Vermont Care Partners’ Quality Director Cath Burns

Ed Sbardellati Award a Feature of Vermont’s Annual Success Beyond Six Behavior Intervention Conference

Congratulations to our colleague, Cath Burns, for receiving the Ed Sbardellati Award for Excellence and Innovation in School Based Mental Health Services at the Annual Success Beyond Six Behavior Intervention Conference on August 22, 2019.   Surrounded by 474 attendees who work in school-based behavioral services, Cath was celebrated by her colleagues for her commitment to standardizing quality outcomes.

Presenter and past winner Matthew Habedank, School-Based Services Director at Northwestern Counseling and Support Services, praised Cath’s analytical and clinical skills. “Cath is a true scientist-practitioner.   I don’t know anyone who has done more to advance the collection of meaningful and standardized outcomes for the DA/SSA network.   Cath has a gift to be able to take complex concepts and problems and break them down into understandable and achievable steps…..Her work has helped our system to highlight our value and position us a value based payment structure.”

“Making Outcomes Work Fun”

Habedank cited the personable style that has been integral to Cath’s achievements of developing the VCP Centers of Excellence Certification.  “She is an amazing collaborator and communicator.   And her biggest strength is somehow she is able to make outcomes work fun.”

Cath was credited for her work in organizing the very first “BI” conference, her development of Autism and Assessment Programs at Washington County Mental Health Services, and her reputation as a tough but fair professor while teaching in the Applied Behavior Analysis [ABA] Program at Johnson State College (now Northern Vermont University).  Children, Youth, and Family Services Director Cheryl Huntley from the Counseling Service of Addison County noted that Cath is deserving of the award because of “her expertise and ability to present things in an understandable, clear way but mostly because of “how” she does it—with humor, warmth, real understanding of the daily work—she gets it.”

Ed Sbardellati, now retired, was instrumental in bringing ABA to Vermont by developing the model for school-based ABA programs and creating and fortifying the ABA graduate degree at Johnson.

In addition to the award, BI conference attendees welcomed Vermont Senate President Pro-Tem Tim Ashe for a keynote address and UVM professor Lance Smith from the College of Education and Social Services for a session on implicit bias.