Sara Qualls, the Kraemer Family Professor of Aging, will be named the 2012 Hero of Mental Health during an Oct. 2 fundraising luncheon for AspenPointe, a Colorado Springs provider of behavioral health services.
Qualls, a member of the UCCS faculty since 1984, will be honored as part of the Heroes of Mental Health luncheon scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at the Broadmoor Hotel, 1 Lake Ave., Colorado Springs. Now in its fifth year, the luncheon recognizes those in Colorado Springs who champion whole-person wellness and spearhead efforts to curb stigma and advance treatment for mental illness, substance abuse, homelessness and joblessness, according to Kevin Porter, vice president of marketing and sales, AspenPointe.
“The growth of our older adult population provides many opportunities for our community as well as challenges that will require the types of collaborations and innovation that Dr. Qualls is spearheading,” Morris L. Roth, president and CEO, AspenPointe, said. “Her concern, passion and dedication to the physical and mental well-being of our seniors is unsurpassed and we are excited to be able to recognize the great things she has done and continues to do.”
When notified of the award, Qualls said:
“A hero is not at all how I picture myself. We all do what we believe will help the world be a better place. I’ve been privileged to live and work in a community that is phenomenally supportive of the aging population and of the university-community partnerships that foster innovation.”
Ed Viesturs, one of the world’s premier mountain climbers and a noted author, will speak at the event. Viesturs has climbed the world’s 14 tallest peaks, including several summits of Mount Everest, without supplemental oxygen. He is the author of several books including “The Will to Climb” and “No Shortcuts to the Top.”
Qualls is the first UCCS faculty member to hold the Kraemer Family Professor of Aging Studies Professorship. She specializes in the psychological needs of older Americans and directs the Gerontology Center. She led efforts to establish a doctoral program in geropsychology at UCCS, one of only four such programs in the nation, and is an innovator in the care of older Americans. Qualls leads a cooperative effort with UCCS and Palisades at Broadmoor Park to explore innovations in senior housing and the care of those with cognitive disabilities.
Previous award winners include Dr. Leanne Hadley, founder and president of First Steps Spiritual Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado First Lady Jeannie Ritter, U.S. Army Major General Mark and Carol Graham, and Barry Koch.
AspenPointe empowers clients, enriches lives and embraces purpose through behavioral health services, counseling services, career services, substance abuse treatments, employment, education, housing, jail diversion/reintegration and care management.
AspenPointe traces its roots in Colorado Springs to 1875 when the organization was called the Springs Relief Society. Now, Aspen Pointe has 12 organizations that serve more than 30,000 individuals and families annually.
For more information, visit http://apsenpointe.org