Sara Qualls, Kraemer Family Professor of Aging,was recently named director of the UCCS Aging Center, a community-based nonprofit mental health facility.
Qualls, a member of the psychology faculty at UCCS since 1984, will oversee the program that is the primary practicum training site for the university’s American Psychological Association-accredited clinical psychology program that focuses on aging. The Aging Center provides comprehensive psychological and neuropsychological assessment and treatment services to individuals 55 years of age and older, assists caregiver families, trains graduate students in clinical geropsychology and supports the study of psychological aging processes. She co-founded the Aging Center and led the development of the doctoral program in geropsychology at UCCS.
“I am so pleased to come back to my clinical roots, to lead the only mental health clinic in the region that focuses on older adults into our next phase of development,” said Qualls. “We now offer services that can be reimbursed by Medicare in addition to services trainees offer on a sliding-scale basis. We will continue to integrate mental health into our partner agencies in this community and will build a stronger research infrastructure to test our innovations.”
Qualls joined the UCCS faculty in 1984 as an assistant professor, was promoted to associate professor in 1991, professor in 2000 and to an endowed professorship position, the Kraemer Family Professor of Aging Studies, in 2006. She previously served as director of clinical training, chair of the Psychology Department, as director of the Gerontology Center, and faculty director of the Lane Center for Academic Health Sciences.
In 2016, she was honored by the Society for Clinical Geropsychology with the Distinguished Contribution Award. In 2014, she received the American Psychological Association’s Committee on Aging Award for the Advancement of Psychology and Aging. In 2012, she was honored as a Hero of Mental Health by AspenPointe, a Colorado Springs provider of behavioral health services, and also received the Mentorship Award from the American Psychological Association. She is widely published in academic journals and known for her presentations to area civic and business groups regarding care for older Americans. From 2008 to 2012, she was involved in an innovative senior housing venture, Palisades at Broadmoor Park.
She holds master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Pennsylvania State University and a bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University.
Qualls replaces Mike Kenny who retired from the university.
The UCCS Aging Center was previously known as the CU Aging Center and was located on North Hancock Street near the Colorado Springs Senior Center. In February 2014, the center became the UCCS Aging Center and joined four other UCCS clinics to become the UCCS HealthCircle. Located on North Nevada Avenue in the Lane Center for Academic Health Sciences, the other clinics are the Peak Nutrition Clinic, the Center for Active Living, a nurse-managed Primary Care Clinic and the Veterans Health and Trauma Clinic. For more information, visit www.uccs.edu/healthcircle.