Bei Wu works toward improving health status through research and policy
If the world of academic gerontology had a rock star, it would be Bei Wu, MS ‘97, PhD ’00.
Recognized for her extensive research and pursued by top tier universities, Wu has become an international leader in the field since graduating from the University of Massachusetts Boston’s Department of Gerontology. Add the years in policy work before earning her doctorate and Wu chuckles that, having spent more than half of her life in the field of gerontology, she herself is now experiencing the aging process.
“I’ve become my own study subject,” Wu says.
Today, Wu is the Director of Global Health and Aging Research at the Rory Meyers College of Nursing, and Director for Research at the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing at New York University (NYU) and the inaugural co-director of NYU’s Aging Incubator, a university-wide aging initiative.
Given her considerable success in gerontology, it’s fitting she credits her grandmother — with whom she was extremely close — for nudging her into the field. Born in Shanghai, Wu’s parents left her and her brother in their grandparents’ care when the two were young. After college, Wu accepted a research position with the Shanghai Commission on Aging only after prompting by her grandmother.
“At the time, very few people thought aging would be a challenging issue in the future,” Wu says.
But writing policy briefs and launching studies on intergenerational support with the United Nations Population Fund convinced Wu to pursue graduate studies. With no options available in China, she chose UMass Boston.
“UMass Boston has had a significant impact on my career,” Wu says. “The gerontology program has a critical mass of excellent faculty.” Continue reading