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Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Keith E. Whitfield, PhD


       Keith E. Whitfield, PhD


     Dr. Keith Whitfield is the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at Duke University. He holds positions as Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and Research Professor in the Department of Geriatric Medicine at Duke University Medical Center. He is also the co-Director of the Center on Biobehavioral Health Disparities Research.  He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the College of Santa Fe, Santa Fe NM and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Life-Span Developmental Psychology from Texas Tech University in Lubbock Texas. He also received post-doctoral training in quantitative genetics from the University of Colorado, Boulder, CO.
     In his role as Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, he is responsible for coordinating assessment and accreditation issues across the Duke campus. He provides administrative oversight for campus-wide initiatives in Science and Engineering and fosters collaborations between Arts and Sciences, the Pratt School of Engineering, the Nicholas School of Environmental and Earth Sciences, and the School of Medicine. He also has the responsibility of coordinating the creation of strategic plans for the University and serves as the Misconduct in Research Officer for the campus.
     He has published more than 150 articles, books and book chapters on cognition, health, and individual development and aging with a focus on African Americans.  He is currently working on a “Handbook of Minority Aging” that will be published by Springer next year. His research on individual differences in minority aging employs a two prong approach that includes studying individual people as well as members of twin pairs.  Dr. Whitfield’s research examines the etiology of individual variation in health and individual differences in cognition due to health conditions. Dr. Whitfield has worked with researchers from Australia, Japan, Italy, China, Mexico, Germany, Sweden, Russia, and the United States to examine how social, psychological, and cultural factors of cognition and healthy aging.  He has completed a study that involves examining health and psycho-social factors related to health among adult African American twins (NIA # AG13662). Results from that study have contributed to the literature on cognitive impairment, depression, stress and coping, hypertension, lung function, obesity, and mortality.  His research on individuals has come from several data sets but mostly from his work over the last 13 years on his Baltimore Study of Black Aging. His current research project in Baltimore is a longitudinal study of cognition among older African Americans funded by NIA (#AG 24108).
     He has served as an ad-hoc reviewer for more than 30 different journals as well as currently serving as a member of the editorial board for four different journals and an associate editor of Experimental Aging Research and the Special Section Editor on Health Disparities for the Annuals of Behavioral Medicine. He is the member of several professional associations. In the Gerontological Society of America, he is a past chair of the Behavioral and Social Sciences Section. He has also served chair of the Fellows Committee and the Task Force on Minority Issues which published Closing the Gap:  Improving the health of Minority Elders in the New Millennium. GSA recently awarded him the Distinguished Mentor Award. He also just completed service as treasurer for Division 20 (Adult Development and Aging) of the American Psychological Association.
     He has served as a member and chair of a number of NIH study sections. He was a member of the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences “Aging Mind” committee and “Research Agenda for the Social Psychology of Aging” committee and the Institute of Medicine committee’s report on “Assessing Interactions Among Social, Behavioral, and Genetic Factors on Health.”  He is a member of the National Advisory Board for the Center for Urban African American Aging Research at the University of Michigan, the Advisory Board for Institute on Aging at Wayne State University, the Data Monitoring Board for the National Healthy Aging Trends Study and served a term on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Institute on Aging.

       At the completion of this session, the participant will be able to:

1.  Discuss complexity of late life depression.
2.  Describe social influences on depressive symptom reporting.
3.  Describe how depression is linked to other mental health conditions.


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