Avron S. Spiro, PhD

Research Professor, Epidemiology

Avron Spiro
150 S Huntington Avenue


Dr. Avron (Ron) Spiro received his PhD in Human Development and Family Studies in 1982 from The Pennsylvania State University, specializing in adult development and aging and in developmental methodology. In 1986, he joined the VA Normative Aging Study (NAS), then at the Boston VA Outpatient Clinic, as a research psychologist and methodologist. In that position, he has studied the influences of health and disease on cognitive aging, and conducted longitudinal studies of personality, well-being, and mental health. He also works with the VA Dental Longitudinal Study (DLS), an ongoing study of dental health among NAS men. In 1998, the VA funded the Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology Research and Information Center (MAVERIC), which incorporated the NAS/DLS, now located at VA Boston Healthcare System in Jamaica Plain. Since 1993, Dr. Spiro has collaborated with researchers at the VA HSR&D Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research (CHOIR; formerly the Center for Health Quality, Outcomes, and Economic Research [CHQOER]). His work here focuses primarily on mental health, including PTSD and depression, and on patient-reported outcomes, including health-related quality of life. In 1987, Dr. Spiro was appointed Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Boston University School of Public Health, promoted to Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology in 2004, and to Research Professor in 2011. In 2011, Dr. Spiro was also appointed as Research Professor of Psychiatry at BU School of Medcine. Since 2001, he has been Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Health Services Research at BU’s Goldman School of Dental Medicine. In 2008, he received a Research Career Scientist award from the Clinical Science R&D Service of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and in 2013 was awarded a Senior Research Career Scientist award. Dr. Spiro has been funded by NIH and VA. Currently, he is PI of an NIH grant on Lifespan Outcomes of Military Service, and is co-investigator on several projects funded by NIH and VA studying health, personality, cognition and aging. His current work involves (a) examining the effects of health and disease on cognitive aging, (b) modeling longitudinal changes in personality in relation to health, (c) examining the long-term effects of military service on health and well-being in later life, and (d) studying mental disorders and their impact on health and functioning.

Other Positions

  • Associate Professor, Health Policy & Health Svcs Research, Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine
  • Research Professor, Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine
  • VA Boston Healthcare System


  • Pennsylvania State University, PhD


  • Published on 11/18/2021

    Clouston SAP, Hall CB, Kritikos M, Bennett DA, DeKosky S, Edwards J, Finch C, Kreisl WC, Mielke M, Peskind ER, Raskind M, Richards M, Sloan RP, Spiro A, Vasdev N, Brackbill R, Farfel M, Horton M, Lowe S, Lucchini RG, Prezant D, Reibman J, Rosen R, Seil K, Zeig-Owens R, Deri Y, Diminich ED, Fausto BA, Gandy S, Sano M, Bromet EJ, Luft BJ. Cognitive impairment and World Trade Centre-related exposures. Nat Rev Neurol. 2021 Nov 18. PMID: 34795448.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 5/3/2021

    Gao X, Coull B, Lin X, Vokonas P, Spiro A, Hou L, Schwartz J, Baccarelli AA. Short-term air pollution, cognitive performance, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use in the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study. Nat Aging. 2021 May; 1(5):430-437. PMID: 34841262.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/29/2021

    Quach LT, Cho K, Driver JA, Ward R, Spiro A, Dugan E, Gaziano MJ, Djousse L, Rudolph JL, Gagnon DR. Social Characteristics, Health, and Mortality Among Male Centenarians Using Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care. Res Aging. 2021 Mar 29; 1640275211000724. PMID: 33779393.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/18/2021

    Zammit AR, Piccinin AM, Duggan EC, Koval A, Clouston S, Robitaille A, Brown CL, Handschuh P, Wu C, Jarry V, Finkel D, Graham RB, Muniz-Terrera G, Praetorius Björk M, Bennett D, Deeg DJ, Johansson B, Katz MJ, Kaye J, Lipton RB, Martin M, Pederson NL, Spiro A, Zimprich D, Hofer SM. A Coordinated Multi-study Analysis of the Longitudinal Association Between Handgrip Strength and Cognitive Function in Older Adults. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2021 01 18; 76(2):229-241. PMID: 31187137.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/14/2021

    Daniels RD, Clouston SAP, Hall CB, Anderson KR, Bennett DA, Bromet EJ, Calvert GM, Carreón T, DeKosky ST, Diminich ED, Finch CE, Gandy S, Kreisl WC, Kritikos M, Kubale TL, Mielke MM, Peskind ER, Raskind MA, Richards M, Sano M, Santiago-Colón A, Sloan RP, Spiro A, Vasdev N, Luft BJ, Reissman DB. A Workshop on Cognitive Aging and Impairment in the 9/11-Exposed Population. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 01 14; 18(2). PMID: 33466931.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/2/2020

    Lindert J, Lee LO, Weisskopf MG, McKee M, Sehner S, Spiro A. Threats to Belonging-Stressful Life Events and Mental Health Symptoms in Aging Men-A Longitudinal Cohort Study. Front Psychiatry. 2020; 11:575979. PMID: 33424657.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 11/15/2020

    Davison, E.H., Spiro, A. III, & Pless Kaiser, A. The reemergence of trauma in aging U.S. military veterans: Engaging with the past. Trauma und Gewalt. 2020; 14(4):304-319.

    Read at: Custom
  • Published on 11/10/2020

    Yang MS, Quach L, Lee LO, Spiro A, Burr JA. Subjective well-being among male veterans in later life: the enduring effects of early life adversity. Aging Ment Health. 2022 Jan; 26(1):107-115. PMID: 33170037.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 10/16/2020

    Vonk JMJ, Higby E, Nikolaev A, Cahana-Amitay D, Spiro A, Albert ML, Obler LK. Demographic Effects on Longitudinal Semantic Processing, Working Memory, and Cognitive Speed. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2020 10 16; 75(9):1850-1862. PMID: 32609841.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/1/2020

    Scioli ER, Smith BN, Whitworth JW, Spiro A, Esterman M, Dutra S, Bogdan KM, Eld A, Rasmusson AM. Moderated mediation for exercise maintenance in pain and posttraumatic stress disorder: A randomized trial. Health Psychol. 2020 Sep; 39(9):826-840. PMID: 32833484.

    Read at: PubMed

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