Mary Elizabeth (Libbey) Bowen, PhD

Assistant Professor
375 McDowell Hall
Accepting PhD Students

Dr. Bowen is a social gerontologist with interests in health disparities research and efficacy trials of health care technologies to inform translational research and system-wide implementation. Dr. Bowen received her PhD in the Sociology of Aging and Population Health from Virginia Tech and has a Certificate in Gerontology and Race and Social Policy. Dr. Bowen has examined racial and socioeconomic inequalities across the life span; specifically how long-term social (e.g., childhood and adulthood socioeconomic conditions, race/ethnicity), and behavioral (e.g., physical activity, obesity) determinants of disease affect mobility and functioning in later life. In her work, funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, she examined how access to health care may account for differences in physical and cognitive functioning among older minority populations. In the School of Nursing at the University of Delaware, Dr. Bowen is funded by a RR&D Career Development Award from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Her award focuses on leveraging innovative real-time tracking technology to improve functioning and patient care in a geriatric population.


  • Postdoctoral Training AHRQ T32 Fellow – Institute of Gerontology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
  • PhD – Sociology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
  • MA – Sociology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
  • BA – Sociology and Women’s Studies, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA

University of Delaware:

Assistant Professor

  • Integrated Health Care Delivery I
  • Population Health II
  • Population Health I
  • AWA to Prepare/Assess/Analyze Materials in preparation for MPH Accreditation, WCU
  • A Life Span Approach to Public Health, WCU
  • Inter/Multidisciplinary Gerontology Graduate Certificate Program, WCU
  • AWA to Prepare/Assess/Analyze Materials in preparation for MPH Accreditation, WCU
  • AWA to Prepare/Assess/Analyze Materials in preparation for MPH Accreditation, WCU
  • Death and Dying, WCU
  • Research Methods, WCU
  • Positive Aspects of Aging, WCU
  • Research Methods, WCU
  • Bowen, ME., Rowe, M., Ersek, M., Shea, J., Ibrahim, S. (R&R, JAGS). Assessing the Functional Status of Adults in Assisted Living: The Functional Independence Test (FIT).
  • Bowen, ME., Rowe, M. Intra-Individual Changes in Ambulation Associated with Falls in a Population of Vulnerable Older Adults in Long-Term Care. Archives of Phys Med & Rehab. 2016; doi:10.1016/j.apmr.2016.05.013.
  • Rowe, M, Houston, A, Molinari, V, Bulat, T, Bowen, ME,  Mutolo, S, McKenzie, B. The Concept Of Missing Incidents In Persons With Dementia. Healthcare.2015; 3(4): 1121-1132. doi:10.3390/healthcare3041121
  • Barks, L, Luther, S, Brown, L, Schulz, B, Bowen, ME, Powell-Cope, G. Development and Initial Validity of the Seated Posture Scale. JRRD. 2015; 52(2): 201-210.
  • Bowen, ME, Rowe, M, Hart-Hughes, S, Barnett, S, Ji, M. Characteristics of and Barriers to Functional Status Assessment in Assisted Living. Res Geron Nurs. 2015; doi: 10.3928/19404921-20150406-01 (ePub ahead of print)
  • Bowen, ME, *Ruch, A. Depressive Symptoms and Disability Risk among Older White and Latino Adults by Nativity Status. J Aging Health.2015; doi: 10.1177/0898264315580121 (ePub ahead of print)
  • Kearns, W, Jasiewicz, J, Fozard, J, Webster, P, Scott, S, Craighead, J, Bowen, ME & McCarthy, J. Temporo-spatial prompting for persons with cognitive impairment using a smart wrist-worn interface.  J Rehabil Res Dev. 2013; 50(10):vii–xiv.
  • González, HM, Tarraf, W, Bowen, ME, Johnson-Jennings, MD, Fisher, GG. What do parents have to do with my cognitive reserve? Life-course perspectives on twelve-year cognitive decline. Neuroepidemiology. 2013; 41:101–109. doi: 10.1159/000350723.
  • McKenzie, B, Bowen, ME, Keys, K, Bulat, T. Safe Home Program: A Suite of Technologies to Support Extended Home Care of Persons with Dementia. Amer J Alz Dis Oth Dem 2013; 28(4): 348-354. doi: 10.1177/1533317513488917.
  • *Paulson, D, Bowen, ME, Lichtenberg, P. Does Brain Reserve Protect Older Women from Vascular Depression? 2013; J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbt007.
  • Bowen, ME, Wingrave, C, V, Klanchar, A, Craighead J. Tracking technology: Lessons learned in two health care sites. Tech Health Care 2013; 21 : 191-197.
  • Applegarth, SP, Rowe, M, Kearns, W, Bowen, ME. Activation Thresholds and Operating Characteristics of Commercial Alarm Products that may be used to Provide Surveillance for Dementia Caregivers. Intl J Geron 2013; 11(3): 480-487.
  • CDA E7503W RR&D Career Development Award (II). The Relationship between Wandering and Functional Status, 2011-2017. Role: PI.
Honors and Awards
  • Outstanding Performance at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center, 2014-2016
  • Outstanding Performance at the Department of Veterans Affairs, James A. Haley VA Medical Center, Tampa, FL, 2012, 2013