April 2019 Seminar

Thursday, April 4, 2-3pm

Palmer Commons
100 Washtenaw Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

4th floor, Forum Hall

Helen Kales: “Using precision health to move the dementia care paradigm from sedation to person-centeredness”



Helen Kales, MD, 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 a fellowship-trained, board-certified geriatric psychiatrist, and 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 mental health issues or dementia. Kales has published over 120 peer-reviewed papers, and her research has been continuously federally funded since 2004. In July 2019, Kales will become the Chair of Psychiatry and Joe Tupin Endowed Professor at the University of California, Davis, where she plans to establish a center on positive aging.


“Using precision health to move the dementia care paradigm from sedation to person-centeredness”
There are currently over 5 million people with dementia in the US and over 15 million family caregivers providing them care. While memory problems are the hallmark of dementia, the most problematic symptoms associated with the illness are behavioral and psychological. These include depression, anxiety, agitation, psychosis, aggression, wandering, sexually inappropriate behaviors, and many others. While multiple expert bodies endorse the use of behavioral and environmental strategies for these behaviors first line, the current treatment paradigm is largely one of knee-jerk sedation using psychotropics off-label. This is neither personalized nor precise. Kales will describe the creation and application of the DICE Approach to assessing and managing dementia behaviors as well as a web-based application of DICE called “The WeCareAdvisor.”