Alice Medalia, PhD

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Dr. Medalia has been instrumental in raising awareness about the need to address cognition as a central aspect of health related to functional outcome. Her key contribution to psychiatry relates to her application of motivation theories to the treatment of cognitive disorders, and more generally psychiatric rehabilitation. Medalia identified the need for the treatment of cognition to move beyond theories of neuroplasticity, to embrace an understanding of how people learn. She developed the widely used Neuropsychological & Educational Approach to Remediation (NEAR) model of cognitive remediation, which has been disseminated worldwide in psychiatric, educational, forensic, and supportive housing settings and used with people diagnosed with schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and mild cognitive impairment. Dr. Medalia has primary research interests in treating cognition, improving motivation, and facilitating recovery among people with mental illness. She is the principal researcher in several NIMH funded studies, and a prolific writer. Dr. Medalia is a leading proponent for the need to address cognition as a central aspect of health related to functional outcome for people living with persistent mental illness. In 1998, she established and continues to direct the world’s largest conference on this topic, Cognitive Remediation in Psychiatry, now hosted by Columbia University. She lectures and consults to agencies worldwide and conducts training workshops for clinicians to learn the techniques of cognitive remediation for psychiatric patients. By focusing on cognitive health in addition to mental health, cognitive remediation seeks to improve critical thinking skills, enabling people to be more effective in their daily lives and pursue their goals for recovery in a purposeful and meaningful way.

Areas of Expertise / Conditions Treated

  • Affective Disorders
  • Autism
  • Depression
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychotic Disorders
  • Relationship Problems
  • Research Studies
  • Stress Management
  • Work-Related Stress

Academic Appointments

  • Professor of Medical Psychology (in Psychiatry) at CUMC

Administrative Titles

  • Clinical Director, NY State OMH Cognitive Health Services
  • Director, Lieber Recovery Clinic

Hospital Affiliations

  • NewYork-Presbyterian / Columbia University Irving Medical Center


  • Portuguese


  • Female

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  • Aetna Signature Administrators
  • EPO
  • HMO
  • NY Signature
  • POS
  • PPO
  • Student Health

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Quality Health Management

  • Quality Health Management


  • Behavioral Health (Columbia University Employee Plan)

World Trade Center Health Plan

  • World Trade Center Health Plan

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Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • Graduate School of the City University of New York

Honors & Awards

Dr Medalia is the recipient of many awards, such as the Connie Lieber Research Award, the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award for inspirational teaching, the 2012 Brain Behavior Research Foundation Productive Lives Award, the 2015 Life Achievement Award from the National Council for Behavioral Health, and the 2016 Encontrar-se Award for outstanding contributions to mental health care. She is a member of the Columbia University Colege of Physicians and Surgeons Academy of Clinical Excellence.


Dr. Medalia's research interests focus on the factors that impact a recovery of neuropsychological functions and the motivation to engage in treatment, in people with psychiatric illness.

Dr Medalia is involved in research on the effectiveness of cognitive remediation in various diagnostic groups. Her research on awareness of cognitive dysfunction in people with schizophrenia has led to the development of scales to measure insight into cognitive dysfunction. She has research protocols underway to investigate the role of intrinsic motivation in learning, how various remediation strategies impact intrinsic motivation and learning, and how medications work with cognitive remediation to impact intrinsic motivation and learning.

Research Interests

  • Treatment of cognitive disorders

Selected Publications

  • Medalia A and Saperstein A: The Role of Motivation for Treatment Success. Schizophrenia Bulletin 2011;37 Suppl 2: 122-8
  • Medalia, A and Thysen, J. : Insight into Neuro-cognitive Dysfunction in Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin 2008;doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbm144
  • Medalia, A., Revheim, N. and Herlands, T.: Cognitive Remediation in Psychological Disorders, Oxford University Press, New York, NY, USA, 2009
  • Medalia, A., Opler, L.A., & Saperstein A.M.: Integrating psychopharmacology and cognitive remediation to treat cognitive dysfunction in the psychotic disorders. CNS Spectrums 2013;doi:10.1017/S1092852913000461
  • Medalia A. & Saperstein AM, : Cognitive Remediation Within a Residential Rehabilitation Setting . Psychiatric Annals 2015;45: 126-130