Avron S. Spiro, PhD

Research Professor, Epidemiology
(857) 364-2888aspiro3@bu.edu
VAMC Boston – 13C-16
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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 2/1/2020

    Smith BN, Spiro A, Frayne SM, Kimerling R, Cypel Y, Reinhard MJ, Kilbourne AM, Magruder KM. Impact of Wartime Stress Exposures and Mental Health on Later-Life Functioning and Disability in Vietnam-Era Women Veterans: Findings From the Health of Vietnam-Era Women's Study. Psychosom Med. 2020 Feb/Mar; 82(2):147-157. PMID: 31714370.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 10/4/2019

    Duggan EC, Piccinin AM, Clouston S, Koval AV, Robitaille A, Zammit AR, Wu C, Brown CL, Lee LO, Finkel D, Beasley WH, Kaye J, Terrera GM, Katz M, Lipton RB, Deeg D, Bennett DA, Praetorius Björk M, Johansson B, Spiro A, Weuve J, Hofer SM. A Multi-study Coordinated Meta-analysis of Pulmonary Function and Cognition in Aging. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2019 Oct 04; 74(11):1793-1804. PMID: 30825374.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/16/2019

    Lee LO, Aldwin CM, Kubzansky LD, Mroczek DK, Spiro A. The long arm of childhood experiences on longevity: Testing midlife vulnerability and resilience pathways. Psychol Aging. 2019 Nov; 34(7):884-899. PMID: 31524422.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/10/2019

    Schmidt EM, Magruder K, Kilbourne AM, Stock EM, Cypel Y, El Burai Félix S, Serpi T, Kimerling R, Cohen B, Spiro A, Furey J, Huang GD, Frayne SM. Four Decades after War: Incident Diabetes among Women Vietnam-Era Veterans in the HealthViEWS Study. Womens Health Issues. 2019 Nov - Dec; 29(6):471-479. PMID: 31519465.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/6/2019

    Clouston SAP, Diminich ED, Kotov R, Pietrzak RH, Richards M, Spiro A, Deri Y, Carr M, Yang X, Gandy S, Sano M, Bromet EJ, Luft BJ. Incidence of mild cognitive impairment in World Trade Center responders: Long-term consequences of re-experiencing the events on 9/11/2001. Alzheimers Dement (Amst). 2019 Dec; 11:628-636. PMID: 31517025.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/26/2019

    Lee LO, James P, Zevon ES, Kim ES, Trudel-Fitzgerald C, Spiro A, Grodstein F, Kubzansky LD. Optimism is associated with exceptional longevity in 2 epidemiologic cohorts of men and women. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 09 10; 116(37):18357-18362. PMID: 31451635.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 7/18/2019

    Kim ES, Fong K, Lee L, Spiro A, Schwartz J, Whitsel E, Horvath S, Wang C, Hou L, Baccarelli AA, Li Y, Stewart J, Manson JE, Grodstein F, DeMeo DL, Kubzansky LD. Optimism is not associated with two indicators of DNA methylation aging. Aging (Albany NY). 2019 07 18; 11(14):4970-4989. PMID: 31322503.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 6/20/2019

    Higby E, Cahana-Amitay D, Vogel-Eyny A, Spiro A, Albert ML, Obler LK. The Role of Executive Functions in Object- and Action-Naming among Older Adults. Exp Aging Res. 2019 Jul-Sep; 45(4):306-330. PMID: 31216948.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 6/11/2019

    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, Björk MP, 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. 2019 Jun 11. PMID: 31187137.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/28/2019

    Lee H, Aldwin CM, Choun S, Spiro A. Impact of combat exposure on mental health trajectories in later life: Longitudinal findings from the VA Normative Aging Study. Psychol Aging. 2019 Jun; 34(4):467-474. PMID: 30816736.

    Read at: PubMed

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