ACMHA Establishes Sheila G. Baler Memorial Leadership Fund


The College for Behavioral Health Leadership has established a new fund in memory of and to honor the work of Sheila G. Baler, PhD, MPH. ACMHA’s role as a leadership college was shaped in no small measure by Sheila’s presence. A charter member of the organization, she was a pioneer throughout her career and the term “fearless” is not misapplied in thinking of her. She had an uncanny ability to focus on what really matters and the candor to speak up if the effort or conversation wandered away from that core.

Dr. Baler’s work took her around the country and included Coastal Community Counseling Center (Massachusetts), the University of Michigan, United Behavioral Health, Menninger Care Systems, Comprehensive Neuroscience, and APS Healthcare, among others. A clinician, scholar, administrator, and passionate leader, Sheila helped develop ACMHA into an organization where the biggest/most pressing issues confronting the field were discussed fully and openly, without personal or organizational agendas affecting the conversation or the outcomes.

Sheila’s concrete contributions to the College were many, but the greatest has simply been her engagement and commitment to quality that was a central element of her character. On a personal level, she was incredibly generous with her time and wisdom no matter who asked. She relished the give and take of ACMHA meetings and the mutual support and camaraderie that are hallmarks of the College. We will not soon see her equal among us.

In appreciation of her final activities with the College and her future-focused outlook for behavioral health, gifts made to the Sheila G. Baler Memorial Leadership Fund will support ACMHA’s Mentorship Program that works to develop the next generation of informed and innovative leaders critical to meet the changing landscape of the field. Gifts may be made online at or mailed to The College for Behavioral Health Leadership, 7804 Loma del Norte Rd NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87109.