Quality of Life Health Services, Inc.Quality of Life Health Services, Inc.

Founder


Quality of Life owes its existence to a remarkable person who fought to improve the lives of Alabama residents in deep poverty and in desperate need of health care.

Roberta O. Watts was a young community health nurse who while completing a fellowship at the University of Cincinnati witnessed how a unique community-based health care model had brought about astonishing health improvements of the poorest citizens of Ohio.

Moving on an opportunity presented by President Johnson’s major “War on Poverty” initiatives in the early 1960s, Dr. Watts and other health care pioneers formed a non-profit board and submitted a proposal to the federal Office of Economic Opportunity to establish a health center in the medically underserved area of Etowah County based on the same model Dr. Watts had studied in Cincinnati.  Funding for the first Neighborhood Health Center, and the first grant for a Community Health Center came in 1978.

Many of you remember Roberta Watts as a public health nurse.  Others know her as a professor in community health (1969-1977) at Jacksonville State University.  In 1978, she became Coordinator and later Acting Dean of the College of Nursing at Jacksonville State University.  Upon completion of her Doctorate in Education at the University of Alabama in 1983, she was appointed full-time Dean of the College of Nursing. During her tenure at Jacksonville State University, Dr. Watts has made notable contributions to community and professional affairs throughout the state and nation.  To name a few, she has served as a member of the Health Advisory Council Health Planning Association of Northeast Alabama., member of the Board of Directors of Human Services Center at JSU, Chairperson of the Human Relations Council for the City of Gadsden, member of the Health Advisory Council Head Start Program and member of the Etowah County Community Services Association.  Her dynamic leadership has led to the establishment of community service agencies such as a child day care center for low-income families, the Colley Child Care Center in Gadsden, and the primary care Nursing Center within the College of Nursing at JSU.  She has written numerous grants which have provided funds for a variety of other activities such as perinatal projects for improvement of health care.

Following her retirement from Jacksonville State University in 1995, Dr. Watts founded Excel Institute and still serves as the Chancellor of the Institute and the Chief Operations Officer of Enrestoration, Inc. These programs are designed to assist the mentally challenged individuals in the community. Also, Dr. Watts continues her ongoing commitment to health care as she serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Bethesda Life Center in Birmingham a faith-based collaboration.

Dr. Watts has received numerous awards in recognition of her contributions.  She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau and Kappa Delta Phi Honor Societies and received the Outstanding Honor Society Educator of America Award, the Outstanding Service Award from the Etowah County Quality of Life Council, Outstanding Nurse Leader Award, Who’s Who in Black America, and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Outstanding Citizen Award. In 1983, she was elected President of the Council of Nursing Deans of Baccalaureate and Higher Degree Programs and the Advisory Council of the Alabama Board of Nursing. In 1984, she was elected Secretary for the National Commission on Nursing and was elected as Faculty Fellow, Lurleen B. Wallace College of Nursing.

Dr. Watts is a New South Coalition member and a past president and chairman of the board of that organization, and she has also served on the Gadsden City Board of Education. Throughout the years, Dr. Watts has served on the boards of numerous organizations such as the State Perinatal Advisory Committee, United Way, the Alabama League of Nursing and Head Start. With awards too numerous to list, Dr. Watts has been acknowledged for her continued commitment to her profession, her special interests and her community.