Lasting Legacies

The Missouri Mental Health Foundation along with the Department of Mental Health recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of individuals whose life work brought about positive changes to the mental health field and its consumers. The following are the photos and bios of each of the Lasting Legacies.

Year of 2008

Photo of Dr. Henry V. “Hank” GuhlemanDr. Henry V. “Hank” Guhleman

October 30, 1917 – December 30, 2004

Henry V. “Hank” Guhleman, M.D., was Missouri’s first director of the Division of Comprehensive Psychiatric Services in the Missouri Department of Mental Health. For 30 years Dr. Guhleman worked to enhance Missouri’s mental health services, helped clients through his private practice, and served as a clinical professor at the University of Missouri Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry.

Dr. Guhleman helped establish the current statewide network of community mental health centers and services and led efforts to develop the state’s first outpatient clinics, providing follow-up mental health services for those discharged from state hospitals.

An advocate of quality mental health services, Dr. Guhleman worked with state hospitals to meet regulatory requirements and improve services. He consulted with the National Institute of Mental Health, and was one of the principle writers of the federal standards for Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement. Traveling throughout the United States, Dr. Guhleman evaluated the quality of care provided by public and private hospitals for the federal government.

In 1945, Dr. Guhleman worked at the Phipps Psychiatric Clinic of Johns Hopkins Hospital, and later served in the military as the chief of neurology at Percy Jones General Hospital in Battle Creek, Mich. Following two years of military service, he worked as assistant chief of neurology at what is now the Boston VA Hospital, returning to Missouri in 1951.

Dr. Guhleman served on the Missouri Mental Health Commission from 1987-1991 as a member and as chairman. In 1985, the Guhleman Forensic Center at Fulton State Hospital was dedicated, honoring his 30 years of public mental health service to the people of Missouri.

A graduate of William Jewel College in Liberty, Mo., Dr. Guhleman spent two years at the University of Missouri before attending Washington University’s School of Medicine, where he received his medical degree. He completed his internship at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, where he met a nurse, Mary Florence Laws, who would later become his wife.

Born in Jefferson City in 1917, Dr. Guhleman’s father was in the lumber business, and his mother was a community volunteer. He married his wife, Florence, in 1945. He has a daughter, Patricia, of Madison, Wis., and a son, Stephen, of Jefferson City; and two grandchildren, Nathan and Sarah. Florence became an artist, whose works are displayed in many local banks, hospitals, and businesses. Always active and trying new things, Dr. Guhleman became a licensed amateur radio operator in his 70s.

Photo of George Andrew Ulett, M.D.George Andrew Ulett, M.D.

George Andrew Ulett, M.D., was the Director of the Missouri Division of Mental Diseases (later named the Department of Mental Health) from 1961 – 1971, taking it from one of the worst-funded mental health programs to a national leader in mental health services. During Dr. Ulett’s administration, the number of patients treated increased from 7,000 to 45,000 individuals, financial support for the department nearly tripled, and hospitals and clinics were renovated and erected.

Working with the Missouri Institute of Psychiatry at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, Dr. Ulett was instrumental in developing a second department of psychiatry at the University of Missouri School of Medicine in Columbia. Here, Dr. Ulett trained 120 physicians for careers in public psychiatry.

As Director of the Division of Mental Diseases, Dr. Ulett established the first hospitals for mentally disturbed children, first addiction and alcohol treatment programs, and first community-based units for people with mental disabilities.

Before leading the division, Dr. Ulett had a distinguished 10-year career as a professor and researcher at Washington University School of Medicine and as medical director at Malcolm Bliss Mental Health Center in St. Louis in the 1950s. He said that he was most proud of integrating African-American patients into state hospitals, establishing the first unit for integrated psychiatric treatment.

After serving as division director, Dr. Ulett returned to St. Louis to assume the role of Director for the Department of Psychiatry at Deaconess Hospital. He has authored more than 250 articles and 11 books, and is one of the world’s leading researchers in acupuncture.

Dr. Ulett received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Stanford University, his master’s degree from the University of Oregon, and his medical degree from the University of Oregon Medical School. He completed residencies at Harvard and Washington universities.

Dr. Ulett received awards from the Missouri Academy of General Practice in 1966, and the Missouri Association for Mental Health in 1970 for outstanding leadership in the improvement of mental health care. He has received additional awards for devoting his life to improving services for Missouri’s citizens with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities.

Dr. Ulett married Pearl Carolyn Lawrence, M.D., the only woman in the University of Oregon Medical School class of 1945. They have three children, Richard, Judith Ann, and Carol Lynn.

Year of 2009

Photo of Elmer C. Jackson, M.D.Elmer C. Jackson, M.D.

November 28, 1917 – May 24, 1999

Dr. Elmer C. Jackson truly was a pioneer in the clinical as well as cultural development of Missouri’s public mental health system. As the first African –American psychiatrist in the Department of Mental Health, Dr. Jackson overcame the institutional discrimination of the 1950s and 60s to leave a lasting legacy on the Department of Mental Health.

A native of McAlester, Oklahoma, Dr. Jackson was a 1939 graduate of Langston University. He served in the United States Army during World War II and earned his medical degree from the University of Colorado before taking an internship in St. Louis in 1954 at the Homer G. Phillips Hospital. After the internship, he went into private practice as a pediatrician in St. Louis, but his desire to raise his family in a more rural setting brought him and his wife to Central Missouri and Fulton State Hospital.

During Dr. Jackson’s career at Fulton State Hospital, he also served as Associate Director of Child Psychology, Director of the Biggs Forensic Center and Clinical Director and Medical Director of the hospital. He was an advocate for community integration of people with mental illness and he championed the development of community outpatient services. Dr. Jackson retired from the hospital in 1989. However, he continued to work part-time for almost 10 more years.

Shortly after his retirement, Dr. Jackson said in an interview that over the years, the racial barriers began to fade. The societal change coincided with the change taking place in the mental health system of care. In honor of his nearly three decades of work, the hospital named a treatment center for him. The Elmer C. Jackson Treatment Complex includes three wards, nursing stations and offices where mentally ill adults are treated.

Dr. Jackson won over the staff at the hospital with his respectful personality and his outstanding clinical skills. He remains one of the most highly regarded individuals to have worked at the hospital.

Photo of The Honorable Warren E. HearnesThe Honorable Warren E. Hearnes

July 24, 1923 – August 16, 2009

Warren E. Hearnes served as the 46th Governor of Missouri. Hearnes was 41 years old when he was elected Governor in 1964 – at that time he was the youngest person ever to win election to that office. For the next eight years, his leadership would help to transform the landscape for mental health services in Missouri and improve the future for individuals and families.

Governor Hearnes’ administration was a time of change, innovation and expansion of access for mental health services in Missouri. His administration helped lay the foundation for today’s public mental health system which serves more than 170,000 citizens who are impacted by substance abuse, mental illness and developmental disabilities.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services were created under Governor Hearnes administration. Missouri’s Regional Office System serving persons with developmental disabilities was established and community mental health services began to take root under the leadership of the young man from Charleston, Missouri.

Warren was married to Betty Cooper of Charleston in 1948. Betty is a mental health leader in her own right. They have 3 daughters.

Missouri’s mental health system owes much to Warren Hearnes. A treatment facility on the campus of Fulton State Hospital was named and dedicated in his honor. But his greatest legacy is the thousands and thousands of Missourians and their families who have benefited over the past five decades from the vision and commitment of this man from the Bootheel who dedicated his life to public service.

Photo of Betty Cooper HearnesBetty Cooper Hearnes

Betty Cooper Hearnes, the daughter of a Baptist minister and an aspiring musical talent, met Warren Hearnes in 1947. A love of each other, politics and the people of their state propelled her into a life of public service that has left an indelible mark on mental health care in Missouri.

Partnering with her husband during his two terms as Governor, Betty Hearnes was a pioneer in advancing the mental health system from the dark ages of institutionalization to treatment and rehabilitation.

She later established a distinguished political career in her own right, serving as a state representative and the Democratic nominee for Governor in 1988. She followed that up with 9 years of distinguished service on the Missouri Mental Health Commission, including 4 years as the Chair. Throughout that journey, Betty was an advocate for improving mental health care and an agent of change for that purpose.

During her years on the mental health commission, Betty was a tireless advocate for services to help not only individuals, but also families. As the grandparent of a child with autism, Betty crusaded for a system that gives parents an important role in establishing the service menu for autism. Regional Autism Parents Advisory Committees were established by the Department of Mental Health at the urging of Betty and other mental health commission members. She has also served as Chair of the Autism Committee in Mississippi County for 19 years.

From the First Lady of Missouri, to a state representative, to gubernatorial candidate, to mental health commissioner, Betty C. Hearnes has been at the forefront of innovation, expansion and improvement of mental health services. Her heartfelt compassion for others and her tireless leadership has made life better for thousands of Missouri families. That is her legacy.

Year of 2010

Photo of Carole Roper Park VaughanCarole Roper Park Vaughan

From 1977 to 1994, Carole Roper Park Vaughan represented the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Carole used her legislative career to not only champion mental health issues, but to elevate mental health to a previously unseen status in the budget and policy debates of the state legislature.

In 1981, Carole became the first woman in Missouri history to chair a standing appropriations committee, and for 13 years Carole reigned over the Committee on Appropriations for Health and Mental Health. Hailing from the home of Harry Truman, Carole had a real no-nonsense style about her, and she got things done.

At the time she was appointed to that position, Missouri was headed into a recession, and there was a desperate need to cut health services. Carole, however, was able to make the necessary changes without sacrificing services. In fact, throughout her tenure as chair of the committee, Missouri made steady improvements in the mental health services it provided.

Carole’s dedication to those suffering from mental illness, developmental disabilities, head injuries, and substance abuse was inspiring for consumers and their families. While her work with community mental health centers or substance abuse programs seldom made the front page, she worked tirelessly in the pursuit of better treatment for these special citizens. The result of her dedication was the transformation of a badly broken mental health system into a community-based approach that provides real options for some of our most vulnerable.

Carole was born in Sugar Creek, MO, where her father served as the mayor for 40 years, from 1940 until 1980, so she came by her political acumen naturally. In fact, while other little girls were playing with dolls, stuffed animals, or having teas, Carole was with her father learning the art of making a deal, a skill she would later take with her to the state legislature.

Her dedication to public service began through her work with students in the Kansas City School District. For 12 years, she taught elementary education in some of the poorest school districts in the Kansas City area. It was here that she fully realized the importance of community involvement. But it is her leadership and accomplishments as a state representative and her vigorous pursuit to improve the way mental health care is delivered that is her lasting legacy on Missouri’s mental health system.

Photo of Gerald J. ZafftGerald J. Zafft

For families with a child who has a disability, one of the most daunting issues they face is how to ensure their child continues to live with dignity, community inclusion and independence after they are no longer able to care for them. Gerald (Jerry) Zafft realized the need to do something to address this issue, and his skills as an attorney and insight as a parent of a child with a disability provided a way for parents to have assurance their child will be cared for in the future.

A prominent attorney with the St. Louis firm of Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP Jerry has considerable experience in estate planning for families with a member with a disability. This experience led to the creation of the Midwest Special Needs Trust (formerly Missouri Family Trust), of which Jerry is the prime author and the driving force behind its development.

The Midwest Special Needs Trust (MSNT) is a nationally recognized innovative approach which permits a family to provide for their loved one’s benefit, without jeopardizing his or her eligibility for government entitlement funding. It provides services to hundreds of families in Missouri and other Midwestern states.

Jerry has been on the board of the Midwest Special Needs Trust since its creation in 1990, guiding the entity to its place today as a critical resource for many families. In addition to the development of the MSNT, Jerry has a long history of service to persons with developmental disabilities. He has been honored with the Tice Humanitarian Award for his many years of service to Rainbow Village and his commitment to improve the residential services for people with developmental disabilities. Since 2000, Jerry has been a member of the Board of Directors of Rainbow Village and has been an active participant on several committees. Rainbow Village, a non-profit organization, provides safe, comfortable and affordable homes in the St. Louis Metro Area for people with developmental disabilities. They currently house 225 people and have 46 homes.

Jerry served on the Missouri Mental Health Commission from 1985 to 1989 and was Chairman from 1988 to 1989. He is also a longtime member of the board of the Woodhaven Learning Center and the board of Project, Inc.

Jerry and his wife, Judy, reside in St. Louis. They are the parents of three children. Families throughout Missouri and the Midwest who have a child with a disability are better prepared to address their child’s future thanks to the tireless efforts of Jerry Zafft.

Year of 2011

Picture of Dr. Danny Wedding

Dr. Danny Wedding

Dr. Danny Wedding’s impact on mental health in Missouri can be measured by the millions of dollars in research and grant funding for mental health that has come to the state in the past two decades.

A clinical psychologist, Dr. Wedding directed the Missouri Institute of Mental Health (MIMH) for 19 years.  He resuscitated what had become a moribund institution by the time he moved to St. Louis in 1991, and during his tenure as the Institute’s Director, Dr. Wedding increased annual research funding at the Institute from $135,000 to over $6,500,000. 

Dr. Wedding was instrumental in recruiting dozens of new faculty to the Institute, and he worked with these individuals to write grant applications that were submitted to federal, state and local funding agencies.  Many of these grants were awarded, and they routinely brought $20,000,000 - $30,000,000 to the state each year to serve the clients of the Missouri Department of Mental Health.  These grants provided important services that supported a myriad of clients from the Department of Mental Health, and they helped the Department evaluate new and existing programs and identify best practices as well as those programs that yielded the highest return for the tax payers of Missouri.

Dr. Wedding has served on the Boards of numerous mental health agencies and institutions (e.g., Independence Center, NAMI of Greater Saint Louis) and he has served the Department of Mental Health in numerous ways (e.g., participating in Transformation grant work groups).

When the Institute’s state funding was cut over 90% in 2010, Dr. Wedding characteristically and unselfishly resigned from his role as the Institute’s Director and gave up his position as a tenured full professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia so limited and precious state funds could be used to support other positions and activities at MIMH. 

Dr. Wedding’s final contribution to the mental health community was to work with the Department to make the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) the next academic home for the Institute; this simple change will bring more than $400,000 in revenue to the Institute each year, and this new affiliation will facilitate additional grants and collaborative research that will support enhanced mental health services in Missouri. 

Year of 2012

Photo of Bill Kyles

Williams H. "Bill" Kyles

Bill Kyles served as the President and CEO of Comprehensive Mental Health Services in Independence, MO, for nearly 30 years until his death in 2011. In 2009, he was elected as Board Chairman of the National Council of Behavioral Healthcare and for six years prior to that, was Staff Director over Region VII covering Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. Bill was also a founding member of CommCare, a regional managed behavioral healthcare company comprised of 11 mental health organizations.

Bill served on multiple boards and received numerous awards and recognition for his dedication and commitment to providing services to individuals challenged with mental health conditions. Bill Kyles’ many contributions and dedicated service to the mental health field makes him a Lasting Legacy.


Photo of Jane Bierdeman-Fike

Jane Bierdeman-Fike

Jane Bierdeman-Fike obtained her Masters Degree in Social Work and immediately put it to good use working for the Social Planning Council of St. Louis City and County. She then went to work for the Department of Mental Health in 1955, beginning a career that spanned 45 years. During this time she held various roles in social work, including the Director of Social Work at Fulton State Hospital, until her retirement in 2000.

Jane was active in social work education as a lecturer, field instructor, instructor, and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the disciplines of social work, social research, health, human behavior, social environment/welfare, administration and supervision for St. Louis University School of Social Work, Washington University, University of Missouri School of Social Work and William Woods University.

She received numerous awards and commendations for her devotion and commitment as an advocate for those with chronic mental illness. Jane Bierdeman-Fike passed away March 13, 2012; however, her many contributions and dedicated service to the mental health field makes her a Lasting Legacy.