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Silvia Sorensen, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Administrative: (585) 273-2831

Office: (585) 273-2952

Fax: (585) 273-1082

Research Labs

Faculty Appointments

  • Associate Professor - Department of Psychiatry (SMD) - Joint
  • Associate Professor - Center for Community Health and Prevention - Joint



Dr. Sörensen is an internationally known researcher and educator in the field of Human Development and Aging 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. 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.

She is 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). Dr. Sörensen has a keen interest in community-partnered research and is a co-founder of the Aging Well Initiative community collaboration with faith-based organizations and member of community coalitions to focusing on the empowerment of underserved groups in order to reduce health disparities.

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.



BA | Antioch College

MS | Technical University of Berlin

PhD | The Pennsylvania State University
Human Development and Family Studies


Elected Fellow
Sponsor: American Psychological Association

2009 - 2010
Stuber Fellow
Sponsor: University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
Location: Department of Psychiatry

Leonard F. Salzman Research Award
Sponsor: Department of Psychiatry
Location: University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

2006 - 2007
NIMH Advanced Research Institute Training in Geriatric Mental Health
Sponsor: National Institute of Mental Health
Location: Washington, DC

Innovations in Community Scholarship Award
Sponsor: Dept. of Psychiatry
Location: University of Rochester School of Medicine

Honoree at 1st Annual Excellence in Research Day
Sponsor: University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
Location: Rochester, NY

2004 - Present
Listed in editions of Marquis Who's Who in Medicine and Health Care

Collier Day Poster Award, Second Place
Sponsor: Department of Psychiatry
Location: University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

Elected Fellow
Sponsor: Gerontological Society of America

Leonard F. Salzman Research Award
Sponsor: Department of Psychiatry
Location: University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

Invited Membership
Sponsor: Kappa Omicron Nu Honors Society

Summer Research Award
Sponsor: The Pennsylvania State University Graduate School

Wohlwill Endowment Award
Sponsor: Department of Human Development and Family Studies
Location: The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA

Dissertation Award
Sponsor: Henry A. Murray Research Center at Radcliffe College
Location: Cambridge, MA

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Journal Articles

Song Y, Sörensen S, Yan EC. "Family Support and Preparation for Future Care Needs Among Urban Chinese Baby Boomers." The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences.. 2018 Aug 14; 73(6):1066-1076.

Sörensen S, Chapman BP, Duberstein PR, Pinquart M, Lyness JM. "Assessing future care preparation in late life: Two short measures." Psychological assessment.. 2017 Dec 0; 29(12):1480-1495. Epub 2017 Mar 16.

Southerland JL, Slawson DL, Pack R, Sörensen S, Lyness JM, Hirsch JK. "Trait Hope and Preparation for Future Care Needs among Older Adult Primary Care Patients." Clinical gerontologist.. 2016 Mar 1; 39(2):117-126. Epub 2015 Nov 16.

Books & Chapters

Chapter Title: Vision Impairment and Its Management in Older Adults
Book Title: Geriatric Rehabilitation: From Bedside to Curbside
Author List: Ramchandran, R., Hindman, H, & Sörensen, S.
Edited By: K. Rao Poduri
Published By: CRC Press, Taylor and Francis2017 in Boca Raton, FL

Chapter Title: Older Persons' Care-Related Preferences: Cultural and Cross-Cultural Influences
Book Title: Cultures of Care in Aging
Author List: Pinquart, M., Sörensen, S., Song, Y
Edited By: T. Boll, D. Ferring and J. Valsiner
Published By: Information Age Publishing2017 in Charlotte, NC

Chapter Title: Vision in Mid and Late Life
Book Title: Encyclopedia of Adulthood and Aging
Author List: Sörensen, S., White, K. & Ramchandran, R.S.
Edited By: S.K. Whitbourne
Published By: Wiley-Blackwell2015 in Hoboken, NJ