Renowned Psychologist Dr. Angela M. Sims Announces Future Retirement After 15 Years of Transformative Service at Pastoral Institute

Monday, September 18th, 2023

Esteemed developmental psychologist, Dr. Angela Sims, will retire on October 11, 2023 after 15 years of dedicated service as the Director for the Pastoral Institute’s Sarah T. Butler Children’s Center. During her remarkable 35-year career, Dr. Sims has been dedicated to advancing mental health services for children and adolescents. Dr. Sims has been an instrumental force in establishing specialized children’s psychological services (such as a continuum of psychological services for autism) for the Chattahoochee Valley. She also served as Chief Clinical Officer for the State of Missouri’s System of Care, which won several state and national awards including the SAMHSA Certificate of Recognition for Excellence in Community Communications and Outreach, 2005.

Upon her arrival to Columbus, Dr. Sims identified a critical gap in mental health services for children and adolescents, prompting her to spearhead a transformational initiative to provide specialized psychological services for children. Armed with her expertise and unwavering passion, she meticulously crafted a range of psychological testing methodologies that not only diagnosed various conditions, but also offered personalized insights to guide treatment plans. She developed ongoing children’s groups aimed at serving the critical needs of children with autism, ADHD, anxiety, social skills difficulties and/or behavioral problems. She was one of the first providers of EMDR (a specialized treatment for trauma) for children in our region. Dr. Sim’s pioneering efforts swiftly addressed the dire need for specialized children’s care in the region earning her immense respect and admiration from peers, patients, and their families. Her unparalleled commitment has left an indelible mark on the field of mental health and the scope of services available to families within the Columbus community.

Dr. Sims' groundbreaking work has played a pivotal role in bridging the gap between mental health awareness and accessible, effective care for children and adolescents. In fact, her work allowed Fort Moore to become an Exceptional Family Member Program for those soldier families needing autism services for their children. Her commitment to fostering a supportive and nurturing environment has empowered countless individuals to overcome challenges and embrace their full potential. The legacy she leaves behind is one of compassion, innovation, and positive transformation.

In 2019, Dr. Angela Sims was instrumental in the creation of the Sensory Room at the Sarah T. Butler Children's Center within the Pastoral Institute. Her expertise in child psychology and developmental disorders was influential in designing a space specifically tailored to cater to the needs of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and/or sensory processing problems. Dr. Sims ensured that the room incorporated sensory elements like soothing lights, tactile materials, and calming sounds, which are known to provide a therapeutic and calming environment for children on the autism spectrum. This sensory room has since proven to be a valuable resource, offering children a safe and sensory-rich space for relaxation and sensory regulation, ultimately contributing to their overall well-being and development.

Under Dr. Sims' guidance, the Pastoral Institute’s Sarah T. Butler Children’s Center has evolved into a beacon of hope and understanding for some of our community’s most vulnerable, our children. Her legacy includes not only the development of the Center itself, but also the countless lives she has touched through her clinical expertise. Dr. Sims’ commitment to educating parents in how to manage their children’s mental health symptoms and disorders has helped her clients thrive.

Commenting on her retirement, Dr. Sims gives gratitude for the opportunity to serve the Chattahoochee Valley. "I am deeply grateful for the privilege of serving the community of Columbus and for the unwavering support of my colleagues, staff, and the families who entrusted me with their care. It is with a mix of nostalgia and excitement that I embark on this new chapter of my life. While I will miss the day- to-day interactions, I am confident in the capable hands that will continue to uplift and empower the lives of our young ones."