Faculty

Bei Wu headshot

Bei Wu

PhD

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 joined NYU 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.

Education

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)

Specialties

Gerontology
Global

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

Publications

Publications

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
Abstract
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

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
Abstract
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
Abstract
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.

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

Hospital readmission in persons with dementia: A systematic review

Ma, C., Bao, S., Dull, P., Wu, B., & Yu, F. (2019). International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 10.1002/gps.5140

The Impact of Living Alone and Intergenerational Support on Depressive Symptoms Among Older Mexican Americans: Does Gender Matter?

Pei, Y., Cong, Z., & Wu, B. (2019). International Journal of Aging and Human Development. doi.org/10.1177/0091415019836099
Abstract
The study examined gender differences in the impact of living alone and intergenerational support on depressive symptoms among Mexican American older adults. The sample included 335 parent–adult child pairs which are nested within 92 Mexican American respondents, because each respondent reported their specific relationships with each child. Clustered regression analysis showed gender differences in the impact of living alone and intergenerational support on depressive symptoms among Mexican American older adults. In general, older men provided and received less intergenerational support than older women, but their depressive symptoms were more susceptible to living alone and different types of intergenerational support. Factors such as living alone, receiving instrumental support were associated with more depressive symptoms in older men than inolder women, whereas older men benefited more from the emotional closeness with children than older women. The findings highlight the need for a gender-specific approach to future research on this topic.

Perceived discrimination and cognitive function in middle-aged and older adults living with HIV in China.

Zhu, Z., Hu, Y., Xing, W., Guo, M., & Wu, B. (2019). AIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV, 1-8. 10.1080/09540121.2019.1601674
Abstract
Middle-aged and older adults with HIV experience double discrimination and cognitive impairment due to both their HIV status and their age. However, the relationship between perceived discrimination and self-reported cognitive ability in middle-aged and older people living with HIV (PLWH) is less clear. We measured self-reported perceived discrimination and cognitive ability using the Expanded Everyday Discrimination Scale and the subscale of the AIDS Health Assessment Questionnaire (AIDS-HAQ). The study sample included 324 middle-aged and older PLWH (over 45 years old) from five designated HIV hospitals in three regions (east coast, middle, and southwest regions) of China. The descriptive analysis showed that 45.37% of the participants reported perceiving discrimination at least once in the past twelve months, and 47.22% reported having at least one type of cognitive impairment. Multiple linear regression results showed that higher levels of perceived discrimination (β = −0.121, P = 0.036) were significantly associated with lower levels of self-reported cognitive ability after controlling for several covariates, including sociodemographic variables, mental health status, health behaviors, and social support. A longer duration of HIV was also related to a lower level of self-reported cognitive ability. Our findings indicate that perceived discrimination is related to self-reported cognitive ability and suggest that counseling services and support systems should be developed to reduce age- and disease-associated discrimination. A reduction in perceived discrimination would improve not only overall wellbeing but also cognitive ability in later life.