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College of Social Work

Keith E. Whitfield, PhD

Keith E. Whitfield, PhD, is the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and a Professor of Psychology at Wayne State University. He received his BA degree in Psychology from the College of Santa Fe and MA and PhD degrees in life span Developmental Psychology from Texas Tech University. He also completed post-doctoral work in quantitative genetics at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He has held positions at McNeese State University, Penn State University, and Duke University. He has been a continuously funded researcher through NIA, NIH, NSF and intramural funding since 1990 with projects totaling more than $15 million in funding.

He has authored or co-authored more than 200 publications including journal articles, books and book chapters. His research, focusing on minority aging, relies on a two-prong model that includes studying individuals as well as family designs. One dimension of this research focuses on individual health disparities and how health conditions influence our memory and cognition.  Much of this work was done in Baltimore MD over a 14-year period and culminated in a longitudinal study of the impact of health and social influences on cognition in West Baltimore, MD.  The other prong of his research examines the impact of genes and environment on individual differences in behavior and health.

Dr. Whitfield has worked with researchers from Sweden, Russia, and the United States to examine how social, psychological, and cultural factors of aging are affected by genetic and environmental influences that impact cognition and health during adulthood and late life.  He has one of the only in-person studies of adult African American twins, which involves examining psychosocial factors related to health among adult African American twins. His current funding is a $3.5 million project funded by the National Institute on Aging to understand the relationship between stress and longevity in African American families.

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