McMillan receives 2014 Mollie Burd Gavigan Service Award

Elise McMillan, J.D., received the Mollie Burd Gavigan Service Award of the Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee (DSAMT). The award is in recognition of McMillan’s “instrumental role in improving the lives of individuals with Down syndrome in Middle Tennessee.” The award was presented at the annual DSAMT Buddy Race on Saturday, October 25, 2014. McMillan is co-director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Development Disabilities and Senior Associate in Psychiatry.

The parent of a young adult with Down syndrome and two other children, McMillan’s “contributions to the Down syndrome community are truthfully too vast to list,” said Alecia Talbott, DSAMT executive director. “More than 17 years ago, Elise, Sheila Moore, and Joanne Drumright saw the needs in our community and created DSAMT. Since then, she has been instrumental in helping to start the Down Syndrome Clinic at Vanderbilt Pediatrics, the first Best Buddies Chapter at Vanderbilt, Down syndrome research at Vanderbilt Medical Center, and Next Steps at Vanderbilt. She has always been a part of everything that has led up to today with regard to Down syndrome in Middle Tennessee and continues to do so much for our community. She is a great parent, an advocate, a trailblazer, and friend to us all. Our families, self-advocates, schools, physicians and community members, not just in Middle Tennessee but nationwide are truly fortunate and grateful for all that Elise has contributed.”

Mollie Burd Gavigan was a friend and supporter of DSAMT and the entire Down syndrome community. When her daughter Jeanne was born with Down syndrome, Mollie was determined to provide her with a Catholic education. She helped to establish the Hand-in-Hand program for children with intellectual disabilities at Pope John Paul II High School in Hendersonville. Mollie was a strong advocate for the Down syndrome community, and her support greatly benefited DSAMT and the families it serves. In honor of Mollie’s legacy, DSAMT created the Mollie Gavigan Service Award to recognize outstanding service to the Down syndrome community.

The Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee (DSAMT) is a community of individuals with Down syndrome, self-advocates and their families, educators, and disability professionals. They are a primary resource in Middle Tennessee for accurate information on Down syndrome, connecting hundreds of families to support, programs, education, advocacy, and other families. DSAMT is a long-time Community Partner of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center.

Last Updated: 11/14/2014 8:44:01 AM

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