Empowering Aging Populations: Associate Professor Nicholas Bishop's Interdisciplinary Mission to Revolutionize Clinical Practice and Health Policy

July 27, 2023

Sociologist and quantitative researcher, Nicholas Bishop, joined the Norton School in Fall 2022. One year later, he recounts his mission to influence clinical practice and policy to support aging populations through his interdisciplinary research.

Nicholas Bishop, Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Science, Norton School

Growing up, Dr. Nicholas (Nick) Bishop first developed an appreciation for critical perspectives and complex social issues through his love of socially-conscious punk and hip-hop music. Upon starting college, he immersed himself in the discipline of sociology and developed a passion for studying health outcomes in older adults using statistical approaches. With the guidance of supportive mentors, Nick obtained a Ph.D. in Sociology specializing in quantitative methods, medical sociology, and population health. 

Throughout his career, Nicholas Bishop has worked in diverse settings having held positions at the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Arizona Department of Education. However, his path eventually led him back to higher education at Texas State University as an Assistant Professor, and in August of 2022, Dr. Bishop joined the Norton School of Human Ecology as an Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Science (HDFS). 

Dr. Bishop’s research examines the progression of complex age-related health conditions and seeks to identify risk and protective factors contributing to health disparities in aging populations. His work centers on the exploration of population trends in multimorbidity (having 2 or more chronic health conditions) and the connections between multimorbidity, cognitive decline, and progressive physical disablement. By identifying existing inequalities and potentially modifiable points of intervention (e.g., food insecurity and dietary intake), Dr. Bishop aims to influence clinical practice and health policy to reduce health disparities and support the well-being of our aging and growingly diverse population.  

Collaborating with a multi-disciplinary team of health demographers, gerontologists, epidemiologists, biostatisticians, clinicians, and psychologists, Dr. Bishop's current research examines generational and cross-national differences in the risk of multimorbidity and provides methodological guidance on selecting and applying statistical methods suited to studying changes in complex chronic diseases over time. By pooling their expertise and resources, the team strives to make a tangible impact on public health and the quality of life of individuals as they age. 

Reflecting on his first year at the Norton School of Human Ecology, Dr. Bishop notes that he is proud to be part of a team that shares a common goal of improving quality of life for others and looks forward to further developing his courses on introductory and advanced graduate statistics. “Equipping students with quantitative and theoretical tools to better understand life course determinants of health and wellbeing will allow them to develop more meaningful and impactful research questions, regardless of their specific interests,” Dr. Bishop said. Dr. Bishop remains dedicated to the shared mission of his team, aiming to make tangible improvements in the lives of older adults and contribute to the guidance and development of future generations of social science researchers.