Sheila A. Schuster, who earned her doctorate in clinical psychology in 1973, has been a leading mental health and health care advocate in Kentucky for nearly 40 years. After graduating from UofL, Dr. Schuster spent 27 years in private practice, providing psychological services to families and children. In addition to providing expert evaluations on behalf of children involved in family dissolution issues, she was a consultant to the Louisville School for Autistic Children, the Deaf Oral School, the Louisville Parent-Child Center, and Community Coordinated Child Care. Dr. Schuster has been an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at UofL and has presented numerous workshops and seminars.
In 1982, Dr. Schuster helped establish and now leads the Kentucky Mental Health Coalition, composed of more than 80 organizations representing consumers, families, advocates and providers. She was the first Executive Director of the Kentucky Psychological Association, serving from 1989-2000, and continues to represent that organization as federal and state legislative liaison. Dr. Schuster currently heads the Advocacy Action Network (AAN), an umbrella organization which includes a number of advocacy groups addressing health care, mental health, social justice and disability issues. AAN has coordinated the advocacy activities of Kentucky Voices for Health, whose goal is to increase health coverage and access to quality health care across the Commonwealth. Dr. Schuster currently serves as Chair of this 200-member coalition.
Because of her leadership role in the 1990s in representing consumers’ concerns around health care issues, Dr. Schuster was appointed by Governor Patton as the first consumer representative on the Kentucky Department of Insurance’s Health Advisory Council. She recently completed two terms as the Chair of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, having served on the Foundation’s board since its inception.
Dr. Schuster is a member of the Kentucky Institute of Medicine’s inaugural class and a graduate of Leadership Louisville. She has been honored by numerous organizations for her advocacy efforts to improve the availability and quality of health and mental health care in the Commonwealth and to assure that individuals with mental illness and other disabilities, children, and those without access have the services and support they need to realize their potential.
Dr. Schuster, who was not able to receive her hood when she earned her doctorate in 1973, was hooded during the A&S doctoral ceremony this past December.