Lisa M. Lewis, PhD, RN, FAAN
About 45% of Blacks in America have hypertension, one of the main contributors to health disparities. Lisa Lewis is committed to identifying the challenges to medication adherence that hypertensive Blacks face and developing tailored interventions to help them better manage their hypertension.
Her current research, conducted under an NIH grant, focuses on medication adherence in Black men, who are more likely than Black women and white people to die from cardiovascular disease.
“My research is a way of advocating and providing a voice for hypertensive blacks, who are dying at more than double the rate of their white counterparts.”
- PhD , University of Missouri‐Columbia, 2002
- MA, New York University, 1998
- BSN, Syracuse University, 1991
Through earlier research, Dr. Lewis learned that beliefs, not lack of knowledge, are the main barriers to medication adherence. Common perceptions among Blacks include that the hypertension medicines their doctor gives them might be experimental or that white people get better medicines than they do.
Dr. Lewis also learned that spiritual beliefs and faith help Blacks navigate the challenges associated with managing blood pressure. In a church‐based program that she started at Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Philadelphia, both the control and experimental groups had better medication adherence. The control group received basic information on managing hypertension, and the experimental group received a faith‐based curriculum.
The Edna G. Kynett Memorial Foundation supported this program.
Tailored Medication Adherence Interventions for Black Men
Dr. Lewis’ current study involves about 200 Black men with hypertension living in and near Philadelphia. She is measuring their medication adherence electronically, monitoring their blood pressure, and studying psychosocial variables such as masculinity, social networks, physician trust, depression, self‐efficacy, and medication adherence.
Preliminary results show that 71% of the subjects don’t take their medication as directed, and 40% have depressive symptoms. Dr. Lewis plans to use the final results to tailor and test interventions to improve medication adherence, such as providing men with tools for home blood pressure monitoring, and offering support groups and counseling.
Opportunities to Learn and Collaborate at Penn Nursing
Dr. Lewis joined the University of Pennsylvania in 2005 to be able to work with a cadre of nursing faculty leaders who were doing health disparities research. Her teaching focuses on preparing nurses to care for the nation’s ever-increasing diverse populations. She also presents guest lectures on health disparities, and has a secondary appointment as an Associate Professor in the Department of Africana Studies at Penn. Graduate students at Penn Nursing have the opportunity to be part of a community of scholars. Dr. Lewis enjoys mentoring students and is committed to their success.
Selected Career Highlights
- Co-Chair, American Heart Association National Peer Review Committee on BehavioralScience
- Reviewer, National Institutes of Health, Nursing and Related Clinical Sciences Study Section
- Participant, White House Forum on Women and the Economy
- Panelist, The State of Black Women’s Health, U.S. Health and Human Services
- Research cited in The Washington Post, U.S. News World Report, and the Philadelphia Inquirer
- Lewis, L.M., Mattis, J., Riegel, B., & Ogedegbe, G. (in press). The influences of spirituality on medication adherences in hypertensive Blacks followed in primary care. Journal of Holistic Nursing, .
- Lewis, L.M. (in press). Spiritual assessment in African-Americans: A review of spirituality used in health research. Journal of Religion and Health, .
- Lewis, L.M., Hankin, S., Ogedegbe, G., & Reynolds, D. (in press). African-American spirituality: A process of honoring God, others, and self. Journal of Holistic Nursing, .
- Lewis, L.M., Ogedegbe, C., & Ogedegbe, G. (2012). Enhancing adherence of antihypertensive regimens in hypertensive African Americans: Current and future prospects. Expert Review of Cardiovascular Therapy, 10(11), 1375-1380.
- Lewis, L.M., Schoenthaler, A., & Ogedegbe, G. (2012). Patient factors, but not provider and health care system factors, predict medication adherence in hypertensive black men. Journal of Clinical Hypertension, 14(4), 250- 255.
- Lewis, L.M. (2012). Factors associated with medication adherence in hypertensive blacks: A review of the literature. Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 27(3), 208-219.
- Lewis, L.M. (2011). Medication adherence and spiritual perspectives among older African American adults diagnosed with hypertension: A qualitative study. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 37(6), 34-41.
- Lewis, L.M. & Riegel, B.J. (2010). Determinants of perceived health in older adults with hypertension. Heart & Lung, 39(1), 41-49.
- Lewis, L.M., Askie, P., Randleman, S., & Shelton-Dunston, B. (2010). Medication adherence beliefs of community-dwelling hypertensive African Americans. Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 25(3), 199-206.
- Wittink, M.N., Joo, J.H., Lewis, L.M., & Barg, F. (2009). Losing faith and using faith: Older African Americans discuss spirituality, religious activities, and depression. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 24(3), 420-427.