NYU Steinhardt News

Beverly Bain posthumously awarded the RESNA Mentor Award

Beverly Bain was posthumously awarded the RESNA Mentor award during the 2009 RESNA conference in New Orleans, LA. The award was presented by Anita Perr, Clinical Assistant Professor, NYU OT, who had the privilege of working with Dr. Bain as a former student. The other two co-nominators, Donna Kelly of the Children's Specialized Hospital and Mary Shea of the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, were also present during the ceremony. Donna Kelly accepted the award on behalf of Dr. Bain's family after Anita gave the following award presentation: 

"Beverly Bain was a mentor to students, to therapists in the facilities where she worked and volunteered, and to many RESNA members. Beverly passed away on February 20th 2009 and will be missed by all of us who knew her and learned from her.

Beverly is a fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association. Her history in rehabilitation dates back to being recruited by Dr. Kessler to head the Occupational Therapy Department at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation.  She started two OT programs in New Jersey and worked for over 18 years in the Department of Occupational Therapy at New York University. She wrote numerous papers and chapters in medical textbooks; she lectured throughout the US and abroad.  

As her daughter said during Beverly's funeral, "While we were all proud of mom's accomplishments, they would be hollow without having a close loving family and many friends. That is the real measure of someone's life. Not only did she give us advice or meat pies, or blueberry muffins, or things to help us in our daily lives. Not only did she earn degrees and accolades. But she really touched others lives in such a positive and meaningful way. To love and be loved-in her case by so many-is the measure of a life well lived. She was so giving of herself, and so many of you have told me throughout the years how giving she was and how she made you not only better professionals but better people. How she helped you through hard times and was a confidant." 

Beverly inspired creativity and modeled intense caring and patience. She guided with a soft touch and encouraged us to think outside the box. She developed relationships between people and departments so that optimal services could be provided.

Beverly Bain is awarded a RESNA Mentor Award for her efforts and contributions as an educator in the fields of occupational therapy, assistive technology and rehabilitation and service to RESNA in the Occupational Therapy Professional Specialty Group."

After Anita's address, Donna Kelly accepted the award with the following words: 

"It is my honor to accept this award on behalf of the family of Dr. Beverly Bain. Beverly had been my mentor and a model of excellence to strive towards as an OT involved in assistive technology, as a director, and also as a person. 

All who knew Beverly were amazed by her endless energy, enthusiasm and passion for OT, for teaching, and for assisting individuals with disabilities. This was infectious. She made you feel good about what you were doing presently, and also sparked you to do more. This was her gift and how she touched so many lives. I am going to read her daughter Karin's words of acceptance.

On behalf of my mother, Beverly K. Bain, my father, John Bain, and me, Karin Bain Kukral, we appreciate and are honored by this award. We wish we could have been there in person. But we understand this award is a way for so many of you to express your appreciation of how you have been so positively touched by her. I have had many people tell me that they wouldn't have done many things, or gone as far professionally, if it weren't for mom's encouragement.  

When I was asked to say something in accepting this award on her behalf, I thought about what it means to be a "mentor" versus just a teacher or consultant. Inspiration and guidance, both on very personal level, came to mind. These were what mom was really great at giving. She had such a passion for her work and research; for her patients and co-workers; for systems, testing and procedures to the smallest of gadgets and switches-all to make life better for those less fortunate. She inspired many people in diverse fields-not just therapists and patients-by example and compassion to reach beyond what they thought they could do. In a way, mentoring is just another way of mothering.

While I pursued a very different career path than my mother, there are three tenets that hold true no matter what you do:

1.        Be the best that you cans be, whatever you do, by working hard;

2.        Be open minded and creative in your approach to problem solving;

3.        Whenever possible, help others achieve their goals by being compassionate and giving of yourself. 

One way for all of you to further honor my mother would be to hold true to these three tenets, and find passion in whatever you choose to do." 

The Department of Occupational Therapy mourns the loss of our dear friend and colleague and celebrates this recognition of her excellence.