Dr. Ana Mieres earns national award for championing autism

Her success in bridging the needs of those with autism with the physical therapy profession has earned Ana C. Mieres, MSPT, PhD, the Dr. Cathy Pratt Autism Professional of the Year Award from the Autism Society of America (ASA).

Dr. Mieres, assistant professor in the USF School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, has worked for nearly 15 years with autism as a consultant, educator and volunteer, and providing multilingual guidance to families affected with autism.

“In the many years I have known, worked with and been mentored by Dr. Mieres, I have witnessed her dedication and tireless, consistent work to bring attention to the field of ASD, which has been ignored far too long,” said Suellen F. Smith, a member of the Autism Society of America in her letter nominating Dr. Mieres. 

Smith cited many accomplishments for why Dr. Mieres should receive the award, including Dr. Mieres’ success in encouraging the American Physical Therapy Association in establishing a national task force on autism spectrum disorder (ASD), her help in implementing a mechanism for physical therapists attending ASA conferences to obtain professional continuing education credits through the Florida Physical Therapy Association, her development of internet courses related to ASD for physical therapists to complete evidence-based ASD training, her capacity building grant for training students in USF’s physical therapy doctoral program, and several projects that linked professionals from various disciplines to establish networks for collaboration, education, research and support on issues related to ASD.

The Dr. Cathy Pratt Autism Professional of the Year Award is given by ASA to a professional in the field of autism who has demonstrated outstanding accomplishments that contribute to the lives of individuals with autism. Former winners included research and faculty from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Mieres will receive the award July 8 at the group’s national conference, held this year in Orlando.