Helen Kales

Professor of Psychiatry

Director, Program for Positive Aging

University of Michigan

Kales is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan and a Research Investigator in the Center for Clinical Management Research (CCMR) and the Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) in the VA Ann Arbor Health System. She is also the founding Director of the U-M Program for Positive Aging (PPA), a multifaceted U-M program established in 2009. The PPA promotes team science via national and international collaborations in order to improve outcomes for older patients with dementia or mental health issues and their families.

Kales served as Director of the Section of Geriatric Psychiatry from 2009-2014, overseeing all clinical, educational, and research operations, and building the Section to include 10 geriatric psychiatrists, one of the largest academic concentrations of this specialty in the world. As a fellowship-trained, board-certified geriatric psychiatrist, her research program is directly informed by her clinical work and experiences with patients, families, providers, and systems to diminish the barriers to effective and high quality care for older patients with dementia or with mental health issues. In addition, through research, education and clinical work, Kales and the PPA strive to change the public perception of aging from one of inevitable decline to a life phase full of possibility, vitality and learning.

Kales was named to the Lancet Global Commission on Dementia Care in 2015, and is recognized as an international expert in the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, depression in later life and in pharmacoepidemiological research related to the prevalence and risks of use of antipsychotic and other psychotropic medications in patients with dementia.