Photo of David C. Steffens, M.D., M.H.S.

David C. Steffens, M.D., M.H.S.

Professor and Chair, Psychiatry
Academic Office Location:
Department of Psychiatry
UCONN Health
Room L4062
263 Farmington Avenue
Farmington, CT 06030-1410
Phone: 860-679-4282
Fax: 860-679-1296

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Dr. Steffens became chair of UConn Psychiatry in July, 2012, after more than 20 years at Duke University School of Medicine, where he had served as a professor of psychiatry, vice chair for education and Division Chief of Geriatric Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Steffens is the past president of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, has authored more than 290 peer-reviewed papers and is the co-editor of the leading textbook in geriatric psychiatry. Dr. Steffens also has considerable experience in medical education and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students, medical students, resident  physicians, and junior faculty.  A graduate of Rice University and the University of Texas, Houston Health Science Center School of Medicine, Dr. Steffens moved to Duke in 1988, where he completed his internship and residency in psychiatry. Since joining the Duke faculty, Dr. Steffens' career has focused on mood and cognitive disorders in older adults.

Dr. Steffens received a Master’s of Health Science in Clinical Research from Duke in 2000. He has held an NIMH-supported Mid-Career Development Award, and his major research project, known as Neurocognitive Outcomes of Depression in the Elderly (NCODE), has been continuously supported by NIMH/NIH for twenty years. At UConn, Dr. Steffens has continued his research pursuits with a new study, known as NBOLD, focusing on stress and depression in older adults.  He is developing a clinical geriatric mental health service that will focus on assessment and treatment of anxiety, depression and cognitive disorders in the elderly.

B.A.Rice UniversityBiochemistry
M.D.University of Texas Health Science Center at HoustonMedicine
M.H.Sc.Duke University Medical Center Health Sciences

Post-Graduate Training
ResidencyDuke University Medical CenterPsychiatry

Name of Award/HonorAwarding Organization
Geriatric Psychiatry Research AwardAmerican College of Psychiatrists
Invited Lecturer, Lawrence G. Raisz Lectureship in Clinical and Translational ResearchUConn Health Center
Annual Clinically Based Research Mentoring Award Duke University School of Medicine
Gerald L. Klerman Young Investigator AwardDepression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Junior Investigator AwardAmerican Association for Geriatric Psychiatry

Late life depression and cognitive disorders

Name & DescriptionCategoryRoleTypeScopeStart YearEnd Year
Research CouncilOtherMemberUConn HealthUniversity20152017
UConn Health AAUP Management Negotiating TeamOtherMemberUConn HealthUniversity20142016
American Association for Geriatric PsychiatryProfessional/Scientific OrganizationPresidentExternalNational20132014
Neuroscience Department Review CommitteeOtherMemberUConn HealthLocal20132013
Senior Appointments and Promotions Committee (SAPC)OtherMemberUConn HealthLocal20132016
Clinical CouncilOtherMemberUConn HealthLocal20132016
Vice President for Human Resources Search CommitteeOtherMemberUConn HealthLocal20122013
NIH Study Section, Adult Psychopathology and Disorders of AgingStudy SectionChairNational20032005
NIH Study Section, ZRG1 BBBP-5Study SectionChairNational20022003

Dr. Steffens' research focuses on links between late life depression and subsequent cognitive decline and development of dementia.  Assessments include structural and functional brain imaging, neuropsychological testing, blood work for peripheral markers and genetics, personality assessment, functional status, and measures of stress and social support.

Undergraduate, graduate and medical students and trainees interested in working with Dr. Steffens should contact him at

Journal Articles


  • Neural correlates associated with cognitive decline in late-life depression.
    Wang, Lihong; Potter, Guy G; Krishnan, R K Ranga; Dolcos, Florin; Smith, Gwenn S; Steffens, David C The American journal of geriatric psychiatry : official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry 2013 Mar;20(8):653-63
  • Cerebral-cerebellar connectivity in prediction of cognitive decline in late-life depression.
    Wang L, Potter G, Steffens D. Annual Conference of American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry 2013 Mar;