CPD: Dan Johnson Advocacy Award

It is with deep sadness that the Council on Physical Disabilities (CPD) regrets to announce that the 2020 Dan Johnson Award will not take place this year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The CPD will continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and make every effort to resume the award process for 2021. Please plan to check back for more details.

Dan Johnson loved life and lived it to the fullest. Dan was one of many individuals who have had their lives turned upside down by an injury. Dan was much more than an advocate who possessed courage and unwavering persistence; he was generous, kind, compassionate, wise, funny, and gentle. His life was full of colleagues, friends, and family. He always had his work cell phone on, because someone might need his mentoring skills. Among his many accomplishments, he treasured the family he created as a foster parent and adoptive dad. In his wife Kathy, he found someone who shared his passion for family and adventure. He loved camping, raising kids, being a soccer dad, and driving. He was a great son, brother, cousin, uncle, friend, husband, father and grandfather. Doug Nelson, former president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, now retired, met and became good friends with Dan during Nelson’s time as the deputy secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services. Nelson wrote, “I have never known a finer human being, or a friend I was prouder to have, than Dan Johnson.” Learn more about Dan (PDF).

Dan Johnson with his wife Kathy

Dan wearing sunglasses surrounded by six smiling children

The Wisconsin Council on Physical Disabilities (CPD) is pleased to announce the Dan Johnson Advocacy Award. (PDF)

Dan Johnson at the parkOne of Dan’s many accomplishments was establishing CPD, a governor-appointed council, established in state statue, solely focused on issues for people with physical disabilities. It is the only physical disabilities council in the country.

During Dan’s 36 years of service at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, he was an influential advocate for people with physical disabilities. This award is in memory of Dan and his many accomplishments and was created to recognize people with physical disabilities who are outstanding advocates.

The Dan Johnson Advocacy Award is aimed at recognizing excellence in advocacy, and public policy change for people with physical disabilities, rather than disability advocacy. Individuals nominated should be people with physical disabilities who advocate for people with physical disabilities and have had a positive impact on federal or state legislation, public policy, or programs that affect people with disabilities in Wisconsin. The advocacy work conducted should exceed normal expectations of regular advocacy practice, and should be inclusive and respectful of the values and independence of those who are affected by it.

Please note at this time the CPD is not holding the 2020 Dan Johnson Award.

Full award criteria (PDF) and nomination application (Word)

CPD will open the nomination process and make applications available April 1. Nomination packets can be emailed to Ashley Walker. The nomination deadline is June 30. CPD will review applications at their July quarterly meeting. The award recipient(s) will be notified following the approval of the nomination by CPD members. The award will be presented at the Dan Johnson Advocacy Award ceremony in October. The name of the awardee will be kept confidential until the award is presented.

Dan Johnson and Ed Roberts II

Last Revised: February 4, 2021

This content reflects the views and opinions of the advisory council. It may not reflect the official policy or position of DHS.