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Spero Manson Receives Lifetime Mental Health Contribution Award

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ColoradoSPH Distinguished Professor and Director of the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health Spero Manson, PhD, was awarded the 2019 Carl Taube Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Field of Mental Health. Manson gave a lecture at the 2019 APHA conference in Philadelphia entitled “A Professional and Personal Journey: Exploring the Cultural Landscape of Mental Health Services”.

Dr. Manson’s career has focused on the assessment, epidemiology, treatment, and prevention of physical, alcohol, drug, and mental health problems in Native people of the United States and its territories (AI/AN). As the director of the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health, he works toward three goals: expanding the knowledge base about AI/AN health, applying that knowledge to programs, policies, and practices in culturally appropriate ways, and building the capacity for AI/AN people to participate in health research and programming. 

Dr. Manson has implemented evidence-based diabetes prevention programs in AI/AN communities that have achieved a 57 percent reduction in diabetes among participants. He has worked with the Department of Veterans Affairs to validate traditional healing ceremonies as part of treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in American Indian combat veterans and has trained dozens of Native MDs and PhDs to become independent scientists. He has contributed to psychiatric epidemiology by advocating for disease classifications that reflect the illness profiles of AI/AN communities. 

Dr. Manson’s work has elevated awareness of the experiences of Native people, actively introduced preventive health strategies into under-studied communities, and introduced new paradigms for AI/AN health and research.