Mei Fu headshot

Mei R Fu


Associate Professor

1 212 998 5314

433 First Avenue
Room 426
New York, NY 10010
United States

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Professional overview


Dr. Mei R. Fu (PhD, RN, FAAN) is an internationally and nationally well-known nurse scientist and outstanding researcher and educator. She is a Tenured Associate Professor of Nursing at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing, New York University. Dr. Fu is also a Fellow of American Academy of Nursing, the highest professional honor recognizing outstanding contributions, achievements, and leadership in the nursing field; a Fellow of Geriatrics at the Hartford Institute of Geriatrics, the highest honor for Dr. Fu’s expert knowledge contributed to the field of geriatrics; and a Fellow of New York Academy of Medicine, recognition of the highest levels of achievement and leadership in the fields of urban health, science, social work, nursing, education, law, medicine and research. Dr. Fu’s scientific focus has been on cancer-related symptoms and management of chronic illnesses. Her research incorporates qualitative and quantitative methods, genomic and biomarker approaches, cutting edge measurement technology, innovative behavioral interventions and mHealth. The significance of her research has been recognized with highly competitive funding from National Institute of Health (NIH), the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), the Hartford Institute of Geriatric Nursing, the Avon Foundation, the Vital Fund, Judges and Lawyers for Breast Cancer Alert, Pfizer Independent Learning and Change grant. She has over 100 high quality publications in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, and professional publications. She has over 200 invited or peer-reviewed keynote and podium presentations at international, national, regional, and local conferences. Her creative research has been recognized with prestigious research awards from Oncology Nursing Society and International Lymphology Association, in addition she was awarded the best article award by Oncology Nursing Society, outstanding journal article by Journal of Nursing Diagnosis, and Eminent Scientist of the Year 2003 by International Research Promotion Council. Dr. Fu is the recipient of 2015 Chinese American Nurses Association Outstanding Professional Achievement Award to honor her accomplishments in nursing profession, education, and research. This award is given to a Chinese American Nurse who has demonstrated outstanding contribution and leadership in nursing profession, education, and research.


PhD, 2003, University of Missouri-Columbia
MS, 2002, University of Missouri-Columbia
BSN, 1997, University of Missouri-Columbia


Non-communicable disease
Women's health

Professional membership

American Academy of Nursing
Oncology Nursing Society
New York Academy of Medicine
Chinese American Nurses Association
International Society of Lymphology
Lymphology Association of North American
National Lymphedema Network
International Lymphedema Framework: American Lymphedema Framework Project
American Nurses Association
Sigma Theta Tau International, Honor Society of Nursing
Eastern Nursing Research Society



Original Research: Physical Activity among Chinese American Immigrants with Prediabetes or Type 2 Diabetes

Hu, S. H., Fu, M. R., Liu, S., Lin, Y. K., & Chang, W. Y. (2018). American Journal of Nursing, 118(2), 24-32. 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000530221.87469.86
Background: Although the benefits of aerobic exercise and strength training for patients with type 2 diabetes have been studied extensively, research on physical activity among Chinese American immigrants diagnosed with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes has been limited. Purpose: We sought to learn more about this population's knowledge of physical activity, the types and intensity levels performed, and the barriers to such activity. Design and methods: A concurrent mixed-methods design was used. The short version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire-Chinese was used to quantitatively measure participants' levels of exercise intensity. Semistructured face-to-face interviews were conducted to obtain qualitative information regarding participants' knowledge about physical activity, the types performed, and the barriers to such activity. Results: A total of 100 Chinese American immigrants were recruited for the study from January to July 2012 in New York City. On average, participants had lived with a diagnosis of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes for 3.3 years and had lived in the United States for 21.5 years. Energy expenditure was measured in metabolic equivalent of task (MET) units; intensity was measured in cumulative MET-minutes per week. The mean total intensity score was 2,744 MET-minutes per week. This was achieved mainly through walking. The mean intensity score for walking was 1,454 MET-minutes per week; the mean duration was 79 minutes per day. Vigorous physical activity was least common. The mean intensity score for vigorous physical activity was 399 MET-minutes per week, and the mean duration was 17 minutes per week. Regarding types of physical activity, the most common were housekeeping, walking up stairs, and taking walking or stretching breaks every hour during the workday. Based on the interviews, three themes emerged regarding barriers to moderate or vigorous physical activity: insufficient education about physical activity, health concerns about physical activity, and work-related barriers to physical activity. Conclusions: The majority of Chinese American immigrants with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes do not engage in sufficient physical activity, performing at a rate significantly below that of the general U.S. population. Increases in the intensity and duration of physical activity should be promoted as part of diabetes management for Chinese American immigrants.

Strengthen federal regulation of laboratory-developed and direct-to-consumer genetic testing

Starkweather, A. R., Coleman, B., De Mendoza, V. B., Fu, M. R., Menzies, V., O’Keefe, M., & Williams, J. K. (2018). Nursing Outlook. 10.1016/j.outlook.2017.11.004

A phenomenological understanding of residents’ emotional distress of living in an environmental justice community

Dory, G., Qiu, Z., Qiu, C. M., Fu, M. R., & Ryan, C. E. (2017). International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being, 12(1). 10.1080/17482631.2016.1269450
Deteriorative environmental conditions in environmental justice (EJ) communities not only post direct health risks such as chronic illnesses, but also cause emotional distress such as anxiety, fear, and anger among residents, which may further exacerbate health risks. This study applies a descriptive phenomenological method to explore and describe the emotional experience of residents living in Ironbound, a known EJ community located in Newark, New Jersey. Twenty-three residents participated in the study. Four essential themes regarding the residents’ emotional experiences were elicited from 43 interviews: (1) being worried about the harmful effects of the surrounding pollution; (2) being distressed by the known historical pollution sources; (3) being frustrated by the unheard voices and/or lack of responses; and (4) being angered by the ongoing pollution sources. Participants not only expressed their emotions of worry, distress, frustration, and anger in detail but also described reasons or situations that provoked such negative emotions. Such detailed depictions provide insights into potential meaningful strategies to improve residents’ psychological wellbeing by alleviating negative emotions and meaningfully engaging residents in developing, implementing, and enforcing environmental laws, regulations, and policies to achieve EJ goals.

Policy brief: Improve coverage of newborn genetic screening to include the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel and newborn screening registry

Starkweather, A., Coleman, B., Barcelona de Mendoza, V., Fu, M., Taylor, J., Henderson, W., Kenner, C., Walker, D., Amankwaa, L., & Anderson, C. (2017). Nursing Outlook, 65(4), 480-484. 10.1016/j.outlook.2017.04.009

Advanced nursing practice and research contributions to precision medicine

Williams, J. K., Katapodi, M. C., Starkweather, A., Badzek, L., Cashion, A. K., Coleman, B., Fu, M. R., Lyon, D., Weaver, M. T., & Hickey, K. T. (2016). Nursing Outlook, 64(2), 117-123. 10.1016/j.outlook.2015.11.009
Background: Genomic discoveries in the era of precision medicine hold the promise for tailoring healthcare, symptom management, and research efforts including targeting rare and common diseases through the identification and implementation of genomic-based risk assessment, treatment, and management. However, the translation of these discoveries into tangible benefits for the health of individuals, families, and the public is evolving. Purpose: In this article, members of the Genetics Expert Panel identify opportunities for action to increase advanced practice nursing and research contributions toward improving genomic health for all individuals and populations. Discussion: Identified opportunities are within the areas of: bolstering genomic focused advanced practice registered nurse practice, research and education efforts; deriving new knowledge about disease biology, risk assessment, treatment efficacy, drug safety and self-management; improving resources and systems that combine genomic information with other healthcare data; and advocating for patient and family benefits and equitable access to genomic healthcare resources.

Precision assessment of heterogeneity of lymphedema phenotype, genotypes and risk prediction

Fu, M. R., Conley, Y. P., Axelrod, D., Guth, A. A., Yu, G., Fletcher, J., & Zagzag, D. (2016). Breast. 10.1016/j.breast.2016.06.023
Lymphedema following breast cancer surgery is considered to be mainly due to the mechanical injury from surgery. Recent research identified that inflammation-infection and obesity may be the important predictors for lymphedema. The purpose of this exploratory research was to prospectively examine phenotype of arm lymphedema defined by limb volume and lymphedema symptoms in relation to inflammatory genes in women treated for breast cancer. A prospective, descriptive and repeated-measure design using candidate gene association method was used to enroll 140 women at pre-surgery and followed at 4-8 weeks and 12 months post-surgery. Arm lymphedema was determined by a perometer measurement of ≥5% limb volume increase from baseline of pre-surgery. Lymphedema symptom phenotype was evaluated using a reliable and valid instrument. Saliva samples were collected for DNA extraction. Genes known for inflammation were evaluated, including lymphatic specific growth factors (VEGF-C & VEGF-D), cytokines (IL1-a, IL-4, IL6, IL8, IL10, & IL13), and tumor necrosis factor-a (TNF-a). No significant associations were found between arm lymphedema phenotype and any inflammatory genetic variations. IL1-a rs17561 was marginally associated with symptom count phenotype of ≥8 symptoms. IL-4 rs2070874 was significantly associated with phenotype of impaired limb mobility and fluid accumulation. Phenotype of fluid accumulation was significantly associated with IL6 rs1800795, IL4 rs2243250 and IL4 rs2070874. Phenotype of discomfort was significantly associated with VEGF-C rs3775203 and IL13 rs1800925. Precision assessment of heterogeneity of lymphedema phenotype and understanding the biological mechanism of each phenotype through the exploration of inherited genetic susceptibility is essential for finding a cure. Further exploration of investigative intervention in the context of genotype and gene expressions would advance our understanding of heterogeneity of lymphedema phenotype.

Translation and evaluation of Chinese version of the symptom experience index

Li, K., Fu, M. R., Zhao, Q., & Chen, L. (2016). International Journal of Nursing Practice. 10.1111/ijn.12464
Symptom assessment is crucial for patient care through the entire disease trajectory. Patients often experience multiple symptoms concurrently. The symptom experience index is reliable and valid as an instrument developed in the USA for assessing multiple symptoms and distress. The aim of the study was to translate and evaluate the Chinese version of the instrument in healthy adults and oncology patients. This is a psychometric study with a cross-sectional design. To ensure the semantic equivalence and content validity, an integrative translation method was employed to translate the English version into Chinese language. The participants were recruited during 2014 from a large university, two university-affiliated hospitals and a community in Changchun, China. The Chinese version demonstrated high internal consistency, test-retest reliability and content validity. Construct validity was supported by factor analysis and significant differences of symptom experience scores between healthy and oncology groups. Participants' acceptance of the Chinese version and its ability to collect adequate data among Chinese population provided evidence for using this version among Chinese population. This study provided initial evidence to support the psychometric properties of the Chinese version. The Chinese version demonstrated adequate reliability and validity to assess multiple symptom experience by Chinese populations.

Usability and feasibility of health IT interventions to enhance Self-Care for Lymphedema Symptom Management in breast cancer survivors

Fu, M. R., Axelrod, D., Guth, A. A., Wang, Y., Scagliola, J., Hiotis, K., Rampertaap, K., & El-Shammaa, N. (2016). Internet Interventions, 5, 56-64. 10.1016/j.invent.2016.08.001
Purpose The-Optimal-Lymph-Flow health IT system (TOLF) is a patient-centered, web-and-mobile-based educational and behavioral health IT system focusing on safe, innovative, and pragmatic self-care strategies for lymphedema symptom management. The purpose of this study was to evaluate usability, feasibility, and acceptability of TOLF among the end-user of breast cancer survivors. Methods Two types of usability testing were completed with 30 breast cancer survivors: heuristic evaluation and end-user testing. Each participant was asked to think aloud while completing a set of specified tasks designed to explicate and freely explore the system features. A heuristic evaluation checklist, the Perceived Ease of Use and Usefulness Questionnaire, and The Post Study System Usability Questionnaire were used to evaluate usability of the system. Open-ended questions were used to gather qualitative data. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and qualitative data were summarized thematically. Results Breast cancer survivors were very satisfied with the system: 90% (n=27) rated the system having no usability problems; 10% (n=3) noted minor cosmetic problems: spelling errors or text font size. The majority of participants 96.6% (n=29) strongly agreed that the system was easy to use and effective in helping to learn about lymphedema, symptoms and self-care strategies. Themes from the qualitative data included empowerment, high quality information, loving avatar simulation videos, easy accessibility, and user-friendliness. Conclusions This usability study provided evidence on breast cancer survivor's acceptance and highly positive evaluation of TOLF's usability as well as feasibility of using technologically-driven delivery model to enhance self-care strategies for lymphedema symptom management.

Accuracy of body weight perception and obesity among Chinese Americans

Liu, S., Fu, M. R., Hu, S. H., Wang, V. Y., Crupi, R., Qiu, J. M., Cleland, C., & D’Eramo Melkus, G. (2015). Obesity Research and Clinical Practice. 10.1016/j.orcp.2015.04.004
Background: Accuracy of body weight perception is an individual's perception of their body weight in comparison with actual body weight and is associated with weight-related behaviors. Chinese Americans have increased risk for obesity but no studies have examined accuracy of body weight perception. Methods: This study was a descriptive and cross-sectional study, which was conducted in a community health center in New York. Study subjects were all Chinese-American adults. Demographic information, accuracy of perception of body weight, anthropometric measures (weight, height, body mass index [BMI], waist circumference [WC], hip circumference [HC], weight to height ratio, weight to hip ratio), fasting plasma glucose (FPG), glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1C) and obesity-related diseases (hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke) were assessed. Results: A total of 162 Chinese Americans were recruited. 52 subjects (32%) did not perceive body weight correctly: 32 subjects had underestimation and 20 subjects had overestimation of body weight. Significant differences were found among subjects in the three groups of different accuracy of body weight perception in terms of gender (p = 0.003), age (p = 0.003), education years (p = 0.047), WC (p <. 0.001), HC (p ≤. 0.001), weight/height ratio (p = 0.001), and BMI (p <. 0.001). Accuracy of perception of body weight significantly predicted WC (p <. 0.001), HC (p <. 0.001), weight to height ratio (p = 0.001), BMI (p <. 0.001) and weight (<. 0.001) even after controlling for all demographic factors. Discussion and conclusion: The study identified that around one-third of Chinese Americans did not perceive their body weight correctly. Intervention studies for obesity management in Chinese Americans should address gender difference, target on older subjects, and focus on educating the normal values and significances of WC, HC and HbA1C among Chinese Americans.

Breast cancer-related lymphedema and sexual experiences: A mixed-method comparison study

Radina, M. E., Fu, M. R., Horstman, L., & Kang, Y. (2015). Psycho-Oncology, 24(12), 1655-1662. 10.1002/pon.3778
Objective Up to 40% of breast cancer survivors develop lymphedema, a chronic and sometimes disabling condition that manifests as abnormal swelling of the effected arm or hand or upper chest areas. Although the effects of lymphedema on quality of life have been well established, less well documented are the sexual experiences of breast cancer survivors with lymphedema. This study is the first to compare the sexual experiences of women with (n = 243) and without breast cancer-related lymphedema (n = 109). Methods A mixed-method design was used to explore both quantitatively and qualitatively the impact of lymphedema on participants' sexual experiences. Results Participants with breast cancer-related lymphedema reported struggles with compression garments and sexual intimacy, negative feelings involving the breast and arm, and feelings of decreased sexual desire. Conclusions Recommendations for healthcare professionals, social workers, and marriage and family therapists are offered with the aim of assisting women with breast cancer-related lymphedema and their sexual partners.