Special Olympics Texas Names Dr. Kathryn Kemere its Golisano Health Leadership Award Honoree

Dr. Kemere receives Texas' top Special Olympics health honor for her contributions toward inclusive health


TEXAS - Special Olympics Program is honored to announce the selection of Dr. Kathryn Kemere of Baylor College of Medicine as the 2020-2021 Golisano Health Leadership Award honoree.

The Golisano Health Leadership Award was established in 2016, in partnership with Special Olympics and the Golisano Foundation, and is given to an individual or organization that is dedicated to improving the health of people with intellectual disabilities and advancing the health work of Special Olympics. To date, the award has honored 14 individuals/organizations at the global level and many more at local events around the world. 

Dr. Kathryn Kemere works at the Baylor College of Medicine, which provides medical care and social support services to the growing population of adolescents/young adults with a chronic childhood illness or disability as they move from pediatric to adult healthcare. Dr. Kemere's official title at Special Olympics Texas is volunteer Medfest Clinical Director. She provides athletes the physical exam they need before participating in Special Olympics sports, and sometimes it can be the first time athletes receive medical care. 

Dr. Kemere also plays a vital role in our mitigation committee as she is the assistant lead to Dr. Fred Clubb, Endocrinologist.  With her experience and dedication, she provides the committee valuable information regarding our return to practice and play guidelines, keeping athletes and volunteers safe. She also provides SOTX with relevant health information and advises us on the current issues and challenges the medical field may be experiencing.

Additionally, Dr. Kemere is an integral part of a new pilot program called "Health Chats." Dr. Kemere trains medical students from the Baylor College of Medicine and UT Southwestern on communication skills to care for patients with intellectual disabilities appropriately. Qualified students are then paired with an athlete to give social support and converse about health topics. Dr. Kemere's endless support for the health and well-being of SOTX athletes is creating system-level changes that will improve the health of people with intellectual disabilities across Texas.

Dr. Kemere is one of the select few individuals or organizations across the Special Olympics movement that will receive the Golisano Health Leadership Award in 2020. Up to seven honorees will then be selected to receive the global award to be presented at a Special Olympics global event in 2021.

Since 2012, philanthropist and Paychex Chairman Tom Golisano, and the Golisano Foundation, have committed $37 million to Special Olympics health program to increase access to inclusive health, fitness and wellness programs for people with intellectual disabilities in the communities in which they live.
People with intellectual disabilities are part of one of the largest and most medically underserved disability groups in the world. Millions with intellectual disabilities lack access to quality health care and experience dramatically higher rates of preventable disease, chronic pain and suffering, and premature death in every country around the world.
Special Olympics’ vision of its health program, made possible by the Golisano Foundation, is to create a world where people with intellectual disabilities have the same opportunities and access to quality health care as people without intellectual disabilities. For the past 20 years, Special Olympics has been working to identify and address the unmet health needs of people with intellectual disabilities and has revealed a myriad of complex barriers to health faced by this population. Barriers to this vision include lack of access to quality health care, education and resources.  
To address the barriers to accessing health services, resources and education, Special Olympics is identifying health needs and providing health education to Special Olympics athletes, focusing on follow-up care, engaging athletes and other people with intellectual disabilities in more ongoing health, wellness and fitness opportunities within their communities, and is investing in training health professionals and organizations to deliver these activities throughout the world and improve the health of people with intellectual disabilities.

About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is a global inclusion movement using sport, health, education and leadership programs every day around the world to end discrimination against and empower people with intellectual disabilities. Founded in 1968, Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 6 million athletes and Unified Sports partners in over 190 countries. With the support of more than 1 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and over 100,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Special Olympics is supported by individuals, foundations and partners, including Bank of America, the Christmas Records Trust, The Coca-Cola Company, ESPN, Essilor Vision Foundation, the Golisano Foundation, IKEA Foundation, the Lane Family, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, Lions Clubs International, Safilo Group, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, TOYOTA, United Airlines, and The Walt Disney Company. Click here for a full list of partners. Engage with us on: TwitterFacebookYouTubeInstagram and our blog on Medium. Learn more at www.SpecialOlympics.org
About Tom Golisano and the Golisano Foundation

Tom Golisano — entrepreneur, philanthropist, and civic leader — is the founder and chairman of the board of Paychex, Inc., a leading national provider of payroll, human resource, and benefit outsourcing solutions with more than 14,000 employees and 100 office locations nationwide serving more than a half-million small and medium-sized businesses. Tom’s vision, perseverance, and action have left an indelible mark on a broad spectrum of issues that touch our lives – in business, healthcare, education, voter policies, politics, and tax reform. His personal philanthropic contributions to hospitals, educational institutions, and other organizations exceed $300 million. A fierce advocate for dignity and inclusion, Tom Golisano applied his pioneering spirit to establish the Golisano Foundation to help make the world a better place for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Founded in 1985, the Golisano Foundation is now one of the largest private foundations in the United States devoted exclusively to supporting programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. With $45 million in gross assets, it awards more than $2 million in grants annually “Imagining the Possibilities,” advocating for families, fighting for their dignity, and giving people with IDD the opportunity to thrive in their communities.

About Special Olympics Texas
Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) is a privately funded non-profit organization that changes lives through the power of sport by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect.  SOTX provides continuing opportunities for more than 58,800 children and adults with intellectual disabilities throughout the Lone Star State to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship.  To learn more, visit www.specialolympicstexas.org or call 800.876.5646.  Engage with us on: Twitter @SOTexas; fb.com/SpecialOlympicsTX; youtube.com/specialolympicstexas.