Accomplished, new faculty member in outcomes and translational sciences to research geriatric pharmacoepidemiology


August 22, 2022

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Yu-Jung “Jenny” Wei, PhD, joined The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy this summer as a tenured associate professor in the Division of Outcomes and Translational Sciences (OTS).

Before joining the College of Pharmacy, Dr. Wei was a tenure-track assistant professor at the University of Florida (UF) College of Pharmacy in the Department of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy specializing in geriatric pharmacoepidemiology.

Within geriatric pharmacoepidemiology, she had a specific focus on drug safety, drug effectiveness and quality of medication prescribing in older adults, especially those with neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia [ADRD]) and nursing home stays.

Dr. Wei has had a passion for helping those in older populations since she was a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland.

“When I was working on my PhD, I studied older populations with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s,” Dr. Wei said. “This experience got my foot in the door working with older generations and the more I researched older folks, the more passionate I became.”

Her passion for this field of research has led her to receive many awards, including:

  • The American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (ASCPT)’s William B. Abrams Award in Geriatric Clinical Pharmacology (2020)
  • Excellent Awards for Assistant Professors at UF (2018)
  • Junior Scholar Award, NIA Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center grant at UF (2017-2019)
  • NIH/NIA Early Career Development Award (2017-2022)

Dr. Wei notes that research in this field is crucial to allow the health care system to get ahead of the issues facing people aged 65 years and older, which is projected to double by 2060 to reach 95 million in the United States.

“The aging population is increasing,” Dr. Wei said. “Sociologists are calling it an aging tsunami and it’s not only in the United States, it’s all over the world. Researching these diseases that mostly appear in geriatric populations is a way we can get ahead of the demographic shift and health care challenges resulting from the rising number of older adults.”

As a new faculty member at the college, Dr. Wei is using her NIH/NIA R01 grant to research pain medications in patients with ADRD through secondary data. Since she is a faculty member within OTS, her lab will focus on analyzing large health care data like Medicare claims data, national assessment data, the Nursing Home Minimum Data Set (MDS) assessments and the Health and Retirement Survey (HRS) data.

Her lab is currently busy recruiting staff and research associates while also preparing the facility. 

In addition to her research expertise, she will make important contributions in teaching and mentoring graduate students. Her PhD student at UF, Nistha Shrestha, followed her to join the OTS graduate program this Fall.

“I am very excited to join Ohio State,” Dr. Wei said. “When I was at UF, we saw the Ohio State College of Pharmacy as a strong partner and pharmacy school. I look forward to bringing my expertise to this school and pushing some great research.”