September 19, 2016
Sara Qualls has been named the new director of the UCCS Aging Center, a nonprofit research and treatment facility that specializes in geropsychology.
The center is a part of four UCCS clinics located at the UCCS HealthCircle on North Nevada Avenue.
It is a resource for aging individuals and their family members. Resources on education, analysis and treatment of the cognitive effects of aging are provided at the center.
They examine the psychological wellbeing of older patients and administer treatment that aims to provide a better quality of life to patients 55 and older.
Qualls, a Kraemer Family professor of Aging, is taking over for retiree Michael Kenny. Qualls has been a faculty member at UCCS since 1984 and was the department chair (1993-2000) and director of clinical training (2004-2007) for the psychology department.
She also co-founded the Aging Center, which first opened in 1999 as the CU Aging Center located in downtown Colorado Springs.
Qualls has been recognized with numerous awards, such as the APA Committee on Aging Award for Distinguished Service to Profession and the Colorado Gerontological Society Distinguished Pioneer in Aging Award, both in 2014.
The aging center opened to provide resources and address mental health needs of older adults, according to Qualls.
“From the university perspective, we were building at that point what became our doctoral program in geropsychology, so we needed a training clinic in which to train students,” said Qualls.
The UCCS Aging Center is one of the few psychology training clinics that address practicum and pre-doctoral internship training requirements in geropsychology, a branch of psychology that studies the mental health concerns that come with aging.
Graduate students, supervised by licensed psychologists, have the opportunity to assist in research and become trained in clinical geropsychology.
“We opened the Aging Center because we needed resources in the community to address mental health needs of older adults and their families,” Qualls said.
“And more importantly from the university perspective, we were building at that point what became our doctoral program in geropsychology, so we needed a training clinic in which to train students,” Qualls said.