Center on Aging and Population Sciences

Namkee Choi

Professor and Louis and Ann Wolens Centennial Chair in Gerontology



Geriatric Mental Health; Depression Treatment in Aging Services; Social Policy for older persons (Social Security and Supplemental Security Income); Program evaluation.


Namkee Choi, Ph.D., is Louis and Ann Wolens Centennial Chair in Gerontology in the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin. Choi’s current research focuses on depression in late life and the development and evaluation of effective psychosocial interventions for depressive symptoms among both community-dwelling and institutionalized older adults.

One of her recent research projects, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (R34 MH083872), St. David’s Foundation, and Mitte Foundation, tested 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 current research (1R01MD009675), funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the aim is to compare clinical and cost effectiveness and budget impact of aging-service integrated, tele-PST (IT-PST) by licensed mental health clinicians with aging-service integrated tele-self-care management support (IT-SCM) by trained lay providers for depressed homebound older adults. In the face of professional mental health provider shortages, this study tests the potential for lay mental health providers and teledelivery for older adults who are underserved by the existing mental health service system.

Her other areas of research include impact of substance abuse 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 teaches research methods and social work practice with older adults at the graduate level.

Choi serves on the editorial boards of The Gerontologist, BMC Geriatrics, Research on Aging, and the Journal of Aging and Social Policyand as an expert reviewer for many professional journals in gerontology, mental health, substance abuse, and social work. She has published extensively in gerontology, mental health, and substance abuse 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 National Institute of Mental Health. 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 and More program in Austin.

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