Wu Image

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
New York, NY 10010
United States

expand all
collapse all
Professional overview

Dr. Bei Wu joins NYU’s Rory Meyers College of Nursing as a fully tenured Professor of Nursing. She received her Bachelor of Law from Shanghai University and her PhD in Gerontology from University of Massachusetts Boston.

Dr. Wu’s career in gerontology has been distinguished by interdisciplinary collaborations with researchers in various disciplines (particularly in nursing and in dentistry) at many academic institutions and organizations in the U.S. and abroad. She has provided keynote presentations, lectures, and/or consultation in dozens of universities and organizations in the United States and globally, including China, Singapore, the Netherlands, Norway, and Turkey.  As Principal Investigator, she has led a significant number of projects supported by federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Her numerous publications cover a variety of issues related to aging and health, including long-term care, dementia, caregiving, and oral health.  She has served on a number of NIH review panels and is also a frequent grant reviewer for the Research Fund of Hong Kong Food and Health Bureau, Medical Research Council (United Kingdom), and Chang Jiang Scholars Program at the Ministry of Education of China.

Dr. Wu was previously The Pauline Gratz Professor of Nursing and Professor of Global Health at Duke University, where she served as Director for International Research in the School of Nursing.  She was also a Senior Fellow of the Duke University Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development.  Dr. Wu is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education. She is an Advisory Professor at Fudan University and was a Visiting Chair Professor at Wuhan University, Shanghai University, and Jiangsu University.  Dr. Wu is President of the Geriatric Oral Health Group of the International Association for Dental Research and Chair of the Mentoring Committee at the Gerontological Society of America.


Are expectations for community mental health increasing among older adults in China?

Olesiuk, W.J., & Wu, B. (2017). Psychological Services 14, (397-402). 10.1037/ser0000084 American Psychological Association (APA).

In recent years, the Chinese government began expanding access to social services to older adults. This study examined whether older adults have increasing expectations that psychological consulting services will be provided by their communities. We analyzed the responses of participants in a prospective cohort study at 2 time points: 2005 and 2008. We utilized logistic regression with survey weights to determine whether there were any changes in attitudes toward community mental health services during the study period, and to determine the correlates of this change. The study participants had a higher expectation that their government would provide psychological consulting services in 2008 than 2005. The multiple logistic regressions conducted indicated that there was a statistically significant relationship between expectations for community-provided psychological consulting services and being a rural resident (odds ratio [OR] = 0.553, 95% confidence interval [CI] [0.353, 0.865]), change in gross regional product per capita (OR = 0.967, 95% CI [0.937, 0.997]), the interaction of those 2 variables (OR = 1.07, 95% CI [1.03, 1.11]), and increase in psychological well-being (OR = 0.971, 95% CI [0.954, 0.988]). Our study highlights the role that economic development can play in changing attitudes toward community-provided psychological consulting services. It suggests that as economic development occurs, expectations for local communities to provide mental health services will increase. (PsycINFO Database Record

Association between tooth loss and cognitive decline: A 13-year longitudinal study of Chinese older adults

Li, J., Xu, H., Pan, W., & Wu, B. (2017). PLOS ONE 12, (e0171404). 10.1371/journal.pone.0171404 Public Library of Science (PLoS).

To examine the association between the number of teeth remaining and cognitive decline among Chinese older adults over a 13-year period.

Change of Cognitive Function in U.S. Chinese Older Adults: A Population-Based Study

Li, L., Ding, D., Wu, B., & Dong, X. Q. (2017). Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences 72, (S5-S10). http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glx004

Does Oral Health Predict Functional Status in Late Life? Findings From a National Sample

Zhang, W., Wu, Y.Y., & Wu, B. (2017). Journal of Aging and Health (089826431769855). 10.1177/0898264317698552 SAGE Publications.

Factors associated with consumption of alcohol in older adults - a comparison between two cultures, China and Norway: the CLHLS and the HUNT-study.

Li, J., Wu, B., Selbæk, G., Krokstad, S., & Helvik, A. S. (2017). BMC geriatrics 17, (172). 10.1186/s12877-017-0562-9

There is little knowledge about the consumption of alcohol among Chinese and Norwegian older adults aged 65 years and over. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence and factors related to alcohol consumption among older adults in China and Norway.

Persistent use of psychotropic drugs in nursing home residents in Norway

Helvik, A., Šaltytė Benth, J., Wu, B., Engedal, K., & Selbæk, G. (2017). BMC Geriatrics 17, (52). 10.1186/s12877-017-0440-5 Springer Nature.

The prevalence of psychotropic drug (PTD) use in NH residents is high, but few have explored prevalence and persistency in PTD in NH residents and factors associated with persistency. This at the same time as we know that risk of side events may be higher with long- term use in older adults. Thus, the aim of this study was to describe the prevalence and persistence in use of PTD and to explore factors associated with persistence in use of PTD at two consecutive time points in nursing home (NH) residents.

Resident challenges with daily life in Chinese long-term care facilities: A qualitative pilot study

Song, Y., Scales, K., Anderson, R.A., Wu, B., & Corazzini, K.N. (2017). Geriatric Nursing 10.1016/j.gerinurse.2017.05.001 Elsevier BV.

Severity and duration of diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) before seeking care as predictors of healing time: A retrospective cohort study

Smith-Strøm, H., Iversen, M.M., Igland, J., Østbye, T., Graue, M., Skeie, S., … Rokne, B. (2017). PLOS ONE 12, (e0177176). 10.1371/journal.pone.0177176 Public Library of Science (PLoS).

To investigate whether A) duration of ulcer before start of treatment in specialist health care, and B) severity of ulcer according to University of Texas classification system (UT) at start of treatment (baseline), are independent predictors of healing time.

Social Support, Social Strain and Cognitive Function among Community-Dwelling U.S. Chinese Older Adults

Ge, S. Q. Wu, B., Bailey, D. E., & Dong, X. Q. (2017). Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences (72). https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glw221

The impact of residential status on cognitive decline among older adults in China: Results from a longitudinal study

Xu, H., Dupre, M.E., Gu, D., & Wu, B. (2017). BMC Geriatrics 17, (107). 10.1186/s12877-017-0501-9 Springer Nature.

Residential status has been linked to numerous determinants of health and well-being. However, the influence of residential status on cognitive decline remains unclear. The purpose of this research was to assess the changes of cognitive function among older adults with different residential status (urban residents, rural-to-urban residents, rural residents, and urban-to-rural residents), over a 12-year period.

The Relationship between Self-Treatment and Outpatient Visits: Findings from a National Survey in China

Luo, J. (2017). Journal of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology 3, 10.23937/2469-5858/1510027 ClinMed International Library.

Acculturation and Dental Service Use Among Asian Immigrants in the U.S

Luo, H., & Wu, B. (2016). American Journal of Preventive Medicine 51, (939-946). 10.1016/j.amepre.2016.07.041 Elsevier BV.

The objective of this study was to assess dental service utilization across different Asian immigrant groups and to examine the relationship between acculturation and dental service utilization among Asian immigrants in the U.S.

Dementia Care Programs and Services for Chinese Americans in the U.S.

Wu, B., Lombardo, N.B.E., & Chang, K. (2010). Ageing International 35, (128-141). 10.1007/s12126-010-9055-2 Springer Nature.

Attitudes about aging well among a diverse group of older Americans: implications for promoting cognitive health.

Laditka, S. B., Corwin, S. J., Laditka, J. N., Liu, R., Tseng, W., Wu, B., … Ivey, S. L. (2009). The Gerontologist 49 Suppl 1, (S30-9). 10.1093/geront/gnp084

To examine perceptions about aging well in the context of cognitive health among a large and diverse group of older adults.

From message to motivation: where the rubber meets the road.

Logsdon, R. G., Hochhalter, A. K., Sharkey, J. R., & (2009). The Gerontologist 49 Suppl 1, (S108-11). 10.1093/geront/gnp074

Gender differences in views about cognitive health and healthy lifestyle behaviors among rural older adults.

Wu, B., Goins, R. T., Laditka, J. N., Ignatenko, V., & Goedereis, E. (2009). The Gerontologist 49 Suppl 1, (S72-8). 10.1093/geront/gnp077

Research suggests that men and women often differ in knowledge and beliefs about causes and treatments of a variety of diseases. This study examines gender differences in views about cognitive health and behaviors that have been associated with its maintenance, focusing on older adults living in rural areas.

Getting the message out about cognitive health: a cross-cultural comparison of older adults' media awareness and communication needs on how to maintain a healthy brain.

Friedman, D. B., Laditka, J. N., Hunter, R., Ivey, S. L., Wu, B., Laditka, S. B., … Mathews, A. E. (2009). The Gerontologist 49 Suppl 1, (S50-60). 10.1093/geront/gnp080

Evidence suggests that physical activity and healthy diets may help to maintain cognitive function, reducing risks of developing Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. Using a cross-cultural focus, we describe older adults' awareness about cognitive health, and their ideas about how to inform and motivate others to engage in activities that may maintain brain health.

Lifespan influences on mid- to late-life cognitive function in a Chinese birth cohort.

Zhang, Z. X., Plassman, B. L., Xu, Q., Zahner, G. E., Wu, B., Gai, M. Y., … Xu, T. (2009). Neurology 73, (186-94). 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181ae7c90

To explore factors throughout the lifespan that influence cognition in midlife to late life.

Promoting cognitive health: a formative research collaboration of the healthy aging research network.

Laditka, J. N., Beard, R. L., Bryant, L. L., Fetterman, D., Hunter, R., Ivey, S., … Wu, B. (2009). The Gerontologist 49 Suppl 1, (S12-7). 10.1093/geront/gnp085

Evidence suggests that healthy lifestyles may help maintain cognitive health. The Prevention Research Centers Healthy Aging Research Network, 9 universities collaborating with their communities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is conducting a multiyear research project, begun in 2005, to understand how to translate this knowledge into public health interventions.

The public's perceptions about cognitive health and Alzheimer's disease among the U.S. population: a national review.

Anderson, L. A., Day, K. L., Beard, R. L., Reed, P. S., & Wu, B. (2009). The Gerontologist 49 Suppl 1, (S3-11). 10.1093/geront/gnp088

The present review assesses the public's perceptions about cognitive health and Alzheimer's disease among adults in the United States. We searched the published literature and Internet, and contacted experts in the field to locate surveys assessing the public's perceptions about cognition. We found 10 eligible surveys and abstracted data concerning the public's knowledge, beliefs, concerns, and sources of information. Most of the surveys were conducted in the 2000s and focused on Alzheimer's disease rather then cognitive health. Based on the findings from the surveys, most adults were found to be aware of Alzheimer's disease but lacked specific information about the disease and its treatments. Most respondents did not perceive themselves as being very knowledgeable about Alzheimer's disease. Although we could classify the findings into several overarching domains, such as knowledge, we found considerable variability among surveys in the questions asked. Additional work is needed to understand the public's perceptions about cognitive health. Moreover, we also lack studies that help us understand perceptions about cognition across diverse demographic and cultural groups. Only by addressing these gaps can we develop targeted and effective strategies to enhance knowledge and beliefs about cognitive impairment and health.

The two voices of Alzheimer's: attitudes toward brain health by diagnosed individuals and support persons.

Beard, R. L., Fetterman, D. J., Wu, B., & Bryant, L. (2009). The Gerontologist 49 Suppl 1, (S40-9). 10.1093/geront/gnp083

Most individuals with Alzheimer's are cared for in their homes by unpaid family members. Research on caregiving focuses disproportionally on costs of care, service utilization, and negative psychosocial outcomes. Few narrative accounts of Alzheimer's exist; those that do suffer similar pejorative framings and narrow foci. No studies that we are aware of examine the health beliefs of diagnosed individuals and support persons, or their attitudes about brain health. This research reports perceptions of "aging well" held by those most intimately acquainted with Alzheimer's.

Workforce Issues in Residential Care Facilities in Rural China

Wu, B., & Caro, F.G. (2009). Journal of Housing For the Elderly 23, (227-242). 10.1080/02763890903035597 Informa UK Limited.

Gender Differences in Contributory Behaviors Among the Oldest-Old Chinese in Shanghai

Wu, B., Chi, I., Mjelde-Mossey, L.A., & Silverstein, N.M. (2008). Ageing International 32, (65-77). 10.1007/s12126-008-9001-8 Springer Nature.

Institutional Care for Elders in Rural China

Wu, B., Mao, Z., & Xu, Q. (2008). Journal of Aging & Social Policy 20, (218-239). 10.1080/08959420801977632 Informa UK Limited.

Age Distribution and Risk Factors for the Onset of Severe Disability Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults With Functional Limitations

Ying Wu, Hai Huang, Bei Wu, McCrone, S., & Lai, H. (2007). Journal of Applied Gerontology 26, (258-273). 10.1177/0733464807300566 SAGE Publications.

Emerging services for community-based long-term care in urban China: a systematic analysis of Shanghai's community-based agencies.

Wu, B., Carter, M. W., Goins, R. T., & Cheng, C. (2005). Journal of aging & social policy 17, (37-60). 10.1300/J031v17n04_03

China's rapid economic reforms, coupled with the changes in age composition of the demographic structure, have greatly affected the traditional family support system. In response to these changes, efforts to develop new models of community-based long-term care (CBLTC) for elders in China have received growing attention. This paper provides a systematic analysis of the current status of emerging CBLTC systems in Shanghai, China. It covers several domains of the system: service delivery, workforce, financing, and quality of care management. Several main issues involved in the development of the emerging system are addressed, and relevant policy implications are presented in the paper.

Health care and social service use among Chinese immigrant elders.

Aroian, K. J., Wu, B., & Tran, T. V. (2005). Research in nursing & health 28, (95-105). 10.1002/nur.20069

We explored patterns and reasons for health and social service use among Chinese immigrant elders. Interviews were conducted with 27 Chinese immigrant elders, 11 adult care giving children, and 12 health and social service providers. Content analysis of these data indicated that participants across groups agreed that Chinese elders under-utilize services because of problems related to language, transportation, cost, long waits for appointments, and because of cultural norms/values related to need for care, preference for self-over professional care, fear, and distrust of western biomedicine, and the obligation to refrain from using formal services. These problems are complicated by geographical dispersion and dialect differences in the local Chinese immigrant community.

Teaching Chinese health care professionals about community-based long-term care (CBLTC) in China.

Wu, B. (2005). Gerontology & geriatrics education 26, (137-49). 10.1300/J021v26n01_09

Academic exchanges between the U.S. and other countries around the world are increasing and teaching students abroad is part of this trend. China is in its initial stage of developing gerontology education and is in great need of new concepts and ideas for dealing with its rapidly aging population. This paper discusses the challenges and rewards of teaching gerontology to health care professionals in China. To achieve the desired learning outcomes in another country requires culturally appropriate course materials and teaching methods; drawing on students' knowledge and expertise by using an interactive format and gaining students' respect.

Job characteristics and leisure physical activity.

Wu, B., & Porell, F. (2000). Journal of aging and health 12, (538-59). 10.1177/089826430001200405

This study employs a sample population of older workers to estimate an empirical model of leisure exercise activity. Alternative theories relating work and leisure attitudes relevant for understanding the exercise behavior of older workers are tested empirically.