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The chair of the rehabilitation and counseling department at University of Wisconsin-Stout has been honored by a national organization.
Debra Homa, of Menomonie, recently received the Paul R. Hoffman Award, which recognizes innovation and creativity in service to persons with disabilities. The award was presented by the Vocational Evaluation and Work Adjustment Association in Brooklyn, N.Y., during the annual conference for the National Rehabilitation Association.
VEWAA cited Homa's "many professional achievements in vocational evaluation." She has been a vocational evaluator and rehabilitation counselor in a variety of settings for more than 25 years.
The award's namesake, Paul Hoffman, was a national leader in vocational rehabilitation. He established the program at UW-Stout, one of the country's first, in 1966. He also was a founding member of VEWAA and other professional organizations. He was a director of the Stout Vocational Rehabilitation Institute and worked at UW-Stout until 2004. He died in 2007.
"I felt very honored to receive an award associated with his name," Homa said.
Homa, an associate professor, is in her ninth year teaching at UW-Stout. She was director of the online master's program in vocational rehabilitation from 2007 to 2013, prior to being named department chair in June. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in vocational evaluation, foundations of rehabilitation, practicum and internship.
Homa also has presented and published extensively in the field and is an associate editor of and contributing writer to the book "Handbook in Vocational Rehabilitation and Disability Evaluation," which will be published in 2014.
Homa is the second person from UW-Stout to receive the award recently. In 2009, Michelle Hamilton, a professor in rehabilitation and counseling, was honored. Hamilton has taught at UW-Stout since 1999.