Sessions & speakers

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A bold new vision with evidence-basis is needed for community outreach and treatment of geriatric depression. According to the Centers for Disease Control Issue Brief #2 on geriatric depression (2009): "Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Data indicated that among adults age 50 or older, 7.7% reported current depression and 15.7% reported a lifetime diagnosis of depression." Caring for community-dwelling older adults with depression is challenging and complicated by the presence of multiple chronic conditions. Evidence-based data on the success of community outreach for geriatric depression indicates that 80% of geriatric depression is treatable (Snowden, 2008). Health and human service professionals now have an opportunity to learn about collaborative, inter-professional approaches to geriatric depression care in this one-day conference at UW-Madison.

This first-of-its-kind regional conference on geriatric depression will highlight effective evidence-based models and methods that improve quality of life. You will learn about the nationally recognized PEARLS project (Program to Encourage an Active, Rewarding Life for Seniors), an evidence-based community program to reduce depression in physically impaired older adults. Dr. Mark Snowden, geriatric psychiatrist and director of PEARLS in Seattle, will present the morning keynote address and guide you through the components of PEARLS. He will also discuss how to tailor the program for the people of your own community.

Dr. Antonette Zeiss, who has more than 30 years of leadership in research of cognitive behavioral therapies, will present the afternoon keynote address, focusing on highly successful evidence-based practices with an emphasis on Behavioral Activation. You will also learn from UW experts and community-based providers who work in this field and you will have ample time for questions and discussion with these experts.

The day-long activity provides a better understanding of geriatric depression and important skills for treating it via community- based care. Practical take-home methods, a framework for providing effective community-based care, and resources to support improved outreach for geriatric depression are the focus of this conference.

Keynote Speakers

Mark Snowden, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. In addition to his academic work he is the Medical Director for Geriatric Psychiatry Services at Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. He is also board certified in Geriatric Psychiatry and is the principal investigator for the dissemination and implementation of the PEARLS Project. Doctor Snowden supervises geriatric psychiatry services for several community-based nursing homes and clinics. He has published extensively on care and treatment of late-life mental illness and community-based geriatric depression care.

Dr. Antonette Zeiss, PhD, Clinical Psychology. Dr. Zeiss has conducted extensive research in late life mental disorders at the Veterans Administration's Central Office. During the course of her 30 year career at the VA she most notably focused her work on mental health policy and training, interdisciplinary teams and health care service delivery, and depression treatment and risk factors. She has received numerous awards throughout her career, including a U.S. Presidential Rank Award, Meritorious, for her service as a government senior executive; a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies; and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association, to be presented at their convention in July 2013. She has also served as a faculty member at Arizona State University and Stanford University.

Teaching Faculty

Suzanna Waters Castillo, PhD, MSSW; Faculty Associate and Instructor, programs on aging and community health, Division of Continuing Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Joseph Goveas, MD, Board Certified Geriatric Psychiatrist, Clinical Professor at Wisconsin College of Medicine, Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Ann Lewis, Clinical Supervisor for the Pilot Project on behavioral activation for older adults, Family Services Inc., Madison, Wisconsin