Wen Liu, PhD, RN

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 challenging behaviors, and meal intake, and 2) developing and testing behavioral interventions to improve individual function, behaviors, and nutrition for older adults, especially those with dementia. Her work has examined the role of individuals’ cognition, function, and oral health, staff engagement, staff-resident communication and interaction, as well as dining environmental stimulation on individual’ eating performance, mealtime difficulties, and intake. 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.

Since Dr. Liu joined the University of Iowa College of Nursing as a faculty in 2015, she has secured multiple competitive intramural and extramural grants (PI, total cost >$1.11 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. She has been funded by American Nurses Foundation (total cost $29,950) to develop and test the 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. She is currently leading an NIH/NIA-funded R03 study (total cost $336,645), which aims to examine person-centered and task-centered care in temporal relation to mealtime difficulties and food intake. Data from these studies have provided critical preliminary data to inform her next step to develop and pilot test a person-centered mealtime care intervention, with support from a recently NIH/NIA-funded Career Development Award (K23, total cost $702,564).

Thus far in her career, Dr. Liu has published 38 papers (29 in English with 21 first-authored, 24 data-based; 9 in Chinese with 4 first-authored, 5 data-based) in high quality journals in nursing, gerontology, medicine, long-term care, and measurement. Her papers have 764 citations as of 12/2020 (h-index=12; i10-index=14; total Impact Factors of her English papers=73.758, total Impact Factors of her first-authored English papers=47.610 (see Google Scholar). She has given more than 50 research presentations. Her scholarship has contributed to new knowledge in gerontological science through addressing multiple significant and interrelated problems in dementia (mealtime) care.

Curriculum Vitae

Research areas
  • Mealtime difficulties, eating performance, function, and nutrition in dementia
  • Behavioral interventions, 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