Bei Wu headshot

Bei Wu


Dean's Professor in Global Health
Director, Global Health & Aging Research
Director for Research, Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing
Affiliated Professor, Ashman Department of Periodontology & Implant Dentistry

1 212 992 5951

433 First Avenue
Room 520
New York, NY 10010
United States

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Professional overview

Dr. Bei Wu is an inaugural Co-Director of the Aging Incubator at New York University (NYU). She holds the position of Dean’s Professor in Global Health and Director of Global Health and Aging Research at the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. She is also the Director of Research at the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing at NYU. As Principal Investigator, she has led a significant number of projects supported by federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She is leading an ongoing NIH-funded clinical trial to improve oral health for persons with cognitive impairment.

Dr. Wu is an internationally-known leader in gerontology. Her career in gerontology has been distinguished by interdisciplinary collaborations with researchers in various disciplines (including nursing and dentistry) at many academic institutions and organizations in the U.S. and abroad. Her research areas cover a wide range of topics related to aging and global health, including oral health, long-term care, dementia, and caregiving. She has published over 400 peer-reviewed papers, books, and conference abstracts and has delivered presentations at hundreds of conferences as an invited speaker. She has mentored hundreds of faculty members, visiting scholars, and students from various disciplines, including nursing, gerontology, dentistry, medicine, social work, demography, public health, sociology, public policy, geography, and economics.

Dr. Wu is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, and the New York Academy of Medicine. She is an Honorary Member of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI). Dr. Wu is the former President of the Geriatric Oral Research Group of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR). Dr. Wu has served on a number of NIH review panels and is a frequent reviewer for multiple international funding agencies. Dr. Wu was honored as the 2017 IADR Distinguished Scientist in Geriatric Oral Research.


BS, Shanghai University
MS, University of Massachusetts – Boston, Gerontology Center
PhD, University of Massachusetts – Boston, Gerontology Center

Honors and awards

Distinguished Scientist Award for Geriatric Oral Research, International Association for Dental Research (2017)
Pauline Gratz Professorship, Duke University School of Nursing (2014)
J. Morita Junior Investigator Award in Geriatric Oral Health, International Association for Dental Research (2007)



Professional membership

Fellow, Gerontological Society of America
Fellow, Association for Gerontology in Higher Education
Fellow, New York Academy of Medicine
Honorary Member, The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International



Advancing Long-Term Care Science Through Using Common Data Elements: Candidate Measures for Care Outcomes of Personhood, Well-Being, and Quality of Life

Edvardsson, D., Rebecca, B., Corneliusson, L., Anderson, R. A., Anna, B., Boas, P. V., Corazzini, K., Gordon, A. L., Hanratty, B., Jacinto, A., Lepore, M. J., Leung, A. Y., McGilton, K. S., Meyer, J. E., Schols, J. M., Schwartz, L., Shepherd, V., Skoldunger, A., Thompson, R., Toles, M., Wachholz, P., Wang, J., Wu, B., & Zuniga, F. (2019). Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine. 10.1177/2333721419842672

Age and regional disparity in HIV education among migrants in China: Migrants population dynamic monitoring survey, 2014-2015

Zhu, Z., Guo, M., Petrovsky, D. V., Dong, T., Hu, Y., & Wu, B. (2019). International Journal for Equity in Health, 18(1). 10.1186/s12939-019-0999-x
Objective: A lack of education among migrants remains an important but overlooked issue that indirectly contributes to HIV transmission. It is necessary to know who has received HIV education and who has a lower probability of being educated among migrants across different regions and age groups in China. Methods: We used pooled data from the 2014 and 2015 Migrants Population Dynamic Monitoring Survey. The study population included 406,937 Chinese migrants. Participants were asked whether they had received any HIV education after migrating to the destination city. Regions were categorized into east-coast, central, northwest, southwest, west-Tibet, west-Uyghur, and northeast regions. Hierarchical logistic regression modeling was conducted to investigate the relationships between the independent variables and HIV education. Results: Of 406,937 participants, half (50.6%) had reported receiving HIV education. Individuals in the west-Uyghur region had the highest proportion of receiving HIV education (73.0%), followed by the southwest region (67.9%) and the west-Tibet region (54.8%). Methods of receiving HIV education varied among different age groups. Individuals who were in a region with a higher prevalence of HIV, a lower density of medical professionals, and a higher density of migrants were more likely to receive HIV education. Conclusions: The study showed significant regional disparities among migrants in China. More HIV resources need to be allocated to regions with large-scale floating populations, such as the east-coast region. Providing multiple options, including both new and traditional media, for both young and elderly migrants is essential. HIV education should be tailored to the age of migrants with low educational and income levels.

Association between dying experience and place of death: Urban-rural differences among older Chinese adults

Dong, T., Zhu, Z., Guo, M., Du, P., & Wu, B. (2019). Journal of Palliative Medicine. 10.1089/jpm.2018.0583

Cardioprotective medication adherence among patients with coronary heart disease in China: a systematic review.

Ni, Z., Dardas, L., Wu, B., & Shaw, R. J. (2019). Heart Asia, 11(2). 10.1136/heartasia-2018-011173
In China, poor cardioprotective medication adherence is a key reason for the high mortality rate of coronary heart disease (CHD). The aims of this systematic review are to (1) describe and synthesise factors that influence medication adherence among Chinese people with CHD, (2) evaluate the current status of intervention studies, and (3) discuss directions of future research to improve medication adherence. A comprehensive search using PubMed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Embase, Scopus, Global Health and PsycINFO was undertaken to describe poor adherence in China. Thirty-three eligible articles were included in the study. The review shows that there are multiple contributing factors to poor medication adherence, including patients' sociodemographic characteristics, health status and medication characteristics. In addition, from patients' perspective, lack of medication-related knowledge, such as the name, function, dosage and frequency, contributes to poor adherence. From physicians' perspective, a gap exists between CHD secondary prevention guidelines and clinical practice in China. Follow-up phone calls, educational lectures, booklets and reminder cards were common methods found to be effective in improving medication adherence. This systematic review indicates that cardioprotective medications were commonly prescribed as secondary prevention medication to patients with CHD in China, but adherence to these medications gradually decreased during a follow-up period. Therefore, more research should be conducted on how to establish high-quality health educational programmes aimed at increasing patients' medication adherence.

Chinese Dementia Caregiver Intervention Research and its Future Development

Wu, B., Zhu, Z., Wang, J., & Xu, H. (2019). Chinese Nursing Management, 172-177.

Chinese Physicians’ Perspectives on the 2017 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Hypertension Guideline: A Mobile App-Based Survey

Ni, Z., He, J., Wang, J. G., Cao, J., Yang, Q., Wu, B., & Shaw, R. J. (2019). High Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular Prevention. 10.1007/s40292-019-00321-9
Introduction: Hypertension is a leading global risk factor for death and disability. Seeking new ways to prevent and treat hypertension is a priority for scientists and healthcare professionals worldwide. In November 2017, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) issued a new hypertension guideline shifting the definition of hypertension from 140/90 mm Hg to 130/80 mm Hg for systolic/diastolic blood pressure. This new diagnostic threshold of hypertension has sparked a lively discussion worldwide over whether it should be applied in clinical settings to diagnose and treat hypertension. China, the world’s most populous country, is facing a hypertension crisis. According to the 140/90 mm Hg guideline, China has an estimated 244.5 million population aged ≥ 18 years with hypertension, and another 435.3 million with pre-hypertension. If the new guideline is adopted, the prevalence of hypertension in China would double. This change would significantly impact patients, healthcare professionals, scientists, and policy makers in terms of the delivery of care and needed resources. Aim: This study aims to investigate whether Chinese physicians will use the 130/80 mm Hg threshold to diagnose hypertension in clinical practice. Methods: In March 2018, we launched a mobile app-based survey to study 253 Chinese physicians’ perspectives on the ACC/AHA Guideline. Results: A total of 253 physicians from 21 Chinese provinces completed the survey. Nearly 80% of the participants had already noticed the ACC/AHA guideline change. The proportion of participants who said they would use the new threshold to diagnoses hypertension was 41%, while 59% said they would not use the new threshold. The primary reason for those who said “yes” was that they believed early diagnosis of hypertension can trigger early actions to prevent the increasing blood pressure. For those who said “no”, they argued that their decision was based on the fact that the Chinese Hypertension Prevention Guideline had not yet changed the diagnostic threshold from 140/90 to 130/80 mm Hg. Conclusions: Different understanding of hypertension prevention and treatment exists among Chinese physicians. It is an emergent need to form an evidence-based authoritative answer to guide Chinese physicians’ future clinical practice.

Cognitive function and oral health among ageing adults

Kang, J., Wu, B., Bunce, D., Ide, M., Pavitt, S., & Wu, J. (2019). Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, 47(3), 259-266. 10.1111/cdoe.12452
Objectives: There is inconclusive evidence that cognitive function is associated with oral health in older adults. This study investigated the association between cognitive function and oral health among older adults in England. Methods: This longitudinal cohort study included 4416 dentate participants aged 50 years or older in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing during 2002-2014. Cognitive function was assessed at baseline in 2002/2003 using a battery of cognitive function tests. The self-reported number of teeth remaining and self-rated general oral health status was reported in 2014/2015. Ordinal logistic regression was applied to model the association between cognitive function at baseline and tooth loss or self-rated oral health. Results: Cognitive function at baseline was negatively associated with the risk of tooth loss (per each 1 standard deviation lower in cognitive function score, OR: 1.13, 95% CI: 1.05-1.21). When cognitive function score was categorized into quintiles, there was a clear gradient association between cognitive function and tooth loss (P-trend = 0.003); people in the lowest quintile of cognitive function had higher risk of tooth loss than those in the highest quintile (OR: 1.39, 95% CI: 1.12-1.74). A similar magnitude and direction of association were evident between cognitive function and self-rated oral health. Conclusion: This longitudinal study in an English ageing population has demonstrated that poor cognitive function at early stage was associated with poorer oral health and higher risk of tooth loss in later life. The gradient relationship suggests that an improvement in cognitive function could potentially improve oral health and reduce the risk of tooth loss in the ageing population.

Correlational research between the status health literacy and health behavior of the inpatients with stroke

Li, J., Wu, B., Tian, F., Liu, J., Zhao, X., & Zhou, Y. (2019). Journal of Nursing Science (Chinese), 34(11), 13-15. 10.3870/j.issn.1001-4152.2019.11.00
Objective: To explore the correlation between health literacy and healthy behaviors in patients with stroke, and provide corresponding reference for patients' rehabilitation intervention. Methods: A convenient sampling method was used to select 508 stroke patients from the neurology department and physiatry department of fore third-grade hospitals in Guiyang from November 2017 to March 2018. A total of 508 stroke patients were investigated and analyzed using the Chronic Diseases Health Literacy Survey Scale, the Health Promotion Lifestyle Scale II, and the General Survey Form. Results: The overall score of healthy behavior of stroke patients was (31.26±7.74) points, the overall score of healthy behavior of stroke patients was (123.26±23.74) points; Pearson correlation analysis: health literacy level and healthy behavior level were positively correlated (r=0.625,P<0.01); the relationship between the level of healthy behavior and the improvement of health will which is from the health literacy is the strongest (r=0.621,P<0.01); the correlation between the health literacy and the self-actualization level which is from healthy behaviors is the highest (r=0.562,P<0.01). Conclusion: The level of health literacy is positively correlated with the level of health behavior, and there is a positive correlation between each dimension. Medical personnel should start from the correlation between health literacy and health behavior, to improve the rehabilitation treatment of patients.

Edentulism, Dental Care Service Use, and Trajectories of Cognitive Functioning Among Older Adults

Han, S. H., Wu, B., & Burr, J. (2019). Journal of Aging and Health. 10.1177/0898264319851654

Factors associated with elevated consumption of alcohol in older adults-comparison between China and Norway: the CLHLS and the HUNT Study

Li, J., Wu, B., Tevik, K., Krokstad, S., & Helvik, A. (2019). BMJ Open. 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-028646
OBJECTIVES:The primary objective was to investigate the prevalence and factors associated with elevated alcohol consumption among older adults 65 years and above in China and Norway. The secondary objective was to compare the prevalence and factors in the two countries.DESIGN:A secondary data analysis was conducted using two large cross-sectional studies (Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey data in 2008-2009 and Nord-Trøndelag Health Study data in 2006-2008).PARTICIPANTS:A total of 3223 (weighted) Chinese older adults and 6210 Norwegian older adults who responded drinking alcohol were included in the analysis.OUTCOME MEASURES:The dependent variable was elevated alcohol consumption, which was calculated as a ratio of those with elevated drinking among current drinkers. Multivariable logistic regression was used to test the dependent variable.RESULTS:The prevalence of elevated alcohol consumption among current drinkers for the Chinese and Norwegian samples were 78.3% (weighted) and 5.1%, respectively. Being male was related to a higher likelihood of elevated alcohol consumption in both Chinese and Norwegian samples (OR=2.729, 95% CI 2.124 to 3.506, OR=2.638, 95% CI 1.942 to 3.585). Being older, with higher levels of education and a living spouse or partner were less likely to have elevated drinking in the Chinese sample (OR=0.497, 95% CI 0.312 to 0.794, OR=0.411, 95% CI 0.260 to 0.649, OR=0.533, 95% CI 0.417 to 0.682, respectively). Among Norwegian older adults, a higher level of education was related to higher likelihood of elevated drinking (OR=1.503, 95% CI 1.092 to 2.069, OR=3.020, 95% CI 2.185 to 4.175). Living in rural areas and higher life satisfaction were related to lower likelihood of elevated drinking in the Norwegian sample (OR=0.739, 95% CI 0.554 to 0.984, OR=0.844, 95% CI 0.729 to 0.977, respectively).CONCLUSIONS:The elevated alcohol consumption patterns were strikingly different between China and Norway in regards to prevalence and socioeconomic distribution. To develop and implement culturally appropriate public health policies regarding alcohol in the future, public health policy makers and professionals need to be aware of the cultural differences and consider the demographic, social and economic characteristics of their intended population.