Dr. Lieff graduated from Yale College with a B.A. in mathematics, and Harvard Medical School with an M.D. He is a practicing psychiatrist, with specialties in geriatric psychiatry and neuropsychiatry. He was a pioneer in geriatric psychiatry, building some of the first geriatric medical/psychiatry hospital units, and the largest geriatric treatment network in New England, which he directed for twenty years. He is a specialist in the interface of psychiatry, neurology, and medicine.
Dr. Lieff is a past-president of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry (AAGP), the national subspecialty association. As president, he helped found the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. He was the editor of the AAGP Newsletter for seven years and a consulting editor of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry for 10 years. He helped found the Geriatric Psychiatry Committee and the High Technology Committee for the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society. He has been a member of several APA committees and chaired their Committee on Telemedicine.