Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities Superintendent receives statewide award

Jason Umstot began his career in the developmental disabilities field in college as a direct support professional. That early experience not only shaped his professional path but started a lifelong commitment to advocating for those with disabilities and the people and systems that support them.

On Dec. 2, the Ohio Association of County Boards of Developmental Disabilities (OACB) presented Umstot with the Betty Macintosh Award. Named for a longtime employee of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, the Betty Macintosh Award is presented every year to someone "whose career has reflected long-term dedication to moving our system forward in line with the needs and desires of Ohioans with developmental disabilities."

OACB’s website goes on to say, "Recipients of the Betty Macintosh Award are recognized as having contributed significantly to statewide advocacy efforts and systemic improvement benefiting Ohio's DD system."

Umstot was recognized for his commitment to supporting DD providers — who care for people with disabilities — and their frontline direct support staff.

Throughout the pandemic, Umstot led the charge to make sure local providers had the supplies and resources they needed to keep people safe, while also advocating for system changes that would support all of Ohio’s providers.

Umstot was also praised for his strong advocacy for housing equity for people with disabilities. In 2020, he spoke out after a proposal to homes for youth with disabilities was met with opposition in a local township meeting.

Under Umstot’s leadership — LCBDD has since opened a home to support children and teens with disabilities who need out of home placement in Etna Township.

Umstot was presented with the award during OACB’s annual convention in Columbus.

"I want to thank all of the LCBDD staff," he said in his remarks on Dec. 2. "They constantly show me through their work just how dedicated they are to the people we support. They are a well-devoted group of staff who always work together toward our mission and they never cease to amaze me. This award is just as much for the staff as it is for me."

Umstot also emphasized how grateful he is to work in a system where county boards, state leaders and local providers and direct support professionals collaborate to support people with disabilities.

"Working together is the only way we can achieve the work we are trusted to do," he said.

Umstot has been the superintendent/CEO at LCBDD since 2016. He is a graduate of West Virginia University and has worked in service delivery systems in West Virginia, Texas and Ohio. He lives in Pataskala with his family.

This article originally appeared on Newark Advocate: LCBDD Superintendent receives statewide award