Silvia Sorensen, Ph.D.

Silvia Sorensen, Ph.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box 659
Rochester, NY 14642

Office: (585) 273-2952
Fax: (585) 273-1082
Administrative: (585) 273-2831

Research Bio

Dr. Sörensen is a researcher and teacher in Human Development with particular interests in facilitating well-being among vulnerable older adults and their families. Collaborating with colleagues in Ophthalmology, Psychiatry, Primary Care, Immunology, and with community-based health activists, she has developed and/or evaluated interventions to (1) promote positive health behaviors, (2) prevent mental and physical health problems, (3) increase access to mental health services for underserved groups, (4) assist older adults with preparation for future care, and (5) support well-being among older adults. Dr. Sörensen is a co-founder of the Aging Well Initiative community collaboration with faith-based organizations, and she has a particular interest in empowerment of underserved groups in order to reduce health disparities. She is also the director of the Laboratory for Population Health, Disparities, and Intervention Research (LAPHDIR) in which new research and community health projects are hatched with the help of a Community Health-project Advisory Board (CHAB). Her specific areas of research include successful aging through preparation for future care, family caregiver stress and coping, interventions with caregivers, interventions with vision-impaired older adults, future thinking among older adults, as well as health literacy and patient education for diabetes prevention.

Areas of mentoring expertise include community engagement, research methods and statistics, and grant-writing; content expertise is in application of life-span developmental perspectives, adult development and aging, mental health in the context of chronic illness, health and aging, health disparities, and health promotion.

Awards & Honors (National)

Elected Fellow | American Psychological Association 2013

Awards & Honors (Local)

Stuber Fellow | University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry | Department of Psychiatry 2009 - 2010
Leonard F. Salzman Research Award | Department of Psychiatry | University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry 2007
Innovations in Community Scholarship Award | Dept. of Psychiatry | University of Rochester School of Medicine 2006
Honoree at 1st Annual Excellence in Research Day | University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry | Rochester, NY 2006
NIMH Advanced Research Institute Training in Geriatric Mental Health | National Institute of Mental Health | Washington, DC 2006 - 2007
Collier Day Poster Award, Second Place | Department of Psychiatry | University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry 2004
Listed in editions of Marquis Who's Who in Medicine and Health Care 2004 - Present
Elected Fellow | Gerontological Society of America 2003
Leonard F. Salzman Research Award | Department of Psychiatry | University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry 2001
Invited Membership | Kappa Omicron Nu Honors Society 1992
Summer Research Award | The Pennsylvania State University Graduate School 1992
Wohlwill Endowment Award | Department of Human Development and Family Studies | The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA 1992
Dissertation Award | Henry A. Murray Research Center at Radcliffe College | Cambridge, MA 1991

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 56 available »

2015 May
Sörensen S, White K, Mak W, Zanibbi K, Tang W, O'Hearn A, Hegel MT. "The macular degeneration and aging study: Design and research protocol of a randomized trial for a psychosocial intervention with macular degeneration patients." Contemporary clinical trials. 2015 May; 42:68-77. Epub 2015 Mar 24.
Sörensen S, Hirsch JK, Lyness JM. "Optimism and Planning for Future Care Needs among Older Adults." GeroPsych. 2014 27(1):5-22.
White, A.M.; Castle, K.; Sörensen, S.; Briody, S.; Dailey, H.; King, D.; Fogarty, C.; Duberstein, P. R. "You know a tree by its fruit: Growing a fellowship program for community partnered mental health disparities research in an academic medical center". International Public Health Journal. 2013; 5(4).
2012 Oct
Sörensen S, Mak W, Chapman B, Duberstein PR, Lyness JM. "The relationship of preparation for future care to depression and anxiety in older primary care patients at 2-year follow-up." The American journal of geriatric psychiatry : official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. 2012 Oct; 20(10):887-94.
Mak, W.; Sörensen, S. "Trajectories of Preparation for Future Care Among First-Degree Relatives of Alzheimer's Disease Patients: An Ancillary Study of ADAPT". The Gerontologist. 2012; 52(4): 531-540.

Current Appointments

Research Associate Professor - Department of Ophthalmology (SMD) - Primary
Research Associate Professor - Department of Psychiatry, Geriatric/Psychiatry (SMD)
Research Associate Professor - Center for Community Health


PhD | Human Development and Family Studies | The Pennsylvania State University1993
MS | Psychology | Technical University of Berlin1988
BA | Psychology | Antioch College1984