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Denise L. Orwig, PhD

Academic Title:


Primary Appointment:

Epidemiology & Public Health


Howard Hall 203

Phone (Primary):

(410) 706-8951

Phone (Secondary):

(410) 706-2406


(410) 706-4433

Education and Training

1989    B.S., Psychology/Business, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

1993    M.S., Applied Behavioral Science, The JohnsHopkinsUniversity, Baltimore, Maryland 

1998    Ph.D., Biobehavioral Health, Minor: Gerontology, The PennsylvaniaStateUniversity, University Park, Pennsylvania


Dr. Orwig is a gerontologist specializing in biobehavioral aspects of aging with extensive expertise in studying older adults, both in community and hospital settings. She is Director of the Baltimore Hip Studies (BHS), a research program dedicated to optimizing recovery from hip fracture, and has established collaborative relationships with key medical personnel in 25 hospitals in the greater Baltimore area, Washington D.C., and southern Pennsylvania. Dr. Orwig’s primary research expertise is in the areas of hip fracture recovery, intervention trials, and longitudinal research methods including study design, recruitment and retention strategies, conducting performance measures, developing interventions to maximize recovery, and translating interventions into the community. She has lead eight cohort studies including more than 3,500 hip fracture patients, and four randomized trials involving large interdisciplinary research teams. Dr. Orwig is currently the Director of the Clinical Coordinating Center for a Phase III RCT testing two physical therapy interventions post hip fracture. 

Dr. Orwig’s second area of research expertise is in pharmacoepidemiology, particularly in medication management issues of older adults and improving treatment of osteoporosis after hip fracture. She developed an instrument, Medication Management Instrument for Deficiencies in the Elderly (MedMaIDE), to assess older adult’s ability to self-medicate safely in the community. This instrument is unique since it can be used by non-medically trained people (e.g., caregivers) to identify deficiencies of an older adult.

In addition to research activities, Dr. Orwig has been co-director of the joint campus Doctoral Program in Gerontology for six years. This is an interdisciplinary program in collaboration with the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) with track specializations in epidemiology, policy, and sociocultural/behavioral sciences. She has extensive experience with mentoring and advising doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty.

Highlighted Publications

    1. Orwig DL, Chan J, Magaziner J. Hip fracture and its consequences: differences between men and women. Orthop Clin North Am. 2006 Oct;37(4):611-22. PubMed PMID: 17141019.

    2. Matheny ME, Miller RR, Shardell MD, Hawkes WG, Lenze EJ, Magaziner J, Orwig DL. Inflammatory cytokine levels and depressive symptoms in older women in the year after hip fracture: findings from the Baltimore Hip Studies. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2011 Dec;59(12):2249-55. PubMed PMID: 22188073; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3245645.

    3. Orwig DL, Hochberg M, Yu-Yahiro J, Resnick B, Hawkes WG, Shardell M, Hebel JR, Colvin P, Miller RR, Golden J, Zimmerman S, Magaziner J. Delivery and outcomes of a year-long home exercise program after hip fracture: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Intern Med. 2011 Feb 28;171(4):323-31. PubMed PMID: 21357809; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3140167.

    4. Orwig D, Brandt N, Gruber-Baldini AL. Medication management assessment for older adults in the community. Gerontologist. 2006 Oct;46(5):661-8. PubMed PMID: 17050757.

    5. Orwig D, Rickles NM, Martin LG. Methodological issues in pharmacotherapy research in older adults. Am J Geriatr Pharmacother. 2011 Jun;9(3):173-89. PubMed PMID: 21636042.

Additional Publication Citations

Awards and Affiliations





Pre-doctoral Fellow in Adult Development and Aging, National Institute on Aging


Postdoctoral Fellow in Primary Care, National Research Service Award


National Institutes of Health Extramural Loan Repayment Program Award, National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities


Penn State Alumni Emerging Professional Graduate Degree Award, Pennsylvania State University College of Health and Human Development


Outstanding Mentor Award, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health


Outstanding Mentor Award, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health


Health Science Section Fellow, The Gerontological Society of America


Outstanding Faculty Mentor, University System of Maryland's PROMISE AGEP (Association for Graduate Education and the Professoriate) recognizes outstanding mentoring and inclusion of underrepresented graduate students in STEM fields within the NIH-sponsored Meyerhoff Biomedical Graduate Fellowship Program at UMBC and UMB.