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Daniel German Blazer, MD, PhD

J. P. Gibbons Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry
Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Division: 
Behavioral Medicine & Neurosciences
Category: 
Office: 3521 Hosp South, Durham, NC 27710
Campus Mail: DUMC Box 3003 Med Ctr, Durham, NC 27710

I am currently semi-retired. Most of my recent work has been focused on roles with the National Academy of Medicine (former Institute of Medicine). I have chaired three committees during the past four years, one on the mental health and substance use workforce, one on cognitive aging, and one on hearing loss in adults. I currently also chair the Board on the Health of Select Populations for the National Academies. 

In the past I have been PI on a number of research projects, including the Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study, and  the Clinical Research Center for Late Life Depression.  More recently I have been involved with five  research projects. The first, the Established Populations for Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly (EPESE), included a study demonstrating that sleep complaints are more frequent in white compared to blacks, even when relevant demographic variables are controlled. In a second study, day-time napping was a significant predictor of mortality. A third study in the Piedmont of North Carolina revealed no difference in utilization or satisfaction with health services when urban elders were compared with rural elders. In a fourth study, self-rated health was not as strong a predictor of mortality, as has been found in previous studies, especially when controlling for important covariates.

A second research endeavor has been with the National Comorbidity Study. I led investigators who demonstrated that the prevalence of major depression is higher than previously estimated in national samples of persons between the ages of eighteen and fifty-five in the community and discussed the methodological issues that may contribute to this differing estimate. The risk-factor profile of pure major depression was compared with comorbid major depression. I will continue in this research during 1994/95 to look at Seasonal Affective Disorders (SAD).

I have also worked with my colleague Litzy Wu ScD in the study of substance use disorders and have published a number of papers related to substance use in the elderly. I also work closely with my colleague Celia Hybels, PhD looking at trajectories of depressive symptoms in older adults over time.

I spent considerable time during 1994/97 working on four books. I co-edited the second edition of Geriatric Psychiatry, to be published in the late winter of 1994 or early spring of 1995. I am working on a single author book, Freud vs. God: The End of the Debate/How Psychiatry Lost Its Soul and Christianity Lost Its Mind and on a research methods textbook for clinical psychiatry research. I have produced a second edition of Emotional Problems in Later Life. Since then our Textbook of Geriatric Psychiatry has gone through three additional editions and I published (based on my work during a sabbatical at the Center for Advanced Studies of Behavioral Sciences at Stanford) The Age of Melancholy (for which I received the Oscar Pfister Award from the American Psychiatric Association).

Education and Training

  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, 1980
  • M.D., University of Tennessee Health Science Center, 1969

Selected Grants

Publications

Thomas, Connie L., Chiping Nieh, Tomoko I. Hooper, Gary D. Gackstetter, Cynthia A. LeardMann, Ben Porter, and Dan G. Blazer. “Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, and Physical Activity Among U.S. Military Service Members in the Millennium Cohort Study.” J Interpers Violence 36, no. 15–16 (August 2021): 7043–66. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260519832904.

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Harshfield, Eric L., Lisa Pennells, Joseph E. Schwartz, Peter Willeit, Stephen Kaptoge, Steven Bell, Jonathan A. Shaffer, et al. “Association Between Depressive Symptoms and Incident Cardiovascular Diseases.” Jama 324, no. 23 (December 15, 2020): 2396–2405. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.23068.

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Blazer, D. G. “Hearing loss and psychiatric disorders.” Hearing Journal 73, no. 11 (November 1, 2020): 6. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.HJ.0000722492.41773.6c.

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Applegate, William B., Christopher C. Colenda, Dan G. Blazer, and Burton V. Reifler. “Feeding the Beast.” J Am Geriatr Soc 68, no. 10 (October 2020): 2205–6. https://doi.org/10.1111/jgs.16753.

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Blazer, Dan G. “Hands On.” Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 28, no. 10 (October 2020): 1126–27. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jagp.2020.06.001.

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Hybels, Celia F., Dan G. Blazer, David E. Eagle, and Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell. “Age differences in trajectories of depressive, anxiety, and burnout symptoms in a population with a high likelihood of persistent occupational distress.” Int Psychogeriatr, September 28, 2020, 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1041610220001751.

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Reynolds, Charles F., and Dan G. Blazer. “Toward a Multidimensional Perspective on Wisdom and Health-An Analogy With Depression Intervention and Neurobiological Research.” Jama Psychiatry 77, no. 9 (September 1, 2020): 895–96. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.0642.

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Colenda, Christopher C., William B. Applegate, Burton V. Reifler, and Dan G. Blazer. “COVID-19: Financial Stress Test for Academic Medical Centers.” Academic Medicine : Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges 95, no. 8 (August 2020): 1143–45. https://doi.org/10.1097/acm.0000000000003418.

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Vahia, Ipsit V., Dan G. Blazer, Gwenn S. Smith, Jordan F. Karp, David C. Steffens, Brent P. Forester, Rajesh Tampi, Marc Agronin, Dilip V. Jeste, and Charles F. Reynolds. “COVID-19, Mental Health and Aging: A Need for New Knowledge to Bridge Science and Service.” Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 28, no. 7 (July 2020): 695–97. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jagp.2020.03.007.

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Blazer, Dan G., and Susan K. Schultz. “Geriatric Psychiatry.” Clin Geriatr Med 36, no. 2 (May 2020): xiii–xv. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cger.2019.11.014.

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