John Fu

John Fu

574 Boston Ave
Research/Areas of Interest:

Categorical data analysis, survival data analysis, longitudinal data analysis, latent variable analysis, smoking behavior, substance abuse, major depression, disparity in financial access


  • PhD, of Health Education and Promotion, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa, United States, 1998
  • MD, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China, 1986


Dr. Fu is a biostatistician who has been teaching and studying biostatistics for two decades. He has innovatively applied advanced statistical methods to the studies of pressing issues in public health. His areas of interest in biostatistics include categorical data analysis, longitudinal data analysis, survival data analysis, and latent variable analysis. He views the population's health through a socioecological lens and has studied health determinants at different levels in society. His substantive areas of interest are in major depression and substance use disorders. His research addresses how genetic, behavioral, environmental, and societal factors contribute to major depression and substance dependence. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and Alzheimer's Association.

Dr. Fu's recent research has been focused on person-centered methods that are well-suited for addressing social justice in vulnerable populations. Smoking rates are much higher among those who are impoverished, uninsured, less educated, or experiencing serious psychological stress. However, current smoking treatment services systematically exclude 70-80% of low-income smokers who are not yet ready to quit. Dr. Fu is collaborating with leading public health scientists to examine unmet basic needs in the low-income population and develop tailored smoking cessation strategies for low-income smokers in the context of addressing their basic needs. This line of research has significant policy implications on changing the standard of practice for the population-level treatment of smoking to increase cessation in low-income populations.

It is estimated that about 10 million households are unbanked and often engage nonbank financial services providers, referred to as the alternative financial services sector. The unbanked population is increasingly a focus of policy and program efforts. In another line of work, Dr. Fu has collaborated with a social work researcher to study disparities in access to financial services, financial exclusion, and financial capability using national surveys. Their findings can inform practice and policy efforts related to consumer financial wellbeing.

Dr. Fu has taught undergraduate and graduate biostatistics courses, including principles of biostatistics, applied regression analysis for health applications, survival data analysis, categorical data analysis, and multilevel and longitudinal data analysis for almost two decades.

Dr. Fu received his medical degree in China and his doctoral degree in public health from the University of Alabama. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship in quantitative genetics and biostatistics sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Prior to joining the Tufts University faculty, Dr. Fu was a faculty member at Washington University School of Medicine and Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice. He has mentored undergraduate, master, and doctoral students in public health.