ASA is the essential resource to cultivate leadership, advance knowledge, and strengthen the skills of those who work with, and on behalf of, older adults.

Text Resize

Mental Health and Aging Award

The Mental Health and Aging Award recognizes outstanding achievements in mental health and aging by individual or organizational members of ASA's Mental Health and Aging Network (MHAN). Nominees must have made significant contributions to the behavioral health of older adults, including dementia care, through exemplary research, education, policy planning, advocacy or behavioral health services that have had demonstrable effectiveness and are inclusive of diverse and underserved populations. 

The winner will be featured in the Aging in America Conference program book as well as in AgeBlog and on this page. The award is typically presented during the opening General Session at the ASA annual conference and acknowledged during the MHAN reception.

Submit a nomination
Deadline: October 15

2018 Mental Health and Aging Award Winner

Maria Hernandez-Peck

Maria Hernandez-Peck has devoted years of support and service to ASA as a Mental Health and Aging (MHAN) Council member, often advocating for underserved populations by raising awareness through MHAN publications and Aging in America Conference educational sessions. Through a grant she directed at Eastern Washington University (EWU), Hernandez-Peck has for more than a decade brought 20-plus EWU social work students to Aging in America Conferences, dispelling the notion that it is difficult to create student interest in the concentration of aging and mental health. In retirement, she continues to support MHAN and MHAN peer sessions at the conference.

Hernandez-Peck has been a career-long practitioner, educator, policy planner and advocate for mental health and aging, with an emphasis on Native Peoples in the West, the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. In her decades-long role as director of the Center on Aging at EWU, she developed and directed an interdisciplinary education program, taught classes, directed research and oversaw outreach to aging people in community. She also provided service outreach to and training on LGBT populations, Native American cultural groups and Pacific Northwest rural populations.

The author or director of numerous federal, state and foundation research and training grants primarily aimed at Native American Elders, Hernandez-Peck was an organizer for the 2005 Eastern Washington Mini-White House Conference on Aging. She has worked on the mental health and aging agenda for many White House Conferences on Aging, and continues to mentor a broad, diverse group of students and practitioners.


Stay Connected

Follow American Society on Aging on Facebook   Follow American Society on Aging on LinkedIn   Follow American Society on Aging on Twitter   Subscribe eNewsletter   


Embracing the Journey: End of Life Resource Fair Event Details




posted on 10.17.2018

"The fact is that every eligible voter, no matter their age or political preferences, should vote on Nov. 6."  Read More

posted on 10.17.2018

How older parent caregivers can foster a smooth transition for their adult children, from home to nursing home.  Read More