Suicide is preventable with your help.



David W. Coombs, Ph.D., M.P.H

David  is an emeritus faculty member in the Department of Public Health, School of Public Health, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Trained as a sociologist, he later obtained a master's degree in public health with a specialization in health behavior and communication.  He has experience in the design and implementation of health promotion programs and teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and is also bilingual in English and Spanish, which has served many more populations in Alabama with his suicide prevention consultation and advocacy in two languages.

          David has been actively involved in suicide prevention as a researcher and service provider since 1973. Through ASPARC he is working with the Alabama Department of Public Health in carrying out gatekeeper training programs for suicide prevention with a Garrett Lee Smith grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA). These programs train community members and agency personnel to identify and assist clinically depressed and potentially suicidal people. 

          David has served on the Board of the QPR Institute and also has a publication record of note, including a recent peer-reviewed article with co-authors on suicide in the highly regarded Nature Journal. 

          David is an avid world traveler, and has both traveled and lived with his family in France, Turkey, China, Chile, Thailand, and many more countries.  He volunteers his time at a rigorous pace to ASPARC and also the Dixie Railroad Museum in Calera, his church community, prison outreach, and many other causes.

ASPARC Leadership
We're in the process of introducing the ASPARC board members and friends to you ... Stay tuned!  :-) 

Alabama native Dr. David Satcher, the U.S. Surgeon General in two Presidents' adminnistratons, declared suicide prevention a national imperative and challenged every citizen to action.


The Alabama Department of Public Health, Mental Health, many concerned citizens, researchers, and clinicians formed the Alabama Suicide Prevention Task Force in 2001.


Dozens of meetings later, and without a budget, a group of prevention advocates composed the State's prevention plan, hosted suicide prevention coalition trainings, participated in and hosted numerous suicide prevention community events.


As a result, the ASPARC 501(c)3 non-profit organization was formed.


ASPARC meetings are held every other month in the Birmingham area.  Members are welcome to attend and to participate in committees and initiatives.


                                         Angela Sullivan, M.S.



Angela's research agenda in her studies with the UAB School of Public Health has been in suicide prevention.  She served at the Director of Admissions with the SOPH, and recently was appointed at the Director of Admissions of the UAB School of Medicine.   to be continued.... 

                    Treasurer and Grant Coordinator

                                Katie Beaugez, M.Ed.

Katie began her work with ASPARC even before completing her Masters degree in Counselor Education from the University of Montevallo.  She continues in the role while also working at .......  to be continued....

                                             Board Member

                                             Cheryl Dodson

Cheryl is a suicide prevention advocate in the Woodstock, AL, area.  She organized the first annual Forget Me Not Wildflower Suicide Prevention event in May, 2018, and continues her service to this cause as the First Lady of Woodstock (her husband is the Mayor).  Cheryl and her community were deeply saddened by the loss of her friend and community member, John B. McLemore, who was featured in a popular serial podcast developed by Brian Reed of This American Life.  to be continued.... 

                                            Board Member

                                       Kathryn Harrington, J.D.


Kathryn is an attorney with Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC, and has been a suicide prevention advocate through the legal community.  She earned her degrees from the University of South Alabama (BA), Rollins University with a masters degree in Criminal Justice, and Cumberland School of Law with her J.D. degree.   to be continued...

                                        Board Member

                                         Wanda Langley, XXX

Wanda represents the Alabama State Department of Education as the ..... to be continued...

                                        Board Member

                                        Beverly Johnson, XXX

Beverly is the Director of Prevention for the Alabama Department of Mental Health. to be continued.....

                                          Board Member

                                    Pamela Plummer, XXX.

At Alabama A&M University, Pamela is an educator for the department of Social Work...to be continued...

Past President

Judith Harrington, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT

Current - Vice President

Judith was selected to be trained in the inaugural rollout of the Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk in 2006 and is an approved trainer for this AMSR curriculum for mental health professionals, developed by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) and the American Association of Suicidology (AAS).  Since 2008, she developed and and teaches the curriculum for the 3-credit hour graduate courses in Suicide Prevention, Intervention and Postvention UAB (2008-2012) and the University of Montevallo (2011-present) where she is now full-time on the graduate Counselor Education faculty.

          Additionally, she served on the Standards, Training and Practices Committee for the National Suicide Prevention LIfeline (NSPL, 2008-2013).  As a result of serving the suicidally bereaved community by facilitating the SOS Bereavement Group for 14 years with the Crisis Center, she increased her prevention advocacy and has been highly active with the Alabama Suicide Prevention and Resource Coalition (ASPARC), acting as its first full-term/two-term President as a non-profit organization in 2011-2013.

          She conceived of and was the Guest Editor of the Alabama Counseling Association's first-ever Special Edition peer-reviewed academic journal devoted to suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. Among her other publications, she co-authored the suicide and homicide chapter in the textbook, Crisis:  Intervention and Prevention 1st and 2nd Editions; and authored the Understanding Suicide Prevention White Paper for the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA, 2013).  She is the Chair of the AMHCA Advancement for Clinical Practice Committee (2013-present) and is charged with over-seeing the committee in its revisions and development of Professional Standards for Clinical Mental Health Counselors nationally.  For the first time in AMHCA's history, there will be a newly developed Professional Standard specifically related to knowledge and skills competencies for suicide clinical care (pending).  She was recognized by two national professional associations (AMHCA and Chi Sigma Iota Honorary) for outstanding practice, and she has been in full time private practice in Birmingham since 1988, providing therapy, training, and consultation.  


                                           Board Member

                                              Fred Vars, J.D.



Fred is the Ira Drayton Pruitt, Sr., Professor of Law at the University of Alabama School of Law, where he specializes in Mental Health, Law and Economics, Property, Trusts and Estates.  He formerly worked for several years at the Chicago practice of Miller Shakman & Beem LLP. In addition to teaching Mental Health Law, Fred also teaches Property, and Decedents’ Estates.

     His research interests include mental health and empirical analysis of law. He is a former law clerk to Judge Bruce M. Selya on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and Judge Joan B. Gottschall on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Professor Vars also served as Fellow in the Center for the Study of Corporate Law at Yale Law School.

          Fred received his A.B. from Princeton University (Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs) and J.D. from Yale Law School, where he served on the editorial board for The Yale Law Journal. While Fred has many noteworthy publications and presentations, his remarkable efforts in suicide prevention focuses on developing legislation in the nation on voluntary gun-purchase-restriction on the part of individuals who are suicidal.  Some of his publications and initiatives include but are not limited to:

 “Self-Defense Against Suicide,” www.StopGunSuicide.com (compiling materials from on-going suicide prevention project)

“'Bind Me More Tightly Still': Voluntary Restraint Against Gun Suicide,” Harvard J. on Legislation (2016) (with Angela Selvaggio) (here) [http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2641139

“Self-Defense Against Gun Suicide,” Boston College L. Rev. (2015) (here) [http://www.law.ua.edu/misc/04_vars.pdf

“Symptom-Based Gun Control,” 46 Connecticut L. Rev. 1633 (2014) (here) [http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2384144

"Do the Mentally Ill Have a Right to Bear Arms?," 48 Wake Forest L. Rev. 1 (2013) (with Amanda Young) (accepted for presentation at AALS)

"Illusory Consent: When an Incapacitated Patient Agrees to Treatment," 87 Oregon L. Rev. 353 (2008)

    Our Garrett Lee Smith Grant Partners at the             Alabama Department of Public Health                                                   

                                                     Betsy Cagle

Betsy is the Manager of Injury Prevention Programs at the Alabama Department of Public Health, having previously served as the Community Grants Coordinator at ADPH.  Her degree is in Human Performance from Huntingdon College.  to be continued...

                                              Danita Crear, Dr.PH

Danita is the Youth Suicide Prevention Program Evaluator for the Alabama Department of Public Health in its Injury Prevention Branch .... to be continued...



*For a copy of our most recent meeting minutes, please email info@asparc.org

© 2018 by Alabama Suicide Prevention and Resources Coalition, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization

If you need help or are having thoughts of suicide, please get help immediately by contacting:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:  1.800.273.8255