Catherine Sarkisian, MD, MSPH

Dr. Sarkisian, professor in residence, is a geriatrician and health services researcher in the UCLA Division of Geriatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System Geriatrics Research Education Clinical Center (GRECC). Her research focuses on improving quality of life for frail and lower income older adults, and in particular, the role of older adults’ expectations for aging on health behaviors such as physical activity. She has a successful track record of conducting community-partnered research here in greater Los Angeles dating back to 1997.

Dr. Sarkisian graduated from the UCSF School of Medicine in 1993, and completed her internship and residency in primary care internal medicine at The New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center. After spending one year on the clinical faculty at Jacobi Hospital/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, she became a UCLA Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar, and completed a masters degree in health services at the UCLA School of Public Health. She completed a one-year clinical geriatrics fellowship at the UCLA Multicampus Program in geriatrics and gerontology, and joined the faculty in the UCLA Division of Geriatrics as a Clinician Scientist in 2000. In July, 2008, she joined the VA Greater Los Angeles GRECC. She has received several prestigious awards for her work including the Brookdale Fellowship in Aging and the Paul Beeson Scholar Career Development Award. With an RO1 grant from the National Institute on Aging, she recently led an interdisciplinary community-based randomized trial of a behavioral intervention to increase walking among sedentary older Latinos; she and her team enrolled 572 older Latinos from 27 community sites in the greater Los Angeles region, and found that those who received the intervention were significantly more likely not only to increase their walking, but to sustain their increase for two years.

Dr. Sarkisian is a committed research mentor to several fellows and junior faculty, and is an active member of the American Geriatrics Society, where she recently served on the Research Committee. She is co-director of the UCLA Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center Research Training Core, and a standing member of the National Institute of Aging Clinical Aging Study Section.

She is the recipient of the 2011 American Geriatrics Society Outstanding Scientific Achievement for Clinical Investigation Award.