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New Senior Leadership Role for Lewis

Lisa Lewis, PhD, RN, FAAN, has been appointed the Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion. Her commitment to social justice is deeply rooted in her lived experience, teaching, and program of research.

In her new senior leadership role, Lewis, an Associate Professor of Nursing, the inaugural Calvin Bland Fellow, and the former Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusivity, will work to advance the social justice mission as it affects the school and develop and evaluate metrics that demonstrate our impact in addressing important diversity and inclusivity goals.

“A core value of the School is social justice. Now more than ever, there is a need and opportunity to make our commitment even more clear. Dr. Lewis will continue to work with senior leadership in developing and leading strategic goals in diversity and inclusivity across the research, education, and practice, missions,” said Penn Nursing Dean Antonia Villarruel. “She will advance the work to eliminate structural racism, enhance diversity competencies in the School, and champion the social justice commitments made by the School this past fall.”

In her role as Assistant Dean since 2015, Lewis has led the School’s efforts to create a diverse and inclusive environment for all. Her leadership and work with the Diversity and Inclusivity Advisory Committee has led to impactful community-building events such as the very popular Lottery Lunches and well-received Book Club to MLK Jr. lecture series. Finally, together with the Offices of Student Services and Human Resources, Lisa has led the wellness initiative that has often been synonymous with social justice issues. During the unrest of this past summer, Lisa’s desire to create safety and understanding for people of color at Nursing led to the Juneteenth event and Holding Space. She serves as the Diversity Search Advisor for the School and provides guidance to the Faculty Search Committee.

Since 2005, Lewis has been working with other nursing faculty leaders doing health disparities research. Her research program focuses on reducing cardiovascular racial disparities among Black men by examining factors associated with their behavioral management of hypertension. Her most recent work with Calvin Bland Fellows in SP2 and GSE is focusing on upstream interventions (developing and testing a diversion program for first-time offenders, which includes a health component) to improve the health and well-being of Black men. Through her teaching and other activities, she has focused on preparing nurses to care for the nation’s ever-increasing diverse populations. She has mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students in health disparities research. In recognition of her dedication to teaching, she received the Undergraduate Award for Teaching, the Dean’s Award for Exemplary Teaching and in 2019 the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching University of Pennsylvania. Lewis was appointed a Penn Fellow in 2015.