We are excited to announce that the Program for Positive Aging has demonstrated a strong national impact with three articles in the October issue of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry (AJGP).

The headline special article on the development of geriatric mental health learning objectives for medical students represents ongoing efforts by Dr. Mary Blazek, who leads a multi-institutional workgroup to provide medical educational resources to combat the critical U.S. shortage of geriatric psychiatrists.
This article can be read here.

Dr. Donovan Maust authored an article on the relationship between dementia caregiver distress and healthcare utilization and costs, with contributions by Drs. Helen Kales, Fred Blow and Amanda Leggett.
This article can be read here.

Drs. Courtney Polenick, Amanda Leggett and Helen Kales described the implications of medical care activities on spousal caregivers for older adults with functional impairment.
This article can be read here. 

Congratulations to all!

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Last week, Dr. Kales did an interview with BYUradio, discussing dementia care, risk factors, and what we can do to help caregivers.

Listen here: http://www.byuradio.org/episode/0e1ba3d3-80fc-4567-a235-c05b4cfcbe40?playhead=1061&autoplay=true


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Amanda Leggett, PhD Congratulations to our faculty researcher Amanda Leggett, PhD, who has received a Research Scientist Development K01 award from the National Institute on Aging. Her project, “Style and Substance: Characterizing Dementia Caregiving Styles and Associated Biopsychosocial and Health Services Outcomes” will capture information about and associated with dementia caregiving styles. We are very excited for Amanda to have this opportunity.


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Last year, Dr. Kales participated in an international panel to discuss the burden associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. The report from The Lancet Commission on Dementia Care has been released and the groups findings were presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in London.

Dr. Kales discussed the importance of this report for a blog post that you can read here. 

The full Lancet report can be found here. 

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On May 8th and 9th, Dr. Kales co-chaired the NIMH/NIA Workshop “Novel Approaches to Understanding the Mechanisms of the Neuropsychiatric Symptoms of Dementia in Alzheimer’s and Advancing Treatment Development”. This workshop brought together approximately 30 clinical, behavioral science and neuroscience researchers to discuss information gaps and best steps to 1) improve understanding of mechanisms of NPS and 2) further develop better behavioral and psychopharmacologic treatment approaches.

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We are excited to announce the Program for Positive Aging has been selected for the upcoming S-Citalopram for Agitation in Dementia (S-CitAD) trial. The S-CitaD trial is funded by the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes for Health (NIA/NIH). It will evaluate escitalopram plus structured psychosocial intervention against a placebo plus structured psychosocial intervention for the treatment of agitation in patients with dementia. The S-CitAD Trial will be initiated in summer 2017.

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Faculty, staff and fellows from the Program for Positive Aging and Michigan Medicine Geriatric Psychiatry team will be in Dallas this weekend for the  American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry (AAGP) Annual Meeting.

The following posters and talks will be presented at the conference:

Mary Blazek – Revisiting the 2012 IOM report: A renewed call for action
With collaborators Susan Lehmann and Dennis Popeo

Karina Drake, Laurie Boore, Anusha Ranganathan, Mindy Sexton, Steve Chermack and Mark Lybukin – “Main and mediating effects of age and functional Impairments on veterans Mental Health Engagement” (WHODAS)

Lauren Gerlach – Assessing responsiveness of health systems to drug safety warnings

Helen Kales – “Maximizing Independence at Home” for people with dementia and their caregivers: developing, implementing, and disseminating best practices
With Deirdre Johnston MB BCh, Constantine Lyketsos MD, and Quincy Samus

Helen Kales – The WeCareAdvisor™: A Web-based tool to help family caregivers manage the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia
With Laura Gitlin MA PhD and Constantine Lyketsos MD

Sue Maixner – Meeting Residents Halfway: The Geriatric Psychiatry Residency Track

Donovan Maust – Predictors of Unmet Need among Caregivers of Persons with Dementia

Courtney Polenick – Medical Care Activities among Spousal Caregivers of Older Adults with Functional Impairment: Associations with Caregiving Difficulties and Gains

Courtney Polenick –  Perceptions of Purpose in Life within Spousal Care Dyads and Caregiving Difficulties

Courtney Polenick – Couples’ Alcohol Use Patterns in Middle and Later Life: Stability and Influence Across 16 Years




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Congratulations to Lauren Gerlach, D.O., and Donovan Maust, MD, MS for their paper titled Opioids and other CNS-active polypharmacy among older adults in the United States which will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society (JAGS).


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“Learning Their Language: The Importance of Detecting and Managing Pain in Dementia”, written by Lauren Gerlach, D.O., and Helen Kales, M.D. was published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 

The full text can be read here.

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“Unintended Consequences of Adjusting Citalopram Prescriptions Following the 2011 FDA Warning”, authored by Lauren Gerlach, D.O., Helen Kales, M.D., Donovan Maust, M.D., Claire Chiang, Ph.D., Claire Stano, M.A., Hae Mi Choe, Pharm.D., Kara Zivin, Ph.D. has been published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 

The full article can be read here.


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Donovan Maust, MD, MSCongratulations to Dr. Donovan Maust, who was awarded the APA’s 2016 Hartford-Jeste Award for Future Leaders in Geriatric Psychiatry. This award recognizes an early-career geriatric psychiatrist who has made noteworthy contributions to geriatric psychiatry through excellence in research, teaching, clinical practice, and community service and has demonstrated the potential to develop into a leader in the field.


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 Dr. Helen Kales was asked to join a select national group of experts on the Alzheimer’s Association Best Clinical Practice Guidelines (Best CPG) Working Group, which will provide evidence based and practical consensus guidelines to primary care and specialty clinicians regarding clinical evaluation and management of AD in the United States.

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Congratulations to Dr. Donovan Maust and Dr. Helen Kales for their editorial, “Medicating Distress” which was published in JAMA this week. It covers the use of antipsychotics in delirium and can be read here.

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DICE logoDr. Helen Kales and the PPA team recently received funding from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund for the project tiled “Enhancing Michigan Workforce Capacity for Behavioral Dementia Care Using the DICE Approach (MiDICE).”

The goal of this project is to train formal and informal caregivers of people with dementia in DICE (Describe, Investigate, Create, Evaluate), an innovative, evidence-based approach to assessing and managing the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia. Over the course of a one-year period, they will train 200 caregivers and then, incorporating their input, create an online training program likely to achieve long-term impact on caregiver knowledge and confidence in behavioral management of dementia.


See more grants that were funded by the Health Endowment Fund here.

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