National Disability Provider Association Names Tamara Carter Recipient of 2021 Georgia Direct Support Professional of the Year Award

Recognition honors excellence in workforce providing long-term supports and services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – On June 3, 2021, the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) announced that Tamara Carter, a Direct Support Professional (DSP) at RHA Health Services in Augusta, Georgia, has been named the recipient of the 2021 Georgia DSP of the Year award. Carter joins 49 other recipients of ANCOR’s 2021 Direct Support Professional of the Year awards, chosen from a field of 350 outstanding nominees.

“RHA Health Services is overwhelmingly proud of Tamara, for her award recognition of course, but more importantly for her dedication and commitment to true community inclusion for the people we support,” said [spokesperson’s name and title]. “We cannot think of anyone who more clearly demonstrates the power of person-centered supports, and we’re so grateful that ANCOR has recognized Tamara with this high-profile honor.”

Since 2007, ANCOR’s annual DSP of the Year awards recognize outstanding professionals who deliver long-term supports and services to people with I/DD. The awards celebrate the important role DSPs play in ensuring individuals with I/DD are included and empowered in the community, and raise awareness about a direct support workforce in crisis. Inadequate investments in this essential workforce have led to turnover rates in excess of 40 percent and vacancy rates that average 18 to 20 percent nationally.

“ANCOR and our Diamond Partner, Relias, co-present the DSP of the Year awards program each year precisely because of people like Tamara. Her commitment to ensuring the inclusion of people supported by RHA Health Services enriches not only the lives of those individuals, but the broader Augusta community at large. Without committed direct support professionals like Tamara and all of this year’s outstanding award recipients, people with I/DD would have severely limited opportunities to be part of the community,” said ANCOR chief executive officer Barbara Merrill.

Heidi Mansir, president of the ANCOR Board of Directors and executive director for Uplift, Inc., in Gardiner, Maine, stated, “ANCOR presents the Direct Support Professional of the Year Awards annually precisely because of the important but often unrecognized work DSPs are doing to support people with disabilities to be included in the community. We are immensely proud of Tamara Carter for the work she is doing in her community. Tamara truly exemplifies excellence in the profession.”

The 2021 DSP of the Year awards will be presented in a virtual ceremony on Monday, June 14. Members of the press interested in viewing the awards presentation should contact Sean Luechtefeld, Senior Director of Communications for ANCOR, at or 571.207.9108.



For more than 50 years, the American Network of Community Options and Resources ( has been a leading advocate for the critical role service providers play in enriching the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). As a national nonprofit trade association, ANCOR represents 1,600+ organizations employing more than a half-million professionals who together serve more than a million individuals with I/DD. Our mission is to advance the ability of our members to support people with I/DD to fully participate in their communities.

About RHA Health Services

At RHA Health Services, the people we serve and support are at the very center of everything we do. Founded in 1989, RHA began as a small provider of support services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in North Carolina. Over the years, we have expanded to include a broad range of disability services and continue to add other types of services across multiple states to meet our communities’ needs. Today, RHA provides disability services in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. We have also added high-quality behavioral health services in North Carolina and Pennsylvania to support people with a wide variety of mental health and substance use needs as well as support services for those who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. RHA has been accredited with the Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) since 2001 and has programs accredited with the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) International.

Celebrate the 2021 Winners!

Check out the Recognizing Excellence 2021 publication to view all 2021 DSP of the Year award recipients:

Cheer on the winners! Attend the free virtual DSP of the Year award ceremony on Monday, June 14, live on Facebook at 12 p.m. EDT: