The Focus

The perioperative period is a brief, but highly stressful time for older adults with respect to mental health. The average American undergoes 9 surgeries, and most of these occur beyond the age of 60. Older adults are especially prone to depression, anxiety, delirium and delayed neurocognitive recovery. The rising awareness that mental health and cognitive recovery contribute to better health outcomes provides an impetus for integrating brain health care into perioperative care. 

The Center for Perioperative Mental Health allows us to develop a personalized pathway for patient-centered, perioperative geriatric care in order to optimize brain health. There is an urgent need for this initiative given the aging of the population and increasing numbers of surgeries during our lifetimes. 


To address the challenge of perioperative mental health, we need to do two things:

(1) We must bring key stakeholders, leaders, and scientists together to rapidly implement the solutions that are known to work in other clinical settings, but have not been adapted for and tested in perioperative settings, and;

(2) We must develop interventions that meet the needs of our perioperative patient population in order to discover how to prevent the mental health problems that matter most to our surgical patients.

At Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine, and the Goldfarb School of Nursing, we have passionate and accomplished clinicians and researchers who have extensive experience in perioperative brain health and provide diverse opportunities for the training and professional development of more junior researchers. Our overall objective is to advance the science of perioperative mental healthcare and accelerate the implementation of effective innovations into practice.

More information about our research can be found here.