Holly Stants Receives Alumni Award of Excellence

Holly and Maria on each side of a LED display of their low vision workshop

By Holly Stants

Holly Stants, MS, OTR/L, SCLV, CLVT, UPMC Rehabilitation Institute Low Vision Team Leader, is the recipient of the 2024 University of Pittsburgh Occupational Therapy Department Alumni Award of Excellence.

This award recognizes excellence from graduates of the occupational therapy programs of the University of Pittsburgh for work in demonstrating the distinct value of occupational therapy in service and leadership. Stants is being recognized for her continued leadership in low vision rehabilitation.   

Stants is an award-winning occupational therapist, author, and clinical interventionist with expertise in functional outcomes measurement, quality improvement, and low vision intervention for people with blindness, low vision, and other comorbid conditions. She also creates low vision educational content for learning opportunities for staff, universities, and local and international conferences, including collaboration on a neurologic vision impairment course on Medbridge. In addition, Stants has extensive experience as an occupational therapy practice leader and quality improvement project leader in long-term care, in-patient rehabilitation, and outpatient settings, including the low-vision rehabilitation setting.

Stants received her BS in Occupational Therapy from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Science degree with an emphasis in low vision from the University of Alabama, Birmingham UAB.  Stants holds nationally recognized specialty certificates in low vision from the American Occupational Therapy Association and Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals and UAB’s graduate certificate in low vision rehabilitation.

She is also an awardee of the 2024 American Occupational Therapy Association Continuing Education Award the “Affiliated State Association President’s Award” (ASAP) for “An Introduction to Low Vision Rehabilitation: Initial Interventions for Older Adults.” Stants is the leading co-participant/educator along with world-renown clinical expert and educator in low vision rehabilitation, Dr Stephen Whittaker. Their work coordinating this inaugural program with AOTA and Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association (POTA) hosting a hybrid series to promote low vision education for occupational therapists residing in Pennsylvania, including 15 UPMC Rehabilitation Institute participants was the first of its kind. This series was at the UPMC Vision Institute with an 8-hour in-person session; participants received a POTA low vision certificate and AOTA micro-credential. 

Additionally, Stants et al, received the 2023 UPMC Community and Ambulatory Service Quality Fair Patient Experience Award working with the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, Vision Institute, and Eye and Ear Foundation for “Promoting Access to Low Vision Equipment: A Pilot Project,” a 2021 UPMC Senior Services Community Provide Services People’s Choice Award for her leadership in the advancement of low vision telerehabilitation, and the 2021 Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association Award of Recognition for her work with the PennDOT medical review board on developing the bi-optic driving practice.