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Health Science Professor Named 2011 Inclusivity Hero

May 11, 2011

Professor Orazio "Ori" Caroleo (Health Sciences) was recently named Spring 2011 Inclusivity Hero by the New York State Inclusive Recreation Center for his contributions to the Center and his dedication to the issues of inclusivity facing the elderly and those with disabilities.

In 2007, Professor Caroleo took part in Inclusion U training on Long Island. Shortly after receiving his certification, he became one of the first to complete an assessment on a recreation agency that was developing new facilities. He applied what he had learned in the workshop and decided to create a course based on the principles making up Inclusion U. His course, "Assessing for Inclusivity," which he has offered at Lehman for the past three years, has become a model for other colleges across the state that are embedding Inclusion U in their recreation programs.

Professor Caroleo began his career in advertising, but he switched careers after hosting a program for guests at a senior center. During his involvement in the program, he says he became friends with an elderly woman who was obviously isolated and needed extracurricular stimulation. He resolved to visit her regularly and to come up with ways to keep her occupied. It was during this time that he realized the real lack of resources for this population.

For his "Assessing for Inclusivity" course, Professor Caroleo invites a person with multiple disabilities to speak to his class each semester. "The course has real-life implications and impacts," explains Professor Caroleo. He believes that "regardless of the population you work with, you can bring enjoyment to a personís life, and thatís important."

Professor Caroleo earned his masterís degree in therapeutic recreation and his Ph.D. in health sciences at New York University. He is a certified therapeutic recreation specialist. He has previously worked with community centers for people with AIDS, providing a variety of recreational activities for them.