Helen Kales, M.D.

Helen Kales, M.D.


  • Chair, Department of Psychiatry
  • Professor


To see if Helen Kales is accepting new patients, or for assistance finding a UC Davis doctor, please call 800-2-UCDAVIS (800-282-3284).

Clinical Interests

Dr. Kales is a fellowship-trained, board-certified geriatric psychiatrist. She has special clinical interest in the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.

Research/Academic Interests

As a fellowship-trained, board-certified geriatric psychiatrist, Dr. Kales' research program is directly informed by her clinical work and experiences with patients, families, providers, and systems to diminish the barriers to effective and high quality care for older patients with dementia or with mental health issues.

Dr. Kales has been named to numerous expert panels on dementia care, including the Lancet Global Standing Commission on Dementia Care (2015-present) and the International Psychogeriatrics Association Expert Panel on the management of behavioural and psychological symptoms in people with Alzheimer’s Disease (Co-Chair, 2015-2017). She is recognized as an international expert on dementia care, the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, depression in later life and in pharmacoepidemiological research related to the prevalence and risks of use of antipsychotic and other psychotropic medications in patients with dementia.

Dr. Kales is the creator of the “DICE Approach” to manage the behavioral and functional symptoms of dementia and the “WeCareAdvisor,” a web-based tool for dementia caregivers. She has over 125 peer-reviewed publications and has been continuously federally research funded since 2004.

Dr. Kales is also a tireless mentor who is currently mentoring four junior investigators with career development funding in dementia. 



General Psychiatry
Adult Psychiatry


M.D., University of Rochester, 1992

B.A., Spanish Literature and Language, Bucknell University, 1987

Internship: Psychiatry, University of Michigan, 1992-93


Psychiatry, University of Michigan, 1993-96


Geriatric Psychiatry (Clinical/Research), University of Michigan, 1996-98

Board Certifications

American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology,

American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Geriatric Psychiatry,

Honors and Awards

Lancet expert panel article �Dementia prevention, intervention and care� in the top 25 of the 2018 Altmetric Top 100, 2018,

Selected as an Expert Commissioner for the Lancet Global Standing Panel on Dementia Prevention, Intervention and Care (one of three U.S. physicians), 2016-present,

Research article "Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy with older adults: an exploratory study" one of the most downloaded articles in Routledge Health and Social Care journals, 2014,

Best Doctors in America, 2013-present,

Research article "Risk of mortality among individual antipsychotics in patients with dementia" chosen by Journal Watch Psychiatry as one of 10 Psychiatry Top Stories, 2012,

Selected as a mentor (one of fifteen senior researchers nationally), NIMH Advanced Research Institute in Geriatric Mental Health, 2018-present,

Select Recent Publications

To view a list of Dr. Kales' publications, please visit her PubMed page.