Givens has served on the Editorial Review board of the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy since 2007.


2008: Dr. Lee Nelson, PT, DPT '02, MS '84

Dr. Lee Nelson is a nationally recognized expert in ethics, clinical education, and professional practice, primarily in the management of patients with lymphoedema. She is an active champion of the Institute, sending many qualified students to programs, providing clinical placements for our students, and collaborating with various faculty members on research and continuing education national presentations. Her efforts led to the creation of the Vermont Lymphedema Network which connects lymphedema therapists for the purpose of education and promoting collegial relationships. In addition, Dr. Nelson is a member of the national, inter-professional group called the “Dreamcatchers,” a group is committed to promoting ethics education and scholarship in the health profession. Her expertise in ethics has also been recognized by the profession as she served as a member of the APTA Task Force for revision of the Ethics Core Documents.


2007: Dr. Sheila Davis, DNP '08, MS '97, RNCS, ANP, ACRN

Sheila Davis is chief of Ebola Response for Partners In Health, where in 2014 she led the organization's efforts in Liberia and Sierra Leone to curb the disease's deadly outbreak. Previously, she headed the Global Nurse Training Program for the Harvard Medical School Division of AIDS. Ms. Davis performs clinical activities at the Boston Living Center in Boston where she developed the Treatment Information Program (TIP). By organizing nurse practitioners to assess patients and help them secure access to clinical care, TIP enhances patient well being and care. In 2003 she co-founded the nonprofit Sibusiso, and currently serves as president. Sibusiso is dedicated to working with residents of “resource poor settings to improve the quality of life and care to those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.” One of her efforts involved recording Sinikethemba, a South African choir, and local Boston bands to create a CD that was used to raise money to support the activities in Lamontville. Sibusiso supports a nurse to provide care in Bizana, an informal settlement in the Eastern Cape.

2006: Dr. Jennifer Bottomley, PT, PhD, MS '86

Jennifer M. Bottomley  is an internationally recognized consultant in geriatrics, serving on a variety of federal panels and task forces. Within the physical therapy profession, she has worked on the National Blueprint Initiative, a broad-based effort to increase physical activity among people 50 and older. Dr. Bottomley has long advocated on behalf of elder homeless and has been active with the Boston Committee to End Elder Homeless (now called Hearth), for over a decade. She also spearheaded various programs with AARP and the Gray Panthers. She has lectured and published extensively (more than 75 articles to date), on a wide variety of research interests that include nutrition and exercise, foot care in the elderly, wound care, diabetes and peripheral vascular disease, balance and falls in the Alzheimer's population, T'ai Chi as an alternative form of exercise to prevent falls, as well as social policy development for the elderly.


2005: Annabel Edwards, MS '86, '99, RN

Annabel D. Edwards, who passed away in 2006, was a nurse practitioner at Massachusetts General Hospital's Pain Center in the Department of Anesthesia. She was a nationally recognized expert on pain management, and lectured frequently on the topic. She was involved with a number of research studies, writing numerous articles and chapters on pain management. Edwards was the president of the American Society for Pain Management Nursing. Edwards was subsequently honored in September 2005 as one of ten "Champions of HealthCare" by the Boston Business Journal.