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Julie Hicks Patrick, PhD
Department of Psychology

Dr. Patrick’s interests are broadly in the field of adult development, with a focus on families at mid- and late-life. She has research expertise in cognitive aging, including decision making and memory interventions. Her lab is active in health promotion and health intervention studies. Recent grant-funded projects include studies of physical activity promotion among community-dwelling adults and reproductive health among men and women in treatment for opioid dependence. Our currently-funded projects focus on the effects of awe, as well as developing activities for persons with dementia.

We would welcome new members to join our Healthy Aging Lab! If you are passionate about improving the lives of families across the life span, reach out to a current member of the lab. We are happy to speak with you about studying adult development and aging at the graduate level and the work in our lab. In general, our lab values:

1. Integrations across domains.  This is evident in our broad definition of well-being, which focuses on physical health, emotional functioning, social relationships, spiritual health, sexual well-being, and cognition. Our focus on integrations is also evident in our study of intersections among research topics. For example, our long-standing interests in grandparenting include studies on grandparents raising grandchildren, young adults' views of the importance of their grandparents in their own lives, injury prevention in the homes of grandparents, and the effects on adults who are bereaved of a grandparent. The opioid treatment study also has implications for grandparenting. Finally, our focus on integrations includes valuing a healthy work-life balance for all members of the lab. 

2. Pursuit of knowable truths. That is, we value the scientific method and believe that rigorous and systematic investigation can provide answers to many of the important questions facing families at mid- and late-life. Thus, we are constantly learning new methods and statistics and we disseminate to broad audiences, including the general public, front-line providers, and other researchers. Be sure to check out the range of our methodological sophistication in the link above.

3. Time. We recognize that time is both limited and valuable. Thus, we make strong, strategic goals. We employ Best Practices in our courses and the lab. To support the skill in planning and conducting an efficient meeting, each member heads one lab meeting each semester. In addition to recurring agenda items, one professional development technique and one research technique are presented each meeting. In addition, most students in the lab earn their MS and PhD in a 4-year period. Some choose to extend their studies into a fifth year in order to acquire new skills in the lab and classroom.