MELBOURNE, FLA. — The late Jose Martinez-Diaz, an influential and beloved leader in the field of applied behavior analysis who founded Florida Tech’s ABA program, has been recognized with the Michael Hemingway Behavior Analysis Award from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.
Martinez-Diaz, who passed away on Sept. 21, 2020, at age 70, was lauded by the Board for his vast influence in the lives of students pursuing an education in behavior analysis.
“His teachings were based on a desire to better, strengthen, and grow the practice of behavior analysis to help protect vulnerable populations around the world, and he passed this personal mission on to his many students,” the Board said in announcing the award. “In the kind words of his colleagues, peers, and students, he was a visionary, a fighter for justice, a beloved mentor, and a dear friend. We thank you and will miss you, Jose.”
The award’s namesake was a founding director of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board who served for 17 years at the Florida Department of Children and Families’ Developmental Services Office. The Michael Hemingway Behavior Analysis Award honors an individual each year for “their distinguished contributions (a) to the development of public policy related to behavior analysis and/or (b) to increase the availability of behavior-analytic services.”
Martinez-Diaz, a former member of the BACB Board of Directors, certainly succeeded in deepening the offerings related to applied behavior analysis. He led Florida Tech’s ABA program until December 2018, and for a number of years, taught nearly all the required program courses. He also founded Florida Tech’s ABA Online program and served as its original program director, developing most of the course material for the entire program himself. He was developing course material for an updated version of his online program at the time of his passing.
He went on to launch multiple certificate programs and six ABA degree programs at Florida Tech, including the ABA master’s degree program, the organizational behavior management program, an Orlando-based master’s program, a Ph.D. program and a hybrid online program. He also established the university’s School of Behavioral Analysis, which allowed for integration across the multiple ABA programs. He served as head of the school until December 2018. He was also involved in starting Florida Tech’s Scott Center for Autism Treatment.
Martinez-Diaz is the second Florida Tech faculty member to win the Hemingway Award since it was launched in 2006. In 2009, Fran Warkomski, at the time the executive director of the university’s newly opened Scott Center for Autism Treatment, was honored with the award.