George S. Alexopoulos, M.D. is a Professor of Psychiatry at Cornell Weill Medical College, and the Director of the Cornell Institute for Geriatric Psychiatry. He is also on the Executive Committee of the Center for Aging Research and Clinical Care. The Cornell Institute for Geriatric Psychiatry, which is headquartered in Westchester, fulfills clinical, training and research functions. There is a close working relationship between the Institute and the Division of Geriatric Medicine. On the clinical side, Dr Alexopoulos's staff serve as consulting geriatric psychiatrists to patients from the Wright Center, the Amsterdam Nursing Home, and the Division's house call program. The Division and the Geriatric Psychiatry Institute also collaborate on a number of research projects. Many of the Institute's staff also serves as faculty in the Division of Geriatric Medicine's Fellowship Training Program. Fellows rotate through the Westchester Division as part of this two-year program which culminates in a certificate of added qualification in geriatric medicine from the American Board of Internal Medicine (an ACGME-accredited training program).
Dr Alexopoulos's own research has been driven by an interest in the mechanisms and nature of geriatric depression. The guiding hypothesis of his work has been the belief that geriatric depression can be caused by multiple factors, including neurological disease, vascular disease and the aging process itself. In the course of his research, Dr Alexopoulos has discovered significant links between the symptoms of dementia and the onset of geriatric depression; he has also investigated the effectiveness of various medications in geriatric depression.
From his hometown of Athens, Greece, Dr Alexopoulos was trained as a psychiatrist, turning to geriatric psychiatry in 1980 when he discerned the unique opportunities offered by studying older patients. His Institute's partnership with the Wright Center (the Division of Geriatric Medicine's primary care center) has proven rewarding for both parties. Many older adults will resist referral to a psychiatrist, and prefer to have their care in a primary care setting such as the Wright Center. It offers an ideal environment, he says, "for both biological and treatment-delivery studies."
Dr Alexopoulos is also the principle investigator on a NIMH-funded Intervention Center for Geriatric Mood Disorders - one of only three in the United States. In addition to his research interests, he maintains an active clinical practice, and is interested in the identification and management of depression in primary care.
For more on Dr Alexopoulos, go to: http://www.med.cornell.edu/GSMS/fac/alexopoulos.html
For more on the Cornell Institute for Geriatric Psychiatry, go to: http://www.nycornell.org/psychiatry/geriatrics/