Sarah M. Szymkowicz, PhD, ABPP

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Division of Psychology

Sarah M. Szymkowicz, PhD, ABPP, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She earned her PhD in Clinical & Health Psychology from the University of Florida and completed her clinical psychology / neuropsychology internship at the Tampa VA and postdoctoral residency / fellowship in Clinical Neuropsychology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Dr. Szymkowicz is board certified in clinical neuropsychology through the American Board of Professional Psychology.

Dr. Szymkowicz is currently the faculty advisor for the Association of Neuropsychology Students in Training (ANST) Aging Focus Group and was a previous Early Career Psychologist Leadership Development Fellow for the Tennessee Psychological Association (TPA).

Clinical Interests

Dr. Szymkowicz sees referrals for outpatient adult and geriatric neuropsychological evaluations for a range of neurological, psychiatric, and medical conditions. She has special interests in depression, memory and movement disorders, multiple sclerosis, and cognitive functioning in the context of complex medical conditions (including end-stage organ failure).

Research Information

Dr. Szymkowicz investigates the underlying cognitive and neural correlates of emotion processing and neuropsychiatric symptoms in healthy aging and neuropsychiatric conditions (such as late-life depression and Parkinson's disease).

Her current work focuses on using non-pharmacological approaches to improve cognition in late-life depression. See

For a list of publications, please see:

Representative Publications

Szymkowicz, S. M.*, Gerlach, A. R.*, Homiack, D., & Taylor, W. D. (2023). Biological factors influencing depression in later life: Role of aging processes and treatment implications. Translational Psychiatry, 13, 160. doi: 10.1038/s41398-023-02464-9. *Denotes co-first authors.

Szymkowicz, S. M., Ryan, C., Elson, D. M., Kang, H., & Taylor, W. D. (2023). Cognitive phenotypes in late-life depression. International Psychogeriatrics, 35(4), 193-205. doi: 10.1017/S1041610222000515.

Szymkowicz, S. M., Taylor, W. D., & Woods, A. J. (2022). Augmenting cognitive training with bifrontal tDCS decreases subclinical depressive symptoms in older adults: Preliminary findings. Brain Stimulation, 15, 1037-1039. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2022.07.05.

Szymkowicz, S. M., Jones, J. D., Timblin, H., Ryczek, C. A., Taylor, W. D., & May, P. E. (2022). Apathy as a within-person mediator of depressive symptoms and cognition in Parkinson’s disease: Longitudinal mediation analyses. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 30(6), 664-674. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2021.11.007.