Dr. Byers is Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences with a joint appointment in the Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics. She is an epidemiologist with a background in aging research, methods, and biostatistics. Her research focuses on the epidemiology of late-life mental health and employs advanced epidemiological and biostatistical techniques to determine the incidence, prevalence, risk factors, and outcomes of late-life mental health disorders with the objective of reducing the burden of these disorders by informing long-term clinical care. Dr. Byers has been heavily involved in research to determine nationally representative estimates of psychiatric disorders and health care utilization among older community-dwelling adults. As a clinical epidemiologist studying geropsychiatry with an expertise in mathematical epidemiology, Dr. Byers is involved in the application of advanced methodology to address complex clinical questions at the intersection of physical and mental health in aging adults.
Dr. Byers has been funded by several agencies, including NIH (i.e., NIMH, NIA, and NIMHD), Department of Defense, and VA. She is PI of the first VA R01-level grant longitudinally investigating suicide and suicidal behavior at a national level in older U.S. Veterans. Dr. Byers’ NIH-funded research program currently focuses on suicide and suicide-related outcomes and prevalence and incidence of dementia among older Veterans and individuals reentering the community from incarceration. Leveraging national databases, Dr. Byers has built large longitudinal cohorts to study how complex and salient risk factors, such as comorbidities, polypharmacy, and history of incarceration, contribute to late-life suicide and related disorders and will lead to targeted late-life risk assessment tools. Dr. Byers has been awarded a Genius Award from UCSF’s Older Americans Independence Center to provide innovative methodologic advancements to estimate associations of suicide risk linked to specific medications.