Karen Saperson

Geriatric Psychiatry 

Message from Division Lead, Karen Saperson

The Division of Geriatric Psychiatry at McMaster University has a strong commitment to education, research, and scholarly clinical activity. We have structured our division’s academic activities using the department’s equity, innovation, and partnership framework to promote learning and new knowledge dissemination aimed at improving the quality of life for older adults and families living with mental illness.

Overview of Division

Innovation and creativity in education are at the heart of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry’s academic activity, and integrated into all our initiatives at the undergraduate, postgraduate and interprofessional levels. The division has established innovative, interprofessional clinical teaching units within our model of providing evidence-informed, team-based, and patient-centred mental health care. Our division members serve over 200,000 seniors within the catchment of St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton West 5th seniors’ mental health service.

Faculty Directory


Our students learn in a variety of settings including inpatient, outpatient, outreach and telemedicine to urban as well as remote and underserviced areas, providing for a rich and stimulating clinical experience.

Key initiatives and Partnerships

The major scholarly activities of the division are contained within the robust and diverse education and knowledge translation activities which serve to ensure the integration of education into scholarly clinical activity.

Collaborative research activities have resulted in strong partnerships with other institutions and departments, such as the Canadian Association of Mental Health (CAMH-McMaster) collaborative care initiative for mental health risk factors in dementia project examining the integration of care pathways into primary care to prevent cognitive impairment in older adults and initiatives to improve quality of life for older adults living with dementia and chronic health conditions.

A division member has developed and established a new integrated mental health program within the Regional Cancer Centre, measuring response to interventions and mental health outcomes for older adults with cancer.

Our faculty have developed unique and innovative education and knowledge translation initiatives, including:

  • A novel interdisciplinary geriatric clinical pharmacology and psychiatry consultation and education service called GeriMedRisk, co-developed by a division member. This initiative utilizes telemedicine to provide timely evidence-informed expertise to clinicians across Ontario and serves to build capacity for the interprofessional workforce through virtual education sessions.
  • An academic writing scholarship program for residents and a robust subspecialty online curriculum.  
  • An innovative wellness curriculum with both online and experiential components for residents from all disciplines. Our division members have been national leaders in the creation, implementation and disseminations of this wellness curriculum.  
  • Mandatory training in ECT for residents, with interactive online modules to supplement the hands-on training.


Much of our research is embedded within clinical activities and focuses on improving quality of care and enhancing quality of life for older adults with mental illness. Our faculty members play leading roles in local, provincial, and national initiatives such as the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Canada’s first national dementia strategy, the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging, the Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry, the Provincial Geriatrics Leadership Office, and the Regional Geriatric Program of Toronto.

Contact Us

We invite you to learn more about the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry and the opportunities that are available at McMaster University. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

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