Health Champions Honored at State Summer Games

At the State Summer Games in Orlando, Special Olympics Florida honored two individuals for their pioneering work in meeting the healthcare needs of people with intellectual disabilities.

Claudia Sealey-Potts received the Nancy Sawyer Health Access Award, and Melissa Miller received the Golisano Health Leadership Award.

The Nancy Sawyer Health Access Award recognizes an individual or group that has made a positive impact on the health of our athletes over a period of at least three years.

A former associate professor of nutrition and dietetics at the University of North Florida, Claudia served as lead Clinical Director at state, area, county and community events. She was the lead Health Promotion Clinical Director at the 2022 USA Games and served on SONA’s Inclusive Health Team. She is now a professor and Director of Doctorate of Clinical Nutrition at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

Claudia instills in her students an appreciation for community service -- recruiting them to volunteer at screenings and act as nutrition instructors for our athletes. If all that wasn’t enough, she conducts virtual one-on-one dietetic consultations with our athletes.

The Golisano Health Leadership Award recognizes local health champions and their work to fulfill the goals, values, and mission of the Special Olympics’ global health program, made possible by the Golisano Foundation.

Melissa Miller has been a Special Smiles Clinical Director since 2016. She created the Hands on Smiles program, a statewide program that has benefited hundreds of athletes.

As manager and instructor of the dental hygiene program at Hillsborough Community College, she has taught her students to recognize and understand the special dental hygiene needs of people with intellectual disabilities. Melissa also volunteers at health screenings, recruits others and supplies our athletes with things like toothpaste and electric toothbrushes.

We want to congratulate both Melissa and Claudia on their awards. We are so grateful they are part of the Special Olympics Florida team.