Avron S. Spiro, PhD

Research Professor, Epidemiology

Avron Spiro


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. From 1993 – 2018, Dr. Spiro 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 there focused 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 appointed as Research Professor of Psychiatry at BU School of Medicine. 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 from 2013 to 2020 was funded as a Senior Research Career Scientist. Dr. Spiro has been funded by NIH and VA. 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 Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine
  • VA Boston Healthcare System


  • Pennsylvania State University, PhD


  • Published on 4/1/2024

    Marino VR, Trudel-Fitzgerald C, Aldwin CM, Spiro A, Lee LO. The Costs of Coping: Long-Term Mortality Risk in Aging Men. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2024 Apr 01; 79(4). PMID: 38501168.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/2/2024

    Pless Kaiser A, Daks JS, Korsun L, Heintz H, Moye J, Sloan DM, Cook JM, Vogt D, Spiro A. Enhancing social functioning in older veterans with PTSD: Rationale and design of an intervention and initial RCT. Contemp Clin Trials. 2024 Apr; 139:107485. PMID: 38432471.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/24/2023

    Atherton OE, Graham EK, Dorame AN, Horgan D, Luo J, Nevarez MD, Ferrie JP, Spiro A, Schulz MS, Waldinger RJ, Mroczek DK, Lee LO. Is there intergenerational continuity in early life experiences? Findings from the Harvard Study of Adult Development. J Fam Psychol. 2023 Dec; 37(8):1123-1136. PMID: 37616090.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 7/15/2023

    Prince N, Stav M, Cote M, Chu SH, Vyas CM, Okereke OI, Palacios N, Litonjua AA, Vokonas P, Sparrow D, Spiro A, Lasky-Su JA, Kelly RS. Metabolomics and Self-Reported Depression, Anxiety, and Phobic Symptoms in the VA Normative Aging Study. Metabolites. 2023 Jul 15; 13(7). PMID: 37512558.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 6/19/2023

    Willroth EC, Luo J, Atherton OE, Weston SJ, Drewelies J, Batterham PJ, Condon DM, Gerstorf D, Huisman M, Spiro A, Mroczek DK, Graham EK. Personality traits and health care use: A coordinated analysis of 15 international samples. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2023 Sep; 125(3):629-648. PMID: 37338439.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 5/24/2023

    Shen Y, Kioumourtzoglou MA, Wu H, Vokonas P, Spiro A, Navas-Acien A, Baccarelli AA, Gao F. Cohort Network: A Knowledge Graph toward Data Dissemination and Knowledge-Driven Discovery for Cohort Studies. Environ Sci Technol. 2023 Jun 06; 57(22):8236-8244. PMID: 37224396.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/10/2022

    Quach LT, Pedersen MM, Ogawa E, Ward RE, Gagnon DR, Spiro A, Burr JA, Driver JA, Gaziano M, Dhand A, Bean JF. Mild Neurocognitive Disorder, Social Engagement, and Falls Among Older Primary Care Patients. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2023 Apr; 104(4):541-546. PMID: 36513122.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 10/23/2022

    Qiu X, Wei Y, Weisskopf M, Spiro A, Shi L, Castro E, Coull B, Koutrakis P, Schwartz J. Air pollution, climate conditions and risk of hospital admissions for psychotic disorders in U.S. residents. Environ Res. 2023 Jan 01; 216(Pt 2):114636. PMID: 36283440.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 10/3/2022

    Wang C, DeMeo DL, Kim ES, Cardenas A, Fong KC, Lee LO, Spiro A, Whitsel EA, Horvath S, Hou L, Baccarelli AA, Li Y, Stewart JD, Manson JE, Grodstein F, Kubzansky LD, Schwartz JD. Epigenome-Wide Analysis of DNA Methylation and Optimism in Women and Men. Psychosom Med. 2023 01 01; 85(1):89-97. PMID: 36201768.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/6/2022

    Comfort N, Wu H, De Hoff P, Vuppala A, Vokonas PS, Spiro A, Weisskopf M, Coull BA, Laurent LC, Baccarelli AA, Schwartz J. Extracellular microRNA and cognitive function in a prospective cohort of older men: The Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study. Aging (Albany NY). 2022 Sep 06; 14(17):6859-6886. PMID: 36069796.

    Read at: PubMed

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