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AAGP Early Career Scientist Award

Sarah T. Stahl, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, has been presented with the 2017 Barry Lebowitz Early Career Scientist Award by the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry (AAGP).  The award is presented by the AAGP to an early career scientist who demonstrates an outstanding academic track record in the field of geriatric mental health.  

Dr. Stahl’s research focuses on developing and testing lifestyle interventions that prevent depression and promote healthy aging among vulnerable samples of older adults and their spouses. Her work has begun to shed light on novel prevention strategies including the effects of healthy dietary practices on preventing major depression in older adults with subclinical depression symptoms. Dr. Stahl has studied diverse populations of adults at increased risk for developing major depression including older adults who are grieving the loss of a loved one, elders who live alone, and older adults with disabilities. At the AAGP’s annual conference, she was recognized for her work showing that gait speed may be a clinical marker that predicts engagement in psychosocial interventions for depression. Gait speed reflects adults’ overall physical and cognitive health. Dr. Stahl’s findings suggest that older adults who walk more slowly may need alternative delivery methods to fully engage in interventions for depression. Click here to access Dr. Stahl’s article highlighting these findings that was recently published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 

With support from a career development award from the National Institute of Mental Health, Dr. Stahl is currently investigating the feasibility of a lifestyle intervention that encourages engagement in physical activity, healthy eating, and good sleep practices among older adults who are grieving the loss of a spouse or partner (the Widowed Seniors Lifestyle, or "WELL" study).