Wayne State University

Aim Higher

Peter Lichtenberg

Photo for Peter Lichtenberg
Director, Institute of Gerontology and Professor of Psychology
Office Location
226 Knapp
Office Phone
Bio Sketch

Peter A. Lichtenberg, Ph.D. is the Director of both the Institute of Gerontology and the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute and the Founding Director of the Wayne State University Lifespan Alliance. Dr. Lichtenberg is also a Professor of Psychology and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He is a clinical psychologist and obtained his Ph.D. at Purdue University in 1986 and completed post doctoral training in geriatric neuropsychology from the University of Virginia. Dr. Lichtenberg received his diplomate in Rehabilitation Psychology in 1997. Dr.Lichtenberg has been at Wayne State University since 1991 first as the Associate Director of Psychology at the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan and since 1998 as the Director of the Institute of Gerontology.

Dr. Lichtenberg is a national expert in financial capacity assessment and financial exploitation of older adults. He has published articles on psychological vulnerability and fraud and on his new instrument the Lichtenberg Financial Decision Making Rating Scale. He is currently engaged with colleagues from multiple disciplines in examining the validity of his new scale, a screening scale and an informant scale. He has conducted independent medical evaluations and expert witness work over 75 times in the past 10 years on issues related to older adults and capacity.

Dr. Lichtenberg is the author of six books including the acclaimed Handbook of Assessment in Clinical Gerontology (2nd edition), Handbook of Dementia (2003), Mental Health Practice in Geriatric Health Care Settings (1998) and A Guide to psychological Practice in Geriatric Long Term Care (1994). He has authored or co-authored over 150 peer review journal articles. His particular areas of research include mental health in long term care, geriatric depression, geriatric psychology and medical rehabilitation and the early detection and management of Alzheimer's Disease. Emerging research includes financial decision making, Perceived Cognitive Impairment,  victims of fraud and kinship care.

Dr. Lichtenberg has been awarded many distinctions including the 1996 Early Career Award in Rehabilitation Psychology, Fellowship in the Gerontological Society of America and the American Psychological Association, the Outstanding Contribution Award for Psychologists in Long Term Care, and both the 2001 Distinguished Faculty Award and Outstanding Mentor Award at Wayne State University. In 2002, he was the first educator to be given the Alzheimer's Advocate Award. In 2004, on behalf of the IOG, he accepted community honors from the Area Agency on Aging 1C and Wayne County. In 2006 he was awarded the Harry Kelly Award for outstanding leadership in Gerontology. In 2009 he was awarded the Anthony DeVito award from the University of Michigan and given a Citation for Outstanding work with the Dementia Coalition of Michigan from the Michigan Governor. In 2011 he was awarded the John Santos award for outstanding program achievements from the APA Division of Adult Development and Aging. In 2012 the APA Committee on Aging awarded him the Advancement of Psychology and Aging Award, in 2013 the Elder Law of Michigan Association awarded him a Call to Justice Leadership Award and in 2014 the Sandra Reminga Lifetime Achievement Award from the Area Agency on Aging 1-B

Dr. Lichtenberg became the Director of the Institute of Gerontology in 1999. He has helped lead the Institute to record levels of research funding, and created and oversees a community engagement and outreach program second to none in the nation. 

Nationally and locally Dr. Lichtenberg has served on many community boards and held office in several professional organizations including Chair of Michigan Dementia Coalition 1999-2010. Dr. Lichtenberg was the Chair of the Behavioral and Social Sciences Section of the Gerontological Society of America (2007), Chair of the APA Committee on Aging (2008) and a member of the APA Presidential Task Force on Integrated Care for an Aging Population, and President of the Adult Development and Aging Section of the American Psychological Association in 2010. Dr. Lichtenberg currently serves on the Board of Directors to create a specialty in Geropsychology (ABPP).

Research Focus

Financial decision making, financial exploitation and financial capacity in older adults. Neurocognitive impairment, late life depression and impacts on quality of life and longevity

Areas of Expertise

A specialist in both Rehabilitation Psychology and Clinical Geropsychology. Post-doctorally trained Geriatric Neuropsychologist.


Southeast Michigan Partners Against Cancer, funded by the the National Cancer Institute, (Albrecht, PI) PL (Co-l): Head. Training and mentoring core. 2010-2015, $4,096,000.

Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research, funded by National Institute on Aging and National Institute of Nursing Research, 1997-2017 $12,500,000 (Co-Director, and WSU PI) 

Professional Service


  • Chair, Behavioral and Social Sciences Section of GSA (2007)
  • Chair, APA Committee on Aging (2008)
  • Member, APA Presidential task force on Integrated Care for an Aging Population (2007)
  • President, APA Division of Adult Development and Aging (2010)
  • Board of Directors, Clinical Geropsychology specialty board (2012-)
Honors and Awards
  • Elder Law of Michigan Call to Justice Leadership Award 2013
  • APA Committee on Aging Advancement in Psychology and Aging Award 2012
  • John Santos Award for Sustained excellence in Geriatric Programming, American Psychological Association Division on Adult Development and Aging 2011
  • Anthony DeVito Award for Excellence in Geriatric Education-University of Michigan 2009
  • State of Michigan Special Tribute for 10 years of extraordinary service as Chair, Michigan Dementia Coalition 2009
  • Spirit of Collaboration Award from Michigan Cancer Society (with Teri Albrecht, Ph.D.)
  • Michigan Society for Gerontology, Harry J. Kelly Award 2006
  • Michigan Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's Advocate Award 2002
  • Wayne State University Graduate School, Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award, 2001
  • Wayne State University Graduate School, Outstanding Mentor Award, 2001
  • Psychologists in Long Term Care, Outstanding Leadership and Dedication Award, 2000
  • Fellow, American Psychological Association, 1999
  • Diplomate, American Board of Professional Psychology, 1997
  • Fellow, Gerontological Society of America, 1997
  • James Garrett Early Career Award, 1996




Lichtenberg, P.A. (2010) Handbook of Assessment in Clinical Gerontology
(2nd edition) Elsevier.

Lichtenberg, P.A. , Murman, D.L., Mellow, A.M.(2003). Handbook of Dementia: Psychological, Neurological and Psychiatric Perspectives. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Lichtenberg, P.A. (1999). Handbook of Assessment in Clinical Gerontology.
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Lichtenberg, P.A. (1999). Depression in Geriatric Medical and Nursing Home Patients, A Treatment Manual. Wayne State University Press.

Lichtenberg, P.A.(1998). Mental Health Practice in Geriatric Healthcare Settings. Haworth Press: New York.

Lichtenberg, P.A. (1994). A Guide to Psychological Practice in Geriatric Long Term Care. Haworth Press: New York.

Recent Articles

Tiernan, C., Lysack, C., Neufeld, S., & Lichtenberg, P. (2013) Community engagement: An essential component of well-being in older African-American adults. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 77(3), 233-257. PMCID: PMC4148077

���������� Ficker, L.J., Lysack, C.L., Hanna, M., & Lichtenberg, P.A. (2014). Perceived cognitive impairment among African American elders: Health and functional impairments in daily life. Journal of Aging and Mental Health, 18(4), 471-480. PMCID: PMC4151047

��������� Lichtenberg, P., Stoltman, J., Ficker, L., Iris, M., & Mast, B. (In Press). A person-centered approach to financial capacity assessment: Preliminary development of a new rating scale. Clinical Gerontologist. PMCID to be released.

Manning, M., Bollig-Fischer, Berry Bobovski, L., Lichtenberg, P., Chapman, R. & Albrecht, T.L. (in press). Modeling the sustainability of community health networks: novel approaches for analyzing collaborative organization partnerships across time. Translational Behavoral Medicine.

�� Lichtenberg, P.A. (2014). Sexuality and physical intimacy in long term care. Occupational Therapy in Health Care, 28, 42-51.