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Joshua Niznik

Assistant Professor Assistant Professor

Joshua Niznik, Pharm.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy

(919) 843-3013
5017C Old Clinic Building, , CB# 7550, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599

Joshua Niznik, PharmD, PhD is an assistant professor with a joint appointment in the Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and in the Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine.  Dr. Niznik is a geriatric health services researcher with clinical training in the pharmaceutical sciences. He received his PharmD and PhD from the University of Pittsburgh and worked as a pharmacist with UPMC Magee-Women’s Hospital and as a researcher with the VA Pittsburgh Health System.  His research interests are focused on evaluating the quality of medications in older adults to improve the safety of medication use in this population.  Dr. Niznik is the recipient of several notable research awards, including the American Geriatrics Society’s 2018 Scientist-in-Training and Best Paper in Health Services and Policy Research awards.  He currently serves as a facilitator in the School’s Patient Care Experience II course and serves as a research mentor for PharmD Students in the Research and Scholarship in Pharmacy (RASP) elective.  He also works with medical students as part of the UNC Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) program.

BS: University of Pittsburgh, 2013

PharmD: University of Pittsburgh, 2015

PhD: University of Pittsburgh, 2019

Pharmacist: UPMC Magee-Women’s Hospital, 2015-2019

Postdoctoral Scholar: University of Pittsburgh, 2017-2019

Research Health Science Specialist: VA Pittsburgh Health System, 2016-present

Dr. Niznik has developed expertise in pharmacoepidemiology, with skills in observational and quasi-experimental study designs, large database analyses, statistical approaches to minimize confounding in studies of medically complex older adults.  Most recently, his work has focused on evaluating the impact of deprescribing or discontinuing chronic medications that may no longer have value in nursing home residents with severe dementia as a means for evaluating the quality of prescribing in this population.  Dr. Niznik has been co-investigator and co-primary investigator on two grants to examine the impact of deprescribing antidementia medications in nursing home residents with dementia.  He also serves as co-investigator on two interdisciplinary projects to evaluate the impact of clinical pharmacy interventions on deprescribing potentially unsafe medications to reduce falls in older adults.  Dr. Niznik is currently pursuing an NIA-funded career development award.

reverse chronological order, up to 10 high impact articles

  1. Niznik JD, Hunnicutt J, Zhao X, Mor MK, Sileanu F, Aspinall SL, Springer SP, Ersek MJ, Gellad WF, Schleiden LJ, Hanlon JT, Thorpe JM, Thorpe CT. Deintensification of Diabetes Medications among Veterans at the End-of-Life in VA Nursing Homes. J Am Geriatr Soc. (in press).


  1. Niznik JD, Zhao XZ, He W, Aspinall SL, Hanlon JT, Hanson LC, Nace DA, Thorpe JT, Thorpe, CT. Risk for Health Events After Deprescribing AChEIs in Nursing Home Residents with Severe Dementia. J Am Geriatr Soc. (in press).


  1. Niznik JD, Zhao XZ, He W, Aspinall SL, Hanlon JT, Nace DA, Thorpe JT, Thorpe, CT. Impact of Deprescribing AChEIs on Aggressive Behaviors and Antipsychotic Prescribing. Alzheimer’s and Dementia (in press).


  1. Springer SP, Mor MK, Sileanu F, Zhao X, Aspinall SL, Ersek M, Niznik JD, Hanlon JT, Hunnicutt J, Gellad WF, Thorpe JM, Thorpe CT. Incidence and Predictors of Aspirin Discontinuation in Older Veteran Nursing Home Residents at End-of-Life. J Am Geriatr Soc (in press).


  1. Niznik JD, Zhao XZ, He W, Aspinall SL, Hanlon JT, Nace DA, Thorpe JT, Thorpe, CT. Factors associated with de-prescribing AChEIs in older nursing home residents with severe dementia. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2019 Jun 4.


  1. Thorpe CT, Gellad WF, Mor MK, Cashy JP, Pleis JR, Van Houtven CH, Schleiden LJ, Hanlon JT, Niznik JD, Carico RL, Good CB, Thorpe JM. Effect of dual use of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Medicare Part D drug benefits on antihypertensive refill adherence in a national cohort of Veterans with dementia. Health Services Research. 2018 Dec;53 Suppl 3:5375-5401.


  1. Niznik JD, Zhang S, Mor M, Zhao X, Ersek M, Aspinall S, Thorpe J, Gellad W, Hanlon J, Schleiden L, Springer S, Thorpe C. Adaptation and Initial Validation of the Minimum Data Set (MDS) Mortality Risk Index to MDS version 3.0. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2018 Dec;66(12):2353-2359.


  1. Schleiden LJ, Thorpe CT, Cashy JP, Gellad WF, Good CB, Hanlon JT, Mor MK, Niznik JD, Pleis JR, Van Houtven CH, Thorpe JM. Characteristics of dual drug benefit use among veterans with dementia enrolled in the Veterans Health Administration and Medicare Part D. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2018 Sep 8. pii: S1551-7411(18)30387-5.


  1. Niznik JD, Zhao X, Jiang T, Hanlon J, Aspinall S, Thorpe J, Thorpe C. Anticholinergic Prescribing in Medicare Part D Beneficiaries Residing in Nursing Homes: Results from a retrospective cross-sectional analysis of Medicare data. Drugs & Aging 2017 Dec;34(12):925-939.


  1. Aspinall S, Hanlon JT, Niznik JD, Springer S, Thorpe CT. Deprescribing in Older Nursing Home Patients: Focus on Innovative Composite Measures for Dosage Deintensification. Innovation in Aging 2017. Dec 20;1(2):igx031.



View complete list of publications on PubMed.

Recently Completed

Project Number: A21-1165

Title: Deprescribing Bisphosphonates in Older Nursing Home Residents with Dementia

Source: National Institutes on Aging (1K08AG071794-01)

Total Direct Costs (Sub-award only):

Dates: 04/01/2021-03/31/2026

Role: Principal Investigator


Project Number: A21-1025

Title: Improved Improved Testing for COVID-19 in Skilled Nursing Facilities: IMPACT-C

Source: Brown University/NIA (3U54AG063546-02S2)

Total Direct Costs (Sub-award only): $46,177

Dates: 09/30/2020-06/30/2022

Role: Co-Investigator/ UNC-CH Site Principal Investigator


Project Number: A19-0594

Title: Implementation of a De-prescribing Medication Protocol to Evaluate Falls in Older Adults

Source: CDC (U01CE002955)

Total Direct Costs: $1,499,999

Dates: 09/30/2018-09/29/2022

Role: Co-Investigator


Project Number: A21-0467 (PI: J. Niznik)

Title: De-prescribing Bisphosphonates in Nursing Home Residents with Dementia

Source: US Deprescribing Research Network (1R24AG064025)

Total Direct Costs (Sub-award only): $37,691

Dates: 08/01/2020-07/31/2021

Role: Principal Investigator


Project Number: N/A (Co-PIs: C. Thorpe and Aspinall)

Title: De-prescribing of anti-dementia medications

Source: The Patrick and Catherine Weldon Donaghue Foundation

Total Direct Costs (Sub-award only): $125,672

Dates: 9/1/2018-10/31/2019

Role: Co-Investigator



Project Number: N/A (Co-PIs: J. Niznik and C. Thorpe)

Title: De-prescribing of anti-dementia medications

Source: The Pittsburgh Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center

Total Direct Costs: $24,897

Dates: 2/02/2018-8/31/2018

Role: Co-Principal Investigator

US Deprescribing Research Network Junior Investigator Intensive

The American Geriatrics Society Scientist-in Training Research Award, 2018

American Geriatrics Society Best Paper Award, Health Services & Policy Research, 2018

UPMC Aging Institute Best Postdoctoral Clinical Research Award, 2018

University of Pittsburgh Randy and Renee Juhl Pharmacy Graduate Scholar Award, 2018

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Health Services/Clinical Epidemiology Post-Doctoral Fellow Research Award, 2018

Top Reviewer for Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy, 2017