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Silvia Sorensen

Silvia Sörensen

Associate Professor

Counseling & Human Development

PhD, Pennsylvania State University (Human Development and Family Studies)
MS, Technical University of Berlin (Psychology)
BA, Antioch College (Psychology)


Silvia Sörensen is a researcher and teacher in human development with particular interests in facilitating well-being among vulnerable older adults and their families. Collaborating with colleagues in ophthalmology, psychiatry, primary care, immunology, and with community-based health activists, she has developed and/or evaluated interventions to (1) promote positive health behaviors, (2) prevent mental and physical health problems, (3) increase access to mental health services for underserved groups, (4) assist older adults with preparation for future care, and (5) support well-being among older adults.

Sörensen is a co-founder of the Aging Well Initiative community collaboration with faith-based organizations, and she has a particular interest in empowerment of underserved groups in order to reduce health disparities. She is also the director of the Laboratory for Aging, Population Health, Disparities, and Intervention Research (LAPHDIR) in which new research and community health projects are hatched with the help of a Community Health-project Advisory Board (CHAB). Her specific areas of research include successful aging through preparation for future care, family caregiver stress and coping, interventions with caregivers, interventions with vision-impaired older adults, future thinking among older adults, as well as health literacy and patient education for diabetes prevention.

Her areas of mentoring expertise include community engagement, research methods and statistics, and grant-writing; content expertise is in application of life-span developmental perspectives, adult development and aging, mental health in the context of chronic illness, health and aging, health disparities, and health promotion.