Steven Starks, MD

Geriatric Psychiatrist & Staff Physician, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center

Assistant Professor, Menninger Department of Psychiatry, Department of Neurology, Baylor College of Medicine

Dr. Steven Starks has developed a keen interest in understanding the cultural and social effects of geriatric mental health conditions on the lives of patients and families. He is staff physician at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center where he developed integrated mental health initiatives for the Home Based Primary Care and Community Living Center programs for the effective psychiatric care of older adults. He is Assistant Professor in the Baylor College of Medicine Menninger Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Department of Neurology and faculty at the Baylor College of Medicine Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders Center. He is a diplomate of the American Board and Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc. with Certifications in the Specialty of Psychiatry and the Subspecialty of Geriatric Psychiatry. He is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

Dr. Starks has nurtured his passion for mental health advocacy and community engagement and continues in that regard through his work with the American Psychiatric Association and the Alzheimer’s Association Houston & Southeast Texas Chapter. His professional interests include psychosocial interventions to improve geriatric mental health through caregiver education and support – particularly developing programming approaches that would benefit community caregivers and systems-based practices that could be utilized by long-term care & geriatric residential care organizations.

He completed his undergraduate medical education at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans; he was recognized with the Dean’s Award at commencement. He completed his psychiatry residency training at Baylor College of Medicine Affiliated Hospitals Residency Program and a clinical fellowship in geriatric psychiatry at Yale-New Haven Medical Center.

Why I Applied to be a Fellow

"I have become increasingly attuned to healthcare policy's profound influence on the older adults, families and communities I serve. Modern-day medical care often overlooks the interplay between clinical practice and policy. My education, training and experiences as a geriatric psychiatrist have offered a “frame of practice” i.e. they have shown me how to provide medical care within structured systems of care. However, these opportunities have been unable to offer a broader understanding of these systems and, most importantly, the skills necessary to improve them. The Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program will allow me to reshape health policies that address the challenges our elderly face in receiving comprehensive mental health care – obstacles that include barriers to access, inequities in treatment and inadequate community resources. Through engagement in this program, I hope to shift my efforts at advocacy for geriatric mental health & wellness from guiding individuals to empowering communities. "