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Laura N. Gitlin, Ph.D., M.A.

Headshot of Laura N. Gitlin
  • Founding Director, Center for Innovative Care in Aging
  • Joint Appointment in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Research Interests

Nonpharmacologic treatment in dementia care; Family caregiving; Aging in place; Adaptation to chronic illness; Geriatrics; Depression; Health disparities more


Dr. Laura Gitlin is a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a professor of community-public health at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. She also holds a joint appointment in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 

Her research focuses on aging and dementia. Dr. Gitlin serves as the founding director of the Center for Innovative Care in Aging at Johns Hopkins.

Her team is currently engaged in clinical trials that explore home-based care, non-pharmacological interventions and other methods of managing the symptoms of dementia.

Dr. Gitlin received her B.A. in anthropology from Temple University. She earned her M.A. and her Ph.D. in sociology from Purdue University. 

She serves on the editorial board of The Gerontologist. Her work has been recognized with several honors, including an M. Powell Lawton Award from the Gerontological Society of America. She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association, the Gerontological Society of America and the New York Academy of Sciences. more


  • Founding Director, Center for Innovative Care in Aging
  • Joint Appointment in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • M.A.; Purdue University (Indiana) (1976)
  • Ph.D.; Purdue University (Indiana) (1982)
  • B.A.; Temple University (Pennsylvania) (1974)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Gitlin’s research includes understanding adaptive processes in old age, particularly with the use of assistive devices and environmental modifications; psycho-social-environmental approaches to helping older people with physical frailty age in place; nonpharmacologic approaches to enhancing quality of life of people with dementia and their family caregivers; mental health disparities in older African-Americans and depression treatments; and translating and implementing evidence-based interventions for family caregivers, individuals with dementia and older adults with functional difficulties.

Clinical Trials

Activities & Honors


  • M. Powell Lawton Award, Gerontological Society of America, 2014
  • American Occupational Therapy Association Service Commendation,, Representative of the AMA-PCPI Dementia Measure Development Work Group, 2012
  • John Mackey Award for Excellence in Dementia Care, Johns Hopkins University, 2011
  • MetLife Award for the Skills2Care Program with Fox Rehabilitation, 2010
  • Champion Impact Award for Healthy Aging at Home, United Way, 2010
  • Award for the Harvest Health Program with Center in the Park, National Institute of Senior Centers, 2010
  • Charles Ewing Presidential Award, Eastern Pennsylvania Geriatric Society, 2009
  • Rosalynn Carter Institute Special Merit Award for the Environmental Skill-building Program (Skills2Care) with Fox Rehabilitation, 2009
  • Marguerite L. Riegel Award to CARAH, Center in the Park, 2008
  • Network on Multi-cultural Aging Award for the NIMH-funded In Touch: Mind Body & Spirit Program with Center in the Park, American Society on Aging, 2008
  • Reisberg/Hearthstone Award for Non-pharmacological Research, Theory and Clinical Practice, 2008
  • Fellow, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 2007


  • American Occupational Therapy Association, 1987
  • Gerontological Society of America, 1982
  • New York Academy of Sciences, 1982

Professional Activities

  • National Co-leader, John A. Hartford Change AGEnts Initiative, 2013
  • Editorial Board Member, The Gerontologist, 2012
  • Interim Co-Director, Senior Health Institute, 2000 - 2002
  • Director of Research, Senior Health Institute, 1999 - 2002

Videos & Media

Lectures and Presentations

  • Activity engagement to manage agitation and apathy
    Lecture, Mackey Conference on Dementia Care, Sponsored by Department of Psychiatry, Baltimore, MD (03/31/2012)
    Johns Hopkins University
  • New directions in dementia care: The promise of nonpharmacological interventions
    Lecture, invited presentation for the Dementia Consortium of the Johns Hopkins University Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Baltimore, MD (03/19/2012)
  • The role of nonpharmacologic strategies in dementia care: Current evidence, translational challenges and future directions
    Lecture, invited lecturer in training course for aging and cognition training program, Baltimore, MD (03/15/2012)
    Johns Hopkins University
  • Enhancing quality of life of individuals with dementia and their family caregivers: Common challenges and practical strategies
    Lecture, keynote speaker at Journey to Hope: Conference for Family Caregivers, Baltimore, MD (11/12/2011)
    Johns Hopkins University
  • A multidisciplinary approach to managing dementia
    Lecture, invited speaker at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing Alumni Weekend, Baltimore, MD (09/23/2011)
  • New directions in dementia care: Integrating nonpharmacologic strategies
    Lecture, keynote in acceptance of John Mackey Award for Excellence in Dementia Care, Baltimore, MD (04/02/2011)
    Johns Hopkins University
  • Nonpharmacologic approaches in dementia care: Promising results from randomized trials
    Lecture, invited presentation to Johns Hopkins Division of Psychiatry, Baltimore, MD (08/13/2010)

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

  • “Living with Lewy Body Dementia,” U.S.News & World Report, Sept. 22, 2015
  • “Drugging of Dementia Patients Cited as Serious Problem,” ABC News, Dec. 9, 2010
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