Wen Liu, PhD, RN, FGSA

Associate Professor

Dr. Liu’s primary program of research focuses on 1) examining the role of the resident-, staff-, environmental-, and institutional-level factors that influence eating performance, mealtime positive and challenging behaviors, food intake, function, nutrition, and quality of life for older adults, especially those living with dementia, and 2) optimizing mealtime care and outcomes through dissemination of person-centered mealtime care among formal and informal caregivers in varied care settings. Her secondary research interest focuses on tool development and validation using Classical Test Theory and Item Response Theory, which has greatly facilitated her research, mentoring, and teaching as well as collaborations on- and off- campus in dementia and aging research.

Dr. Liu joined the University of Iowa College of Nursing as an assistant professor in 2015 and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2021. She has secured multiple competitive extramural grants from NIH/NIA and external foundations (PI, total cost >$1.37 million) to establish her program of research in dementia mealtime care. She has examined facilitators and barriers in delivering optimal mealtime care and developed the novel Mealtime Engagement Scale to assess caregiver engagement during mealtime care. With support from American Nurses Foundation, Dr. Liu has developed and validated the refined Cue Utilization and Engagement in Dementia (CUED) mealtime video-coding scheme, an innovative, feasible, and reliable behavioral coding tool to measure person-centered and task-centered care, mealtime difficulties, and intake process using videotaped observations. Recently her team received funding from the Alzheimer’s Association to adapt the refined CUED into clinically practical and useful scales to assess these mealtime care and outcomes. She has also examined person-centered and task-centered care in temporal relation to mealtime difficulties and food intake with support from NIH/NIA. Data from these studies have provided critical preliminary data that informed her current intervention study, where she has developed and tested a person-centered mealtime care intervention with support from NIH/NIA. With expertise in dementia (mealtime) care, behavioral coding, and measurement development and validation, Dr. Liu has also contributed as a co-investigator, consultant, and/or advisor in multiple extramural grants funded through NIH and external foundations.

Thus far in her career, Dr. Liu has published 50 peer-reviewed high-quality publications (38 databased; 32 first-authored, 9 second-authored, 3 senior-authored) with a composite impact factor of 166.875 and 1398 citations (h-index = 16, i10-index = 21) in top-tier journals in nursing, gerontology, medicine, long-term care, and measurement (see Google Scholar). She has given more than 70 presentations at international, national, and regional conferences. Dr. Liu has integrated her primary and secondary research foci organically and her scholarship has contributed to new knowledge in gerontological science through addressing multiple significant and interrelated problems in advancing the field of dementia (mealtime) care and outcomes. Her impact to gerontological and nursing science and education is acknowledged through multiple awards and recognitions, including the 2022 Midwest Nursing Research Society Harriet H. Werley New Investigator Award and the 2022 National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence Distinguished Educator in Gerontological Nursing. Dr. Liu was also recognized as a Fellow in the Gerontological Society of America in 2023.

Curriculum Vitae

Research areas
  • Mealtime behaviors, eating performance, food intake, function, and nutrition in older adults with dementia
  • Behavioral interventions, person-centered care, dyadic communication/interaction, environmental stimulation
  • Tool development and validation
Wen Liu
PhD, University of Maryland
MSN, Shandong University, Jinan, China
BSN, Shandong University, Jinan, China