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Namkee Choi, Ph.D., is Louis and Ann Wolens Centennial Chair in Gerontology in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work.

Choi’s primary research focuses on depression in late life and improving access to depression treatment for low-income homebound older adults. Her earlier NIMH-funded study (R34 MH083872) was the first to test feasibility and efficacy of delivering problem-solving therapy (PST) for homebound older adults via home-based, low-cost videoconferencing methods. This project (tele-PST) was evaluated very successful in terms of its potential for both clinical and cost effectiveness. In her next NIMHD-funded research (1R01MD009675), Choi and her team compared clinical and cost effectiveness of tele-behavioral activation (tele-BA) by bachelor’s-level counselors to that of tele-PST by licensed mental health clinicians, both aging-service integrated, for depressed homebound older adults. In the face of professional mental health provider shortages, this study provided empirical data for the potential for lay mental health providers and teledelivery for older adults who are underserved by the existing mental health service system. In her current research (2R01MD009675; 2021-2026), Choi’s team is testing clinical and cost effectiveness of integrated tele-BA and fall prevention by lay counselors/coaches.

Her other areas of research include suicide in late life, impact of substance misuse on older adults, mental health and substance abuse treatment use, disparities in health status and healthcare utilization, minority aging, and technology and aging services.

Choi had served on the editorial boards of several gerontology journals and as an expert reviewer for many journals in gerontology, mental health, substance misuse, and social work. She has published extensively in gerontology, mental health, and substance misuse journals.

Choi received her MSW degree from the University of Minnesota and Ph.D. in Social Welfare from the University of California at Berkeley. She also received training in geriatric mental health research as one of the competitively selected scholars of the Advanced Research Institute in Geriatric Mental Health funded by the NIMH. Choi’s social work practice experience has included advocacy for and direct work with long-term care residents and homebound older adults. In her spare time, she volunteers for the Meals on Wheels Central Texas in Austin.

Curriculum Vitae

Professional Interests

Geriatric Mental Health; Telehealth Depression Treatment in Aging Services; Substance Misuse among Older Adults, Suicide in Late Life, Minority Aging and Health Disparities