Institute of Geriatric Psychiatry

The Weill Cornell Institute of Geriatric Psychiatry was established in October 1994. Its mission is to conduct research in geriatric psychiatric disorders, to train investigators and clinicians, and to provide specialized clinical care to older adults.


The research arm of the Weill Cornell Institute of Geriatric Psychiatry is the Weill-Cornell Advanced Center for Interventions and Services Research (ACISR). Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (PI: George S. Alexopoulos, M.D.), the ACISR supports a portfolio of independently-funded studies seeking to produce and disseminate knowledge and practices aimed at reducing the burden of depression and disability in elderly persons with limited access to good care, promote the growth of investigators, and advance the methodology needed to carry this work into the future.

Training and Career Development

The Weill Cornell Institute of Geriatric Psychiatry offers training in Geriatric Psychiatry to physicians and graduate students in fields related to geriatric psychiatric disorders. The Institute's training programs include two NIMH-funded T32 research fellowship programs, and the NIMH-supported Advanced Research Institute in Geriatric Mental Health (ARI). The NIMH-funded Research Fellowships provide training in research methods in geriatric psychiatric disorders, and geriatric mental health services. The ARI is a national mentoring program designed to help junior investigators achieve their first R01 funding and assume the responsibilities of independent scientists. The Institute also sponsors several federally-funded, mentored career development awards for its junior investigators.

In addition to research training, The Weill Cornell Institute of Geriatric Psychiatry provides clinical training to medical students, psychiatry residents, and psychiatrists. The Clinical Fellowship Program in Geriatric Psychiatry, operating since 1980 and approved by ACGME, is designed to train psychiatrists in the clinical care of older adults.

Patients and Families

The Weill Cornell Institute oversees the geriatric clinical services of the Department of Psychiatry. At Westchester Division in White Plains, the geriatric clinical service consists of two acute inpatient units, the Psychiatry Outpatient Practice for Older Adults, and a nursing home consultation program. In Manhattan, the Institute offers geriatric psychiatry services to patients of The Irving Sherwood Wright Center on Aging (1484-1486 First Ave, NY, NY 10021; 212-746-7001), a geriatric medicine outpatient service.

To learn facts about Late Life Depression and its treatment click here.

News and Events


The National Institute of Mental Health has funded Engage, a collaborative project between Weill Cornell Medical College and the University of California, San Francisco.

Engage is a treatment for late-life depression built on accepted neurobiological theories that uses carefully selected, effective behavioral techniques. It is structured in a way that can be taught to community-based mental health clinicians and understood by depressed older patients.

Under the leadership of Principal Investigators, George Alexopoulos, MD, of Weill Cornell Medical College and Patricia Arean, PhD of the University of California, San Francisco, the project will span five years.

Engage seeks to improve mood and function as much as another therapy of demonstrated efficacy, potentially identifying an effective therapy that can be used by the large work force of mental health clinicians across the nation.

Sandy Mobilization, Assessment, Referral and Treatment for Mental Health (SMART-MH)

The Sandy Mobilization, Assessment, Referral and Treatment for Mental Health (SMART-MH) program is designed to identify the mental health and social support needs of older adults in areas impacted by Superstorm Sandy. Funding for SMART-MH is provided to the Aging in New York Fund (ANYF), part of the Department for the Aging (DFTA) in partnership with the Department of Psychiatry of Weill Cornell Medical College. The SMART-MH intervention targets people ages 60 and older and use a collaborative and team-based approach to partner with communities to identify and address emotional needs. SMART-MH uses an evidence-based approach to assessment, interventions and psychotherapy to address both specific mental health needs (e.g., depression, anxiety, alcohol abuse) and the impact of the storm. All levels of intervention will take into account the survivor's need to be respected, informed, connected, and hopeful regarding their own recovery.

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