Shriver Center autism expert receives award for outstanding service in disability field from Northeast Arc

Jun 17, 2015

Amy Weinstock and Gerry McCarthy, Executive Director of the Northeast ARC

By Ellen Moran

Amy K. Weinstock, founding director of UMass Medical School’s Autism Insurance Resource Center, has been honored for outstanding service in the disability field by Northeast Arc.

Weinstock received the Edward C. O’Keefe Memorial Award at Northeast Arc’s 61st Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony June 2.

“We have found her (Weinstock) to be a totally devoted, passionate advocate who is very responsive to providers and families,” Joanne Plourde, chief operating officer at Northeast Arc, said while introducing Weinstock at the awards ceremony.

Citing Weinstock’s experience in working on autism insurance issues, Plourde said, “As Chair of the Insurance Committee of Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts (AFAM) and an active member of the Governor’s Commission on Autism, she played a key role in passing autism insurance legislation in Massachusetts, also known as ARICA, and many other initiatives. Amy also serves on the Massachusetts Special Commission Relative to Autism.”

The resource center, housed at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center within UMass Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine division, was established in 2011 to help consumers, providers, employers and educators understand ARICA, which was passed in 2010. Weinstock drafted a blueprint for the ARICA legislation in 2005 during her Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) fellowship at the Shriver Center.

“Following a successful career in real estate and banking, Amy, the parent of a child on the autism spectrum, decided to merge her personal passions and professional experience,” Plourde said.

Weinstock also served as president of Friends of LADDERS (the outreach organization of the Lurie Family Autism Center/LADDERS clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital) for two years before being appointed chairwoman of the Insurance Committee for AFAM.

“Amy, we are so grateful that you have put your considerable talents to bear to advance our shared cause. Thank you,” Plourde said.

Northeast Arc, based in Danvers, aims to help people with disabilities participate fully in the community with a focus on allowing them to choose how to live, learn, work, socialize and play.

© 2015 University of Massachusetts Medical School