MD, Pennsylvania State University, 1982
A major focus of my research concerns the form and course of depression among older adults. Based on clinical experience, I noted that depressed older persons in primary care settings often did not assent to sadness. Using the data from the NIMH Epidemiologic Catchment Area surveys I carried out a series of studies using novel statistical modeling (the MIMIC model) to explore how depression presents differently among older adults than younger persons. The spectrum studies built on these findings to carry out a mixed methods study of how older adults experience depression.
A second major area has involved treatment in primary care settings including medical comorbidity. I am the PI for a long-term follow-up of PROSPECT (Prevention of Suicide in Primary Care Elderly – Collaborative Trial), a randomized trial of depression management in primary care practices. In these follow-up studies, we have examined mortality as an outcome in the context of medical comorbidity. I am a co-investigator on a PCORI project on decision-making for men with early, localized prostate cancer, so my program of research is moving into the arena of the comorbidity of physical health and mental health from a health services perspective.
A third major area involves the use of mixed methods in health services research. Mixed methods can bridge the gap between evidence generated from interventions under “ideal” conditions and the application of evidence-based practices for diverse populations in various contexts. I am the Director of the Mixed Methods Research Training Program for the Health Sciences, bringing Scholars and mentors together to advance the research employing mixed methods in the health sciences. I am the Director for the Precursors Study, a longitudinal study of aging that began in 1947, and we are now carrying out a mixed methods study of end-of-life decision making. I receive many requests regarding mixed methods from students and faculty for guidance in dissertation work, K proposals, and other applications.
I lead three courses: (1) “The Intersection of Physical and Mental Health” offered in the fourth term. We hear from experts working in various aspects of the intersection such as heart disease and depression, autism and the microbiome, and diabetes and stress. (2) For many years I have led a 2-day course on mixed methods as part of the summer institute offered at the School, with help from colleagues who help me provide an interactive and fun learning experience for students. (3) In the second term of 2017, I will facilitate a seminar on mixed methods for the first time. We expect to cover topics such as building blocks of mixed methods designs, points of integration in mixed methods, and applications in mental health, implementation, and trials.
Honors and Awards
In recognition of my mentoring ability, I was awarded an NIMH Mid-Career Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research (K24) and in 2008 I was the first recipient of the Steven Banks Award for mentoring in public mental health from the American Public Health Association.