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‘Golden’ Mind-Body Lecturer Links Heart Disease, Depression

karina davidson

Karina Davidson, PhD

Published September 26, 2013

Internationally known researcher Karina Davidson, PhD, an expert on the connection between depression and heart disease, gave the 2013 talk for the Lawrence and Nancy Golden Lectureship on Mind-Body Medicine.

Karina Davidson, PhD, led an NIH-funded study that found treating depression in heart attack patients not only improves outcomes but is cost effective.

She joins a prestigious group of progressive medical professionals who have presented this annual lecture since 2001.

Highlighting Interdisciplinary Interconnections

Davidson’s address, “Depression and Acute Coronary Syndromes: Can Treating Depression Alter the Course of Coronary Artery Disease?” drew from her extensive research and a major, long-term observational study.

She emphasized the interdisciplinary nature of her work as a clinical health psychologist and as a researcher who explores the complex interrelationships between the two diseases.

“There is very clear evidence that [the causal pathway linking depression and heart disease] is likely bidirectional,” she says.

She also discussed ways to build a research career in mind-body medicine at the Sept. 12 lecture.

Author of Globally Recognized Study on Positive Affect

Davidson is a professor of medicine and psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and directs its Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health.

She received international recognition for her 10-year “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” study of positive and negative emotions in coronary heart disease, published in 2010 in the European Heart Journal.

She also led a study funded by the National Institutes of Health that found treating depression in heart attack patients not only improves outcomes but is cost effective.

Lecture Honors Cardiologist-Social Worker Team

The Golden lectureship, hosted by the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, aims to enlighten students and faculty in health-related professions about bio-psycho-social and spiritual models of care.

It is named in memory of Lawrence Golden, MD ’46, a cardiologist who was a UB medical school faculty member, and his widow, Nancy, MSW ’48, a social worker.

They founded Buffalo’s first cardiac rehabilitation program, “Walk and Talk Together,” emphasizing the importance of social support and spirituality in the recovery process.