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September 18, 2001

Contact: Sue Pondrom (619) 543-6163 

UCSD Psychiatrist Dilip Jeste Appointed To 
Levi Memorial Chair in Aging   

Dilip V. Jeste, M.D., UCSD professor of psychiatry and neurosciences, has been appointed to the endowed Estelle and Edgar Levi Memorial Chair in Aging at UCSD.

Jeste is a specialist in geriatric psychiatry, with particular research focus on schizophrenia in late life and its treatment.  He is chief, UCSD Division of Geriatric Psychiatry, which includes the Senior Behavioral Health Program (with an inpatient unit as well as an outpatient clinic) at UCSD Medical Center.  He is also director, UCSD’s National Institute of Mental Health-funded Specialized Mental Health Intervention Research Center on Late-Life Psychosis. 

The author of numerous published research studies and articles, Jeste recently said that the good news regarding mental illness in people over age 75 is that it can be treated successfully with better and safer drug and psychosocial treatments. However, Jeste added that America is facing a crisis in geriatric mental health. 

“Today, there are 35 million people age 65 and older in the U.S.,” he said. “In 30 years, this number will double to 70 million.   Today, we don’t have enough geriatric psychiatry treatment professionals – psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses – to adequately meet our needs.  With numbers more than doubling, we must begin an aggressive education and training program in order to take care of the mental health problems of older people.”

At UCSD, Jeste started the Geriatric Psychiatric Program 15 years ago to treat patients, train undergraduates and graduate students such as M.D.s, Ph.D.s and Pharm.D.s, and conduct research.  On a national level, Jeste conducts the Summer Research Institute in Geriatric Psychiatry, which is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

Earlier this year, Jeste was named editor of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and last year he established a new organization for academicians in geriatric mental health called the International College of Geriatric Psychoneuropharmacology.

Established in 1988, the Levi chair was held by Daniel Steinberg, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine, until his retirement in 2000.


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