The Weill Cornell Institute of Geriatric Psychiatry was established in October 1994. Its mission has been to conduct ground breaking research aimed to reduce the burden of late- and mid-life mood disorders, train future research and clinical leaders in Geriatric Psychiatry, and provide high quality specialized care to older and middle-aged adults.
The Institute’s research focuses on the development and testing of novel interventions designed to become part of the care of individuals with late- and mid-life mood disorders in the community. Its portfolio encompasses a continuum of studies in three interrelated areas: 1) Human neurobiology; 2) Development and testing of neurobiology-based novel, simple to administer interventions suitable for community settings; and 3) Procedures aimed to improve the delivery of empirically validated treatments in diverse community settings.
Our human neurobiology studies aim to identify brain abnormalities related to behavioral symptoms of mood disorders and to their response to treatment. We rely on this information to develop neurobiological models to identify behavioral abnormalities reflecting core aspects of mood disorders and use these abnormalities as behavioral targets of our interventions. This strategy enables us to focus and streamline behavioral interventions of known efficacy so that they can be used in community settings. Examples of such therapies are Engage (a treatment focusing on behavioral abnormalities related to the brain’s reward networks), computerized cognitive remediation targeting the cognitive control network, problem solving therapy for depression with executive dysfunction, ecosystem focused therapy for post-stroke depression, problem adaptation therapy for depression with mild dementia, cognitive reappraisal intervention for suicide prevention, interventions for depressed patients with chronic medical diseases or severe mood disorders, and computerized cognitive remediation.
A central goal of the Institute’s research program is to ensure that its novel treatments can be embedded in community services and sustained. To this end, our interventions target individuals with unmet mental health needs jointly identified with healthcare consumers and with the Institute’s community partners. Many of these individuals are not treated in traditional mental health settings. Examples are depressed, mistreatment victims, depressed senior center clients who do not see themselves as sick, and primary care patients suffering from depression and chronic pain. We have developed a model for recognition of depression by community services, referral, and adherence to depression treatment. Our simplified behavioral interventions are aided by user-friendly mobile technology that adds to the assessment of symptoms and function and guides therapists in targeting their sessions. The Institute’s community partners participate both in the development of novel interventions and in the design of operational procedures that enable the interventions to become part of the practice of community services. Finally, we test our interventions at community sites using community clinicians as therapists.
Training and Career Development
The Weill Cornell Institute of Geriatric Psychiatry oversees, coordinates, and delivers all research and clinical training programs in Geriatric Psychiatry at the Weill Cornell Medical Center. Its programs train medical students, psychiatric and medical residents, psychology interns and fellows, geriatric psychiatry and geriatric medicine fellows, and post-graduate scientists in fields related to Geriatric Psychiatry. The Institute also has formal structures and mentorship programs aiming to promote career development of early career investigators of Weill Cornell Medicine and at a national level.
Research Training: The Institute offers an NRSA postdoctoral to physicians or post-graduate scientists interested in late life depression and/or cognitive impairment. Directed by G. Alexopoulos, M.D. the Research Fellowship has been supported for 26 years by a T32 NIMH grant, competitively renewed 6 times. The Fellowship provides research in translational research with studies ranging from structural and functional neuroimaging, clinical pharmacology, treatment efficacy and effectiveness research. Most of its research trainees have been interested in neurobiological abnormalities preventing response of depression to antidepressants or in developing and testing novel treatments for late-life depression. For more information please visit Research Training and Career Development.
Research Career Institute in Mental Health of Aging (CIMA): This is a national mentoring program designed to promote the research career of talented junior faculty, post-residency and post-doctoral fellows interested in: 1. Mechanisms and developmental trajectories of behavioral pathology of mid- and late-life. 2. Development of neurobiologically-informed novel treatment and prevention models for aging-related mental health needs; and 3. Delivery of mental health services to the aging community. Its training vehicles are: 1. An annual, five day research career development immersion program for 16-20 mentees; 2. Pairing trainees with mentors during an one-year program focusing on both research content and planning; and 3. A web-based infrastructure to support ongoing, offsite mentoring, professional networking, and information exchange. The faculty consists of mid-career and senior NIH-funded investigators with a successful record in research mentorship informed by the field’s scientific developments and guided by the 2015 NIMH Strategic Priorities. For more information please visit Research Training and Career Development.
The Institute has a large and active clinical training program. Its inpatient, outpatient and nursing home services provide training in Geriatric Psychiatry to all trainees and faculty of the Weill Cornell Medical Center, including medical students, psychiatry residents, psychiatrists, psychologists, and other physicians.
The Institute offers a Clinical Fellowship Program in Geriatric Psychiatry to Board eligible psychiatrists. Established in 1980, this ACGME approved fellowship has been one of the first Geriatric Psychiatry formal training programs in the United States. Many of its graduates have had highly successful academic or clinical careers. Visit ACGME Clinical Fellowship in Geriatric Psychiatry for more information.
The Weill Cornell Institute of Geriatric Psychiatry has one of the largest academic clinical services in the nation. It oversees and provides psychiatric care to older psychiatric outpatients, inpatients, nursing home residents, and primary care patients. Outpatients eligible for research studies are offered detailed free of charge clinical assessment and psychotherapy or medication treatment. For more information please visit Join Our Treatment Studies.
- NewYork-Presbyterian/Westchester Division (21 Bloomingdale Rd, White Plains, NY): The geriatric clinical service consists of a 22 bed acute Inpatient Unit, the Psychiatry Outpatient Practice for Older Adults (914-997-5970), and a Nursing Home Consultation Program.
- NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center (525 East 68th Street, New York, NY): The Institute oversees a Geriatric Psychiatry Clinic and a Geriatric Track for older adults admitted to the inpatient unit of Payne Whitney Clinic. It also offers geriatric psychiatry services to primary care older patients of The Irving Sherwood Wright Center on Aging (1484-1486 First Ave, NY, NY 10021; 212-746-7001), Weill Cornell’s geriatric medicine outpatient service.
- The Institute of Geriatric Psychiatry’s Faculty Practice: The Practice offers mental health care in Manhattan and White Plains, NY. We use our clinical and scientific experience to provide state-of-the-art treatment for young and older adults. Learn More...