Read about past winners and nominate potential winners

Every year, the Joyce Binder Memorial Award is given to an outstanding member of the NYS ID/DD Nurses Association who has made a significant contribution to advancing the practice of supporting individuals with ID/DD.

This award is named in honor or Joyce Binder, one of the founders of the NYS ID/DD Nurses Association. It was her intent to give ID/DD nurses a place to share information and network. Throughout her career, Joyce made outstanding contributions to the field of ID/DD and to the individuals she served.

The Joyce Binder Memorial Award recognizes an outstanding member of the NYS ID/DD Nurses Association who has made a significant contribution to advancing the practice of supporting individuals with ID/DD through demonstrated attributes, such as: caring/compassion, advocacy, mentoring, leadership, dedication, education, and research.

Nominations are accepted throughout the year. Nominations received by July 31 will be eligible for consideration for the award during the current year. Nominees must be members of the NYS ID/DD Nurses Association for the year they are nominated.

To nominate a candidate, please complete the Joyce Binder Award – Nomination Form and email it to

2023 Joyce Binder Award Winner

Fred Wetzel, RN, PhD, LNC, NCC

Fred Wetzel was presented with the Joyce Binder Memorial Award at the 2023 NYS ID/DD Nurses Association Annual Conference in Albany, New York this year.  Dr. Wetzel has been a member of the Association and esteemed colleague, speaker, and friend. This year we were able to share this award with him as a symbol of our appreciation for his dedicated work and mentoring others in the field of ID/DD nursing. 

Dr. Wetzel was the former Downstate Director at NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, Division of Quality Improvement. He worked for 31 years at OPWDD and was responsible for all survey and certification activities for over 3500 facilities. Since retirement he has continued to work in the field as a consultant, volunteer, and speaker. Dr. Wetzel has an extensive biography. Any summary will surely miss the multitude of ways his work continues to impact the field of ID/DD supports.

Beyond his impressive work accomplishments, Fred’s personal qualities make him a great choice for this award. He is a gifted leader and educator, presenting relevant, topical content with experience and humor. He has a compassionate mentoring style. He is kind and respectful. He is a great advocate for people with special needs, direct support professionals, clinicians, and especially nurses.

To quote one of our members, “Dr. Wetzel is truly a shining star in the field of ID/DD care…”

Congratulations, Fred

Past Winners

2021 Joyce Binder Award Winner

Carol Krueger, RN

Carol is a longtime member of the NYS ID/DD Nurses Association and has been very active in promoting the group and promoting ID/DD nursing in general. She is currently Recording Secretary. Congratulations, Carol. 

Carol has had a significant positive impact on the quality of life, care, health for the people she has supported at Springbrook, Inc. for the past 25- 30+ years.
Knowing Carol for 25+ years, she is approachable, pleasant and calm, explains her instructions and directions in a way that many of us cannot do. While many nurses can be intimidating, perhaps short, pragmatic, to-the-point, Carol has the ability to teach and use the moment in such a positive manner. This attribute, in so many words, has been shared with me from Carol’s present and past employees.

Carol is tireless in her passions and somehow balances all of these commitments with ease: as Zone representative of the NYS ID/DD Nurses Association, Recording Secretary for the NYS ID/DD Nurses Association, Home Community/EMT/volunteer, and involvement in our community. Carol is loving, caring, and nurturing. Carol is accommodating and flexible. We love her.

Carol Krueger

2020 Joyce Binder Award Winner

 Jo-Ann Weinstein, RN

Jo-Ann was nominated for this award for her leadership, professionalism, compassion, and love. She works at the Abbott House in Irvington, New York.

As a supervisor, everyone depends on her for guidance. The last five months has put a lot of strain on her, but no one would know it. Joanne was proactive in February ordering PPE for our entire team, including nursing staff and our direct care professionals. We had everything necessary to ensure the safety of all individuals she and we support. She is truly a selfless individual. JoAnn is truly connected to OPWDD. She genuinely cares for everyone she comes in contact with.

I believe this is not only a job for her, but a commitment of life. Leadership is her middle name. She is always available to receive calls all times of the day – and did she receive many calls!!! Even if she is asleep, she will answer without making you feel like you are a burden. Joanne exhibits professionalism and expects it from everyone she encounters.

The individuals that we serve depend on us. She has knowledge of all the individuals. If anything changes with them medically, she has first knowledge of all diagnosis and treatment that may be necessary to ensure they receive the best care. She is a mentor to the nurses in the Nursing Department. All staff truly respect her for the Nurse that she is.

2019 Joyce Binder Award Winner

Joan Nowak, RN

Joan, Nurse Training Coordinator at Catholic Charities Community Services for 29 years, was nominated for this award for her incredible dedication to the agency, the staff, and most importantly, to the individuals that we serve. Joan is the ultimate nurse – always asking questions, always making sure that the “i” is dotted and the “t” is crossed, always looking for the best medical information that will help individuals and staff.

Joan is “the nurse” at CCCS. She is on call, does systems’ audits, goes on appointments with the individuals, trains new nurses in the agency, and helps with new admissions. Joan has taught hundreds of staff the required medication course. Joan educates staff on the proper and safe way to administer medications and how to feel comfortable working with people who have different abilities.

Joan is a liaison between the individuals’ medical professionals and staff. She provides information in a way that is easily understood and extremely informative. Joan has established a rapport with the individuals’ families/advocates that provides a mutual trust. Joan writes policies and procedures and is a key staff to the agency’s Incident Review and Human Rights Committees. Joan is an incredible mentor for new staff, as well as staff who have been with the agency for years. She is positive and knowledgeable.

Joan is by far one of the most respected people at CCCS. She truly understands the agency’s mission and treats everyone with dignity and compassion. I admire Joan’s tenacity to always find the right solution to help the individual’s quality of life.