Patricia Areán, PhD

I am an international expert on effectiveness of behavioral interventions for mood disorders in special populations such as older adults and ethnic minorities. I lead a research and training group known for developing, studying, increasing access to and implementing user friendly, high quality behavioral interventions for mood as it presents in chronic illness, aging, low income and ethnic minority populations, in a variety of service settings: mental health, primary care, senior services, and mobile platforms. My team combines the latest information from cognitive neuroscience, socio-economics and implementation science in their designs.

Since 1994, I have published 125 peer-reviewed articles on these topics and she has been funded by SAMHSA, NIMH, NIA, NIDDK and the Hartford Foundation. I am currently funded by NIMH to study the effectiveness of “brain games” on mood and the effectiveness of a modularized psychotherapy for late life depression, and recently completed two large scale, fully remote RCTs in English and in Spanish. My work has won national recognition, resulting in an early career award from the American Psychological Association and The Award for Achievements in Diversity in Mental Health from the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry.

I also provides training in evidence-based treatments to community mental health and health professionals, and am developing deployable and cost effective training models based on contemporary adult learning methods. I am a noted expert in career mentoring and am currently the co-director of workforce development in translational sciences. ​


Clinical Services Research, UCSF, 1991-1991
Psycholgy, Bellevue Hospital, 1990-1991
PhD, Psychology, New Jersey, 1987-1991

Department Affiliations

Clinical Expertise

Teaching Philosophy

Clinical Interests and Expertise
  • Depressive disorders
  • Neurocognitive disorders
Research Interests and Expertise
  • Research Expertise
    • Depressive disorders
    • Neurocognitive disorders

Recent Publications

Course of Subtypes of Late-Life Depression Identified by Bipartite Network Analysis During Psychosocial Interventions.
(2023 May 3)
JAMA Psychiatry
Solomonov N, Lee J, Banerjee S, Chen SZ, Sirey JA, Gunning FM, Liston C, Raue PJ, Areán PA, Alexopoulos GS

An Integrative Engagement Model of Digital Psychotherapy: Exploratory Focus Group Findings.
(2023 Apr 26)
JMIR Form Res 7(): e41428
Zech JM, Johnson M, Pullmann MD, Hull TD, Althoff T, Munson SA, Fridling N, Litvin B, Wu J, Areán PA

Acute and intensive care nurses' perspectives on suicide prevention with medically hospitalized patients: Exploring barriers, facilitators, interests, and training opportunities.
(2023 Mar 21)
J Adv Nurs
Darnell D, Pierson A, Whitney JD, Wolkow CA, Dorsey S, Boudreaux ED, Areán PA, Comtois KA

Mobile phone-based interventions for mental health show promise of effectiveness, but what does the evidence tell us about what needs to come next?
(2022 Nov)
PLOS Digit Health 1(11): e0000126
Jacobson NC, Areán P, Schueller SM

Editorial: Aging-related factors in digital health: Design, uptake, engagement, and outcomes.
Front Digit Health 4(): 1124464
Branch OH, Graham SA, Moore RC, Areán PA

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