2021 ISM Recognition Awards

Excellence in Human Services Information Technology

The Information Technology Solutions Management for Human Services (ISM), an affinity group of the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), recognizes and promotes excellence in human services information technology at its national conference.  The ISM 2021 Recognition Awards for Excellence in Human Services Information Technology give national exposure to and recognition for collaboration across boundaries, best use of technology for operations, best use of technology for customers and excellence in individual leadership in the application of information technology in support of state and local government health and human services.  Award winners are recognized at the Awards Luncheon on Monday, September 26, during the ISM Annual Conference & Expo in Cincinnati, Ohio September 26-29, 2021.  Each award winner presents their project in a short video presentation prepared by the winning organization. 
Recognition Award Categories

Collaboration Across Boundaries
Recognizes the use of technology to support collaboration and/or integration that crosses traditional program or organizational boundaries. Click here for the full criteria and details on the award.
Best Use of Technology for Operations - Internal Focus
Recognizes the innovative use of technology to enhance and improve the internal productivity and/or efficiencies of the human services organization or program.  Click here for full criteria and details on the award.

Best Use of Technology for Customers - External Focus
Recognizes the innovative use of technology to enhance and expand external service delivery to those we serve.  Human services are being delivered in non-traditional places and/or methods, and these new approaches would not be possible without the thoughtful and strategic use of information technology. Click here for full criteria and details on the award.


The Jerry W Friedman Excellence in Leadership
Recognizes an individual who has played a uniquely fundamental role in the use of information technology for the efficient and effective operation in the field of health and human services.  It honors innovative leadership that has promoted sound information technology solutions, policies, and practices.  Note: this is the only award open to all sectors: federal, state, and local government; nonprofits; universities; and private sector entities. Click here for full criteria and details on the award.

Nomination Process and Deadline
Any person may submit a nomination.  There is no limit to the number of nominations a person may submit.  A separate nomination for each nomination must be submitted no later than midnight EDT on Friday, August 6, 2021. Please note: There will be no extensions given for submissions.

Awards Schedule
Step Task Date
1 Nominations Open Tuesday, July 6
2 Nominations Closed Friday, August 6
3 Peer Review Committee Evaluations between August 9-August 17
4 Finalists and Winners Notified between August 19-23
5 Videos Due Friday, September 10
6 Awards Luncheon and Recognition Monday, September 26

General Criteria for all awards:
  • For all award categories, other than the Jerry W. Friedman award, the entity must represent federal, state, local government; university or nonprofit organization.  A non-profit or university award applicant must show how their project/initiative benefited the clients of the associated or partner government HHS organization or the organization itself.
  • An organization can submit multiple projects for awards and they can also submit multiple projects for consideration in a single category.  The limitation is that any individual project may only be submitted for consideration in one category. If an organization submits the same project for an award in multiple categories, we will contact the organization to make them choose a single category for the project. For example:
    • Allowed: An organization submits a Child Welfare project for an award and a different SNAP/TANF project for an award.  These submittals can be in the same category or in difference categories.
    • Not Allowed:  An organization submits a Child Welfare for an award in multiple categories.
  • The application must show how the project/initiative specifically meets the criteria for each category.
  • For the Collaboration Across Boundaries award, only one award will be made to the specific collaboration project/initiative.  The award will name the entities that participated in the collaboration project/initiative.
Project Eligibility:
The project or initiative must have been completed or deployed in production during the calendar year 2020 to be considered.  Any benefits highlighted or derived in the nomination must reflect measurable results, and any supporting data submitted reflect current status of the project at time of application.

To be eligible for an award, the nominated project must stand on its own. If the specific project represents one phase of a larger project or program, the nomination may explain the broader context but should only include benefits realized by the specific project being nominated.
  • Project completion and deployed in calendar year 2020.
  • The criteria for judging the nominations for initiatives include the following:
    • Results gained from the initiative, such as significant improvement in service delivery and or cost savings;
    • Currency (completed during the last calendar year); if the project does not meet this timeline, it will not be evaluated.
    • Uniqueness;
    • Broad applicability in other jurisdictions; and
    • Standout among similar initiatives.
  • We are encouraging nominations which, if selected, can be accepted in person at the conference. However, if accommodations need to be made Show Management will work to provide.
  Online Submission Guidelines
The project nomination should include the following elements:
  1. Project need, business plan and solution. This description should also include information about how the project meets the criteria for the award category.
  2. Significance to the improvement of the operation of government, noting measurable results.  
  3. Benefits of the Project – In this section please address the financial and non-financial reasons why this project, initiative and or solution was worthy of the investment made.
  4. Please make specific note of any marketing or education and awareness strategies to promote adoption and include a brief narrative on the solutions architecture as part of the justification.
Please ensure the attachments do not exceed three (3) pages, and no more than 3 pertinent attachments.
Evaluation and Scoring
Nominations for each system award category are evaluated on the clarity, quality and completeness of the information presented.  Submissions which do not follow the required format or are submitted after the deadline will not be considered.
Each of the following elements will make up a portion of the total score:
  1. How well the nomination represents an innovative use of existing technology or a use of new technology
  2. Significance to the improvement of the operation of government
  3. High level discussion of the benefit of the project
Nominations for The Jerry Friedman Excellence in Leadership Award are evaluated based on the following:
  1. How has the individual demonstrated a clear understanding of the fundamental role that information technology can play in efficient and effective operations in the field of human services?
  2. How has the individual provided innovative leadership to promote sound information technology solutions, policies and practices?
  3. Resulting benefits, gains or process improvements?
  4. How has the nominee impacted the modernization of health and human services through their leadership?
 Depending on the nature of the nominations, ISM may choose not to make awards in one or more categories.

Need to come back to your submission?  You will receive an email with login credentials and instructions on how to make any changes to your submission until Friday, August 6.

  1. For questions or clarity on the individual award criteria or project eligibility: Contact the  a member of the ISM Awards Committee Robert HobbelmanTricia Cox, or Duane Fontenot.
  2. For technical assistance:  Contact Donna Jarvis-Miller, APHSA Director, Membership and Events and ISM Conference Director

To begin, enter your email and click submit. 

Powered by EventRebels.com