La Jollan Jerry Gold earns honors for work in the mental health field


Jerry Gold, Ph.D. MBA, was named San Diego County’s 2012 Mental Health Person of the Year by the County Mental Health Recognition Team. As administrator of the

behavioral health

clinical care line for

Scripps Health

, Dr. Gold oversees behavioral health throughout the system.

The Mental Health Person of the Year award recognizes those who have made a dramatic impact on mental health within the community, and Dr. Gold joins an esteemed group of previous winners, including prominent clinicians, administrators, advocates and judges.

Dr. Gold was nominated largely because of his role in establishing the pioneering


program at Scripps Mercy – a vocational training and modified support employment program for people with mental illness. In addition to his work at Scripps, Dr. Gold has been an advocate for those with mental illness throughout the community while fighting to erase the stigma surrounding mental illness.

What brought you to La Jolla?

The La Jolla Cluster School district, the proximity to the coastline, and the access to state-of-the-art healthcare.

What might you add, subtract or improve in the area?

I would like to see more resources put into our schools focusing on the content of the educational experience and enhanced educational facilities. I would like our schools to integrate more technology, hardwire music and art into the learning experience, and increase understanding through real-life learning experiences. I would like to see schools partner more with local corporations like Qualcomm and Scripps to provide resources and practice opportunities for students in the field.

I also wish that the curriculum would be more responsive and flexible to a fast-paced, wired-global environment.

And finally, I’d like a zip line for my children to get to school, and go to the beach from our house.

Who or what inspires you?

People who take risks. People who do things to help others and make a difference in the community without judgment or prejudice. People who have the courage to live their own truth.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

  1. Michelle Obama, to ensure that the food served at the dinner party is healthful and done with class and to honor her work and support for the Wounded Warrior Project for our service persons.
  2. Chris Van Gorder, my boss and named by Modern Healthcare as one of the nation’s most influential people in health care.
  3. Sister Mary Jo Anderson, a member of the Scripps Board of Directors, for her tireless efforts to serve those in need in San Diego, particularly for her support of the Mercy Clinic, and who is the honorary grandmother to my two children, Evan and Emily.
  4. Mother Teresa whose dedication to making a difference in the world, changed the lives of those who were less fortunate, and who inspired others to do the same
  5. Sophia Loren, who was born in poverty and overcame difficult life circumstances to become a beautiful actress and my daughter’s namesake (her middle name).
  6. Michael Phelps, the most accomplished swimmer of all time whose foundation is focused on supporting active lives among our youth. I love to swim.
  7. Jordan Farmer, a Jewish professional basketball

point guard

for the


of the

National Basketball Association

and former player for the Lakers. My son loves basketball. His foundation allocates resources to address the health, hope and healing of children in need.
  1. Bill Gates, who used technology to change the world and whose foundation adheres to the core values of optimism, collaboration, rigor, and innovation. His foundation has contributed globally to improve healthcare and education.

What are your five favorite movies of all time?

“Midnight Express,” “’Taxi Driver,” “Philadelphia,” “Shindler’s List,” and “What About Bob?”

What do you do for fun?

Spend time with my family — Ken, Evan and Emily.

What is your most-marked characteristic?

My persistence, my compassion.

What would be your dream vacation?

Being with my family, and traveling to each continent, immersing ourselves in the culture, staying with families who are different from ours and learning new things ... but ending up on a beach in the South Pacific, enjoying the sun, the surf, and my family, until duty calls us home.

What historical figure do you most identify with?

Sigmund Freud.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

“Life is being on the wire; everything else is just waiting.” And “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste the experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer, richer experiences.”