Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship Program


Michael J. Gitlin, MD

Interim Director, Geriatric Division in the Department of Psychiatry

Director of the Adult Division in the Department of Psychiatry
Medical Director of the Neuropsychiatric Behavioral Health Services
Director, Mood Disorders Clinic, UCLA Neuropsychiatric Hospital      

Dr. Gitlin is Distinguished Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine. From 1980 until 2004, he was the Medical Director of the Aftercare Clinic, a research clinic in schizophrenia.  He is the author of over 160 scientific articles and book chapters as well as five books, including: two editions of a solo authored psychopharmacology textbook written for nonphysician therapists entitled “The Psychotherapist’s Guide to Psychopharmacology” published by the Free Press, the coauthor of “Psychotropic Drugs and Women” with Dr. Victoria Hendrick, the coauthor of “Clinician’s Guide to Bipolar Disorder: Integrating Pharmacology with Psychotherapy”, with Dr. David Miklowitz and the coauthor of  “The Essential Guide to Lithium Treatment” with Dr. Michael Bauer. He served as Chief of Staff at the Neuropsychiatric Hospital from 1997-1999. Among his awards are: Distinguished Educator Award in Teaching from the UCLA Department of Psychiatry (1999), Outstanding Housestaff Teaching Award, 1994 and 2008, Teacher of the Year from the Psychiatric Times in 2002; Dadone Clinical Teaching award from the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in 2010; and the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine award from the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in 2010.

Denise Feil, MD, MPH

Program Director, UCLA Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship Training Program

Health Sciences Clinical Professor, UCLA School of Medicine
UCLA School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry

Dr. Feil is a board-certified geriatric psychiatrist and UCLA Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship Program Director since July 2022. She received an MD(CM) at the McGill Faculty of Medicine in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1995, followed by an  Adult Psychiatry Residency at Harbor-UCLA and  Fellowship in Geriatric Psychiatry at UCLA in 2000. Dr. Feil is a former recipient of a VA Health Services Research Career Development Award, a QUERI (Quality Enhancement Research Initiative) grant on diabetes and cognition, and currently, Site Principal              Investigator for a national VA clinical trial on Parkinson’s disease psychosis. Dr. Feil lectures on movement disorders psychiatry and behavioral disturbances associated with cognitive disorders.  Dr. Feil is passionate about teaching and training Residents and Fellows to provide evidence-based clinical care for older, frail patients.


Helen Lavretsky, MD, MS

Professor of Psychiatry In-Residence, UCLA School of Medicine
President, American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry

Director, Late-life mood, stress, and wellness research program
Director, Integrative Psychiatry 

Dr. Helen Lavretsky is a board-certified geriatric psychiatrist and integrative psychiatrist with a federally funded research program in geriatric and integrative mental health (NIMH, PCORI, DOD, and NCCIH) using mind-body interventions. She is a recipient of a Career Development award from NIMH and the NCCIH, and other prestigious research awards. She is the Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, and the Fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and the recipient of the Distinguished Investigator awards for research in geriatric psychiatry from the American College of Psychiatrists and the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. Dr. Lavretsky directs the Late-life mood, stress and wellness research program, the Integrative Psychiatry clinic, and the Post-COVID Psychiatry clinic. She is the President of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry.

Aaron Kaufman, MD

Health Sciences Clinical Professor, UCLA School of Medicine
Director, UCLA Geriatric Psychiatry Evaluation Clinic
Associate Medical Director of the Electroconvulsive Therapy Program

Dr. Kaufman is a board-certified geriatric psychiatrist in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA. He graduated from the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, then an Adult Psychiatry Residency and Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship at UCLA in 2007. He serves as an Attending Physician on the geriatric psychiatry inpatient unit at the UCLA Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital, where he leads a multidisciplinary team including medical students, resident physicians, nursing staff, social work and occupational therapy dedicated to managing the acute psychiatric care needs of severely ill older adults.

Dr. Kaufman has served as the Director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Evaluation Clinic since 2007. He is also the at UCLA. Dr. Kaufman also co-directs the popular Geriatric Psychiatry Forensic Intensive course. Dr. Kaufman’s areas of interest include the assessment and management of major neurocognitive disorders, mood disorders and substance use disorders.

Pauline Wu, DO

Health Sciences Clinical Professor, UCLA School of Medicine
Associate Medical Director of Geriatric Psychiatry, Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA

Dr. Wu is a board-certified geriatric psychiatrist and clinician educator in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA. She completed her Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship at UCLA in 2012. She specializes in the care of older adults with memory and mood disorders. Her research interest focuses on the treatment of neuropsychiatric symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias. She enjoys training residents and fellows in their professional development and oversees the educational curriculum for the UCLA Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship.

Brandon C. Yarns, MD, MS

Health Sciences Associate Clinical Professor, UCLA School of Medicine

Dr. Yarns is a board-certified geriatric psychiatrist who completed his Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship at Yale School of Medicine in 2016, and then received health services research training in the inaugural class of the UCLA National Clinicians Scholars Program. He specializes in Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP)and received a prestigious VA Career Development Award to study an ISTDP-informed manualized psychological intervention, Emotional Awareness and Expression Therapy (EAET), for older veterans with chronic pain. Dr. Yarns specializes in research, education, and clinical care related to chronic pain, aging, and psychotherapy (ISTDP and EAET). The ISTDP Clinic is an elective currently available to PGY-3 and PGY-4 Psychiatry Residents and Fellows.

  1. Yarns BC, Zhu TA, Najafian Jazi A. Chronic Pain in Older Adults: A Neuroscience-Based Psychological Assessment and Treatment Approach. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 2022 Dec; 30(12): 1342-1350.
  2. Yarns BC, Molaie A, Zhu AT, Jazi AN, Boyd J, Alas A, Melrose R. Video Telehealth Emotional Awareness and Expression Therapy for Older U.S. Military Veterans with Chronic Pain: A Pilot Study. Clinical Gerontologist, 2022 Dec; doi: 10.1080/07317115.2022.2159909.
  3. Yarns BC, Lumley MA, Cassidy JT, Osato S, Schubiner H, Sultzer DL. Emotional Awareness and Expression Therapy (EAET) Achieves Greater Pain Reduction than Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in Older Adults with Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain: A Preliminary Randomized Comparison Trial. Pain Medicine 2020 Nov 1; 21(11): 2811-22.

Sarah A. Nguyen, MD

Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor, UCLA School of Medicine
Director of Residency Mentorship and Professional Development

Dr. Nguyen is a board-certified geriatric psychiatrist, clinician educator, and Associate Director of the Integrative Psychiatry Clinic in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA.  She completed her Adult Psychiatry Residency at Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center in New York in 2016 and Fellowship in Geriatric Psychiatry at Yale University in 2017.  She was selected for the David Geffen School of Medicine Medical Education Fellowship and completed the two-year fellowship in Innovations in Curriculum Design and Teaching Excellence and Medical Education Scholarship.  Dr. Nguyen loves teaching and mentoring medical students, residents, and fellows and has received multiple awards for her outstanding work, including the Outstanding Medical Student Teaching, the Clinical Attending Teaching Award, and a Kindness Award.  Her clinical interests include mood, anxiety, and cognitive disorders in adults and older adults, psychodynamic psychotherapy, and family systems therapy. Her research focuses on using integrative interventions for mood and cognitive disorders in adults of all ages.

  1. Nguyen SA, Oughli HA, Lavretsky H. Complementary and Integrative Medicine for Neurocognitive Disorders and Caregiver Health.. Current psychiatry reports, 2022.
  2. Nguyen SA, Lavretsky H. Morning caregiver activity and depression.. International psychogeriatrics, 2022.

Jason Jalil, MD

Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor, UCLA School of Medicine
Director, UCLA Longevity Center Memory Lifestyle Program

Dr. Jalil is a board-certified geriatric psychiatrist in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA. Dr. Jalil treats general adult and older patients in both inpatient and outpatient settings and teaches and supervises medical students, residents, fellows, and nurse practitioners. Dr Jalil also collaborates on research projects related to dementia , other memory disorders and late-life depression.  He is a member of the University’s Physician Wellness Committee, where he specializes in the evaluation of physicians with functional, cognitive or emotional impairments. Dr. Jalil completed his residency in Psychiatry in 2016 and fellowship in Geriatric Psychiatry in 2017 at UCLA where he also served as program chief resident in his PGY-4 year.

  1. Jalil J, Nazarian P, von Walter H. Polypharmacy in Treatment of Behavioral Issues in Dementia – Use of Atypical Antipsychotics. Clinics in Geriatric Medicine, Volume 38; Issue 4. November 2022.
  1. Jalil, J., Volle, D., Zhu, T., Sassounian, M. (2023). “Depression, Anxiety, and Other Mood Disorders.” In: Wasserman, M.R., Bakerjian, D., Linnebur, S., et al. (eds) Geriatric Medicine: A Person-Centered Evidence Based Approach. Springer, Cham.
  2. Chen ST, Volle D, Jalil J, Wu P, Small GW. Health-Promoting Strategies in the Aging Brain. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 2019; 27:213-236

Alessia Tognolini, M.D.

HS Clinical Instructor, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Dr. Tognolini is a board-certified geriatric psychiatrist who received her MD at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery in Verona, Italy, followed by a Radiology Residency. She completed her Psychiatry Residency at UCLA-San Fernando Valley, and  Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship at UCLA, Los Angeles in 2019. Dr. Tognolini leads multiple training and educational activities at the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare Center, including training supervisor for the Movement Disorders psychiatry program (PADRECC), the popular “Monday Morning Journal Seminar” and the Geriatric Psychiatry E-consultation Service.  In addition, Dr. Tognolini provides consultation to the  Sepulveda  VA long-term care and inpatient hospice unit and an interdisciplinary , virtual cognitive assessment service. Dr. Tognolini is passionate about  the multi-disciplinary and collaborative team approach to the care of medically and psychiatrically complex older adults in different care settings.

Hans F. von Walter, M.D.

Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor, UCLA School of Medicine

Dr. von Walter is a board-certified geriatric psychiatrist specializing in cognitive disorders, psychopharmacology, and inpatient mental health. He contributes to clinical education for residents and fellows. He completed his medical degree and psychiatry residency at Loma Linda University and  Fellowship in Geriatric Psychiatry from UCLA in 2021.  He serves as the Section Chief for Geriatric Mental Health at the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare Center. In addition to his interests in the field of geriatric psychiatry, Dr. von Walter is an avid connoisseur of all-things trivia and quizzing, having appeared on eight game shows in his lifetime (so far), and counts among his hobbies board games, movies, The Oscars, and playing with Oscar, his beautifully fluffy ragamuffin cat.