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VISN 2 Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention

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Yeates Conwell, MD
Co-Director of Fellowship Training and Graduate Training





Yeates Conwell Photo

Biography: Dr. Conwell is Professor and Vice Chair, Co-Director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide and Director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Division of the Department of Psychiatry, and Director of the University of Rochester Medical Center's Office for Aging Research and Health Services. Dr. Conwell earned his MD from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and psychiatry residency and completed his postdoctoral research training at Yale University School of Medicine.

Research Interests:

Dr. Conwell's primary research focus is on suicide and suicide prevention in later life. His initial work emphasized use of the psychological autopsy methods in case control study designs to define factors associated with risk for completed and attempted suicide in this age group. This work underscored the importance of affective illness, physical health and functional disability, and social contextual factors in late life suicide. More recently his work has focused on interventions that seek to integrate service system elements to address these issues in a collaborative manner. In particular, Dr. Conwell and colleagues have built partnerships with community-based aging services agency providers and sought to define the role they can play as members of coordinated multidisciplinary teams in the detection and management of older people at risk for suicide. His work has been funded by NIMH, NIA, CDC, and foundations, and has direct relevance to meeting the needs of older adult Veterans, who represent a group at substantially elevated risk. 

Recent Publications:

Simning, A., Conwell, Y., & van Wijngaarden, E. (in press). Cognitive impairment in public housing residents living in Western New York. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.

Friedman, B., Wamsley, B. R., & Conwell, Y. (in press). Do disabled eldery Medicare beneficiaries make less use of a consumer-directed home care voucher benefit? Journal of Aging and Social Policy.

Van Orden, K .A., O’Riley, A. A., Simning, A., Podgorski, C., Richardson, T., & Conwell, Y. (first published online April 8, 2014). Passive suicide ideation: An indicator of risk among older adults seeking aging services? Gerontologist, doi:10.1093/geront/gnu026, PMID: 24714844

King, D. A., O’Riley, A. A., Thompson, C., Conwell, Y., He, H., & Kemp, J. (posted online: 08 May 2014). Age-related concerns of male veteran callers to a suicide crisis line. Archives of Suicide Research. PMID: 24810270

Kiosses, D. N., Szanto, K., Conwell, Y., & Alexopoulos, G. S. (2014). Innovative research on suicide in older adults. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 22(3), S19-S20.

Simning, A, Conwell, Y., & Podgorski, C. (2014). Short-term depression outcomes and characteristics associated with depression improvement in care managemetn clients. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 22(3), S130.

Van Orden, K. A., Begley, A. E., Conwell, Y., & Reynolds, C. F. (2014). Does reducing social disconnectedness represent a mechanism wherby depression treatment reduces suicide risk? American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 22(3), S-134-S135.

Stanley, I. H., Conwell, Y., Bowen, C., Van Orden, K.A. (2014). Pet ownership may attenuate loneliness among older adult primary care patients who live alone. Aging and Mental Health, 18(3), 394-399. PMID: 24047314

Simning, A., Conwell, Y., Mohile, S. G., van Wijngaarden, E. (Published online: September 30, 2013). The moderating effect of age on the 12-month prevalence of anxiety and depressive disorders in adults with a lifetime history of cancer. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. PMID: 24080385

O’Riley, A. A., Nadorff, M. R., Conwell, Y., & Edelstein B. (2013).  Challenges associated with managing suicide risk in long-term care facilities. Annals of Long-Term Care 21(6), 28-34.

Erlangsen, A., & Conwell, Y. (2013). Age-related response to redeemed antidepressants measured by completed suicide in older adults: A nationwide cohort study. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 22(1), 25-33.

Chen, S., Fang, Y., Chiu, H., Fan, H., Jin, T., & Conwell, Y. (2013).  Validation of the nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire to screen for major depression in a Chinese primary care population. Asia-Pacific Psychiatry 5, 61-68. PMID: 23857806

Chen, S., Boyle, L. L., Conwell, Y., Chiu, H., & Xiao, S. (2013). Dementia care in rural China. Mental Health in Family Medicine, 10(3), 133-141. 2013. PMID: 24427180

Liebel, D. V., Friedman, B., Conwell, Y., & Powers, B. A. (in press). An evaluation of geriatric home healthcare depression assessment and care management: are OASSIS-C depression requirements enough? American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Conwell Y: Suicide in later life: Challenges and priorities for prevention. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 47(3S2):S244-S250, 2014

Friedman B, Santos EJ, Liebel DV, Russ AJ, Conwell Y: Longitudinal prevalence and correlates of elder mistreatment among older adults receiving home visiting nursing. Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect (in press).

Pereira A, Conwell Y, Gitlin M, Dworkin R: Suicidal ideation and behavior associated with antidepressant medications: implications for the treatment of chronic pain. Pain, 2014;Epub 2014 Aug 25

Chan SMS, Chiu FKH, Lam CWL, Wong SMC, Conwell Y: A multidimensional risk factor model for suicide attempts in later life. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment 10:1-11, 2014 PMID: 25258538  

Ran MS. Mao WJ, Chan CLW, Chen EYH, Conwell Y: What are the gender differences of 14-year follow-up outcome in patients with schizophrenia in rural China? British Journal of Psychiatry (in press).


Recent Presentations:

Conwell, Y. (November 2014). “Depression/Hypertension in Chinese Older Adults - Collaborations in Health - The ‘COACH’ Study.” Gerontological Society of America, New Orleans, LA.

Conwell, Y. (October 2014). “Suicide and its prevention in later life.” University of Massachusetts Medical School, Department of Psychiatry Grand Rounds. Worchester, MA.

Conwell, Y. (September 2014). “Suicide and suicide prevention in older adults.” World Suicide Prevention Day Keynote Address, The Institute of Living, Hartford, CT.

Conwell, Y. (March 2014). “The Senior Connection (TSC): Does Peer Companionship Reduce Risk For Suicide In Later Life?” American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, Orlando, FL.

Conwell, Y. (January 2014). “Suicide and suicide prevention in later life.” Grand Rounds, Sheppard Pratt Health System, Baltimore, MD.

Conwell, Y. (November 2013). “Depression/Hypertension in Chinese Older Adults - Collaborations in Health The “COACH” Study”. Gerontological Society of American, New Orleans, LA.

Conwell, Y. (November 2013). “Suicide in later life: Management and prevention.” Baystate Health System/American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Holyoke, MA.

Conwell, Y. (September 2013). “Suicide and its prevention in later life.” World Suicide Prevention Day conference, Timaru, NZ.

Conwell, Y. (September 2013). “Suicide prevention in older adults.” Suicide Prevention 2013: A Lifespan Perspective. Auckland, NZ.

Conwell, Y. (June 2013). “Vulnerability to suicide in later life: A health service system response.” International Association for Suicide Research, Montreal, Canada.

Conwell, Y. (June 2013). “Suicide prevention in later life: A comprehensive, programmatic approach.” International Association for Suicide Research, Montreal, Canada.

Conwell, Y. (April 2013). Breaking down the walls: Bridging the public health-mental health gap for suicide prevention – The ICRC-S Education and Training Core. American Association of Suicidology Annual Meeting, Austin, TX.

Conwell, Y. (April 2013). Aging services as partners in late life suicide prevention. American Association of Suicidology Annual Meeting, Austin, TX.

Conwell, Y. (April 2013). “The COACH Study of depression and hypertension in Chinese rural older adults.” Central South University School of Public Health, Changsha, China.

Conwell, Y. (April 2013). “Management strategies for late life depression in primary care.” Zhejiang University, Department of Psychology, Hangzhou, China.

Conwell, Y. (April 2013). “Managing common mental disorders of later life: a community-based response.” Institute of Mental Health, Peking University, Beijing, China. 

Recent Grants:



NIMH R01MH100298The Depression Hypertension COACH Study. Y. Conwell, PI; 06/27/13-03/31/18.


CDC U01CE001942: The Senior Connection. Y. Conwell, MD, PI; 9/30/10-9/29/15.


CDC R49 CE002093  - Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention. E. Caine, PI; 08/01/12-07/30/17. Role: Co-PI.                           


NIMH T32MH20061: Postdoctoral Training in Suicide Prevention Research. Y. Conwell, MD, PI; 9/17/01-7/31/16.


Veteran’s Administration: VISN 2 Center of Excellence (CoE) on Suicide Prevention. K. Conner, Director. Role: Consultant.


NIH/FIC D43 TW009101: China-Rochester Suicide Research Training Program (CRSRT). E. Caine, PI; 08/12/11-07/31/16; Role: Co-Director


NIH/FIC D43 TW05814: ICOHRTA: China-Rochester Suicide Research Center. E. Caine, PI; 09/26/01-04/30/13 (NCE); Role: Co-Director


NYS Health Foundation #13-02653: Project ECHO GEMH: Extension of Community Health Healthcare Outcomes in Geriatric Mental Health. Y. Conwell, PI; 03/01/14-02/28/16






NIMH U24MH094284-01: Virtual Mentoring Network to Enhance Diversity of the Mental Health Research Workforce. Y. Conwell, MD, PI: 9/1/11-8/31/13.


NIMH U24MH094284-01S1: Supplement to Virtual Mentoring Network to Enhance Diversity of the Mental Health Research Workforce. Y. Conwell, MD, PI: 6/14/12-8/31/13.


NIMH TW-01-003: ICOHRTA: China-Rochester Suicide Research Center. E.D. Caine, PI; 9/26/01-4/30/11; Role: Co-Investigator.

NIMH K07 MH00748:  Geriatric Mental Health Academic Award (GMHAA), Y. Conwell, MD, Principal Investigator; 8/1/88 - 7/31/93; 90% effort.  Total costs - $500,100 (Competitively renewed in 8/91).


NIMH P50 MH40380:  UR-NIMH Clinical Research Center for the Study of Psychopathology of the Elderly (CRC/PE), Eric D. Caine, MD, PI; 9/15/86 - 8/31/94; Co-investigator; 70% effort, no salary support.  Direct costs 9/92-8/94 - $1,917,626.


NIMH R01 MH51201:  Attempted Suicide in Late Life Major Depression. Y. Conwell, MD, Principal Investigator; 9/1/93 - 8/31/99; 30% effort.  Total costs - $1,824,593.


VA Network 2 (internal grant): Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide. Theresa Covington, PhD, PI; 10/1/97-9/30/00; consultant, 2.5% effort; Total costs - $120,000/year.


NIMH R01 MH54682:  Suicide in Later Life: A Psychological Autopsy Study.  Y. Conwell, MD, Principal Investigator; 4/1/96 - 3/31/01; 25% effort.  Total costs - $1,100,655.


AHCPR R01HS 10120-01: Oral Health in Older Adults.  M. E. Moss, DDS. PhD, PI; 9/1/99-8/31/02; Co-investigator, 10% effort.  Total costs – $1,079,395.


NIMH K24 MH01759:  Suicide Prevention: Research and Research Training. Y. Conwell, MD, Principal Investigator; 7/1/99-6/30/04; 50% effort. Total costs - $540,504.


NIMH R01 MH60285: Adult Depression, Suicidal Ideation, and Personality. P. R. Duberstein, PhD, PI; 4/1/00-3/31/04; Co-investigator, 10% effort.  Total costs - $1,265,102.


NIAAA Small Grant Program: Alcoholism and Suicide. K. R. Conner, PsyD, PI; 4/1/02-5/31/03, Co-Investigator, 3% effort. Total costs - $50,000.


Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Depression in Primary Care – Testing a consumer directed care model (DPC #048120). Y. Conwell, PI; 5/1/03-4/30/04; 8% effort. Total costs - $99,917.


AFSP Senior Investigator Award: Depressive Symptoms and Correlates among Elders Seeking Aging Social Services in Monroe County. Y. Conwell, PI. 10% effort. 7/1/05 – 6/30/06. Total costs -- $50,000.


NIMH P20 MH071897: The Developing Center on Public Health and Population Interventions for the Prevention of Suicide (PHP-Center). Eric D. Caine, PI; 09/29/04-01/31/09; Role: Co-PI


NIMH R25MH68564-01: Suicide Research and Prevention MHREG (SRP/MHREG). Eric D. Caine, PI; 07/01/03 - 06/30/08; Role: Core Faculty


AFSP Senior Investigator Award: Adaptation of a Depression Care Management Intervention for Elder Suicide Prevention in the Aging Services Network. Y. Conwell, M.D., PI. 7/1/06 – 6/30/08. Total costs -- $150,000


NIAAA R01AA016149:  Attempted Suicide and Alcohol Dependence, K. R. Conner, PsyD, MPH, PI; 5/15/06 – 4/30/10; Role: Co-investigator


NIA R21 AG030683: Detection of Elder Mistreatment in the Aging Services Network. Y. Conwell, MD, Principal Investigator (PI); 9/15/07-09/14/10. Total Costs: $305,944


NIMH R24071604: IP-RISP – The Senior Health and Research Alliance. Y. Conwell, MD, PI; 5/4/06-4/30/13 (NCE). Total costs: $2,566,612.


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