Geriatric Psychiatry

​​The elderly – especially the very old – are the fastest growing population segment in the U.S. and around the world. As the “baby boom” generation enters retirement age, there is a tremendous need for improving the effectiveness of geriatric mental health care. The UW Division of Geriatric Psychiatry is a national leader in geropsychiatrist patient care, teaching, and research. A notable strength of the Division is its diverse program of clinical and basic research into aging and age-related mental disorders.  (See also Psychiatric Neurosciences).

Geropsychiatry Locations and Programs:
  • Puget Sound Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) -- Established in 1976 and directed by Debby Tsuang, MD, our two-site GRECC has personnel in Seattle and Tacoma and currently serves elderly Veterans in Washington State, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska.
  • Northwest Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC) - Directed by Murray Raskind, MD, the Northwest MIRECC applies modern genetic, neurobiologic and clinical trial methodology to the discovery and development of new and more effective treatments for major and often treatment resistant mental disorders afflicting veterans and the active duty combat personnel who will become veterans. Translational research efforts focus on a variety of areas, including the elderly veteran with agitated dementia.
  • Memory and Brain Wellness Center at Harborview Medical Center -- A multidisciplinary team of clinical specialists care for patients with neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other ailments that affect cognitive ability, and scientists work to advance discoveries and treatments for these disorders.
  • Geriatric Psychiatry and the Senior Care Clinic at Harborview Medical Center – Clinicians provide primary care and consultative services for patients aged 65 years and older with a geriatric syndrome such as cognitive impairment, falls/gait instability, frailty, and/or functional decline. The interdisciplinary team emphasizes chronic disease management and management of complex interacting medical problems.
  • The University of Washington Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) - Directed by Tom Montine, MD, PhD and funded by the National Institute on Aging, the ADRC at UW is one of 29 ADRCs in the U.S. tasked with finding a cure or prevention for Alzheimer’s while applying new research to the diagnosis and care of patients. The research focus of the UW ADRC is to understand the mechanisms that lead to dementia. Several UW Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences faculty are active investigators in the ADRC and the Center has various opportunities for those interested in participating in research.
  • The IMPACT (Improving Mood – Promoting Access to Collaborative Treatment) study, the largest treatment trial for depression to date, was led by Dr. Jürgen Unützer, professor and chair of the department. The University of Washington AIMS Center provides materials and trainings to medical centers and physicians who wish to use Collaborative Care, the evidence-based approach used in the IMPACT trial to care for older adults with depression but which has now been proven effective across multiple conditions and populations. The Center conducts new research to further improve the treatments and lives of older adults with late-life depression including one of its newest projects, Care Partners: Bridging Families, Clinics, and Communities to Advance Late-Life Depression Care.
  • Seattle Longitudinal Study (SLS) – The SLS was founded by Dr. K. Warner Schaie in 1956 in cooperation with Group Health Cooperative and is considered one of the most extensive cohort-sequential longitudinal studies of how people develop and change cognitively throughout adulthood. The current phase of this study examines whether cognition in middle age is predictive of rate of subsequent decline in old age. SLS is co-directed by Dr. K. Warner Schaie and Dr. Sherry L. Willis and funded by the National Institute on Aging.

Fellowship/Education Opportunities

  • Geriatric Mental Health Services Research Fellowship - This NIMH-funded (T-32) two-year Research Training Program provides postdoctoral fellowship training health services research for older adults with mental disorders to psychiatrists, psychologists, and social/behavioral scientists who are committed to becoming independently supported mental health services researchers.
  • VA Advanced Fellowship in Geriatrics - Directed by Dr. Alvin Matsumoto, this fellowship offers additional training in research covering geriatric medicine, gerontology, and geriatric psychiatry. The program is open to individuals who have completed medical residency or obtained a doctorate in a relevant area.
  • Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship Program - The Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship offers a 12-month, ACGME-accredited, full-time training experience in Seattle. Completion entitles fellows to apply for an added board qualification in Geriatric Psychiatry. The Puget Sound VA funds two fellowship slots each year.
  • Neurobehavior, Neuroendocrinology, and Genetics of AD research training program - Directed by Dr. Elaine Peskind, this program provides interdisciplinary training in the neurobehavior, neuroendocrinology, and neurogenetics of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and related dementias. The program is open to medical doctors who have completed a residency in a related field or doctorate-level individuals with a degree focusing in a related area