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Fellowships Honor Former Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Chief Of Staff

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation gifted the University of Pennsylvania with a $2 million endowment in 2017, establishing the Calvin Bland Faculty Fellowships, and initiative that incentivizes faculty to improve the lives of young men and their families by advancing health and health care for all with an emphasis on at-risk young men and boys of color.

The Bland Fellows—including Lisa Lewis, PhD, RN, FAAN from Penn Nursing—will collectively develop a plan for collaborative work that not only advances individual scholarly work, but also has a broader impact on young men of color in Philadelphia. The awards will be used for research and research-related expenses, including convening conferences, lectures, seminars and other events to disseminate the research of the fellows, and helping fellows to publish work in scholarly and popular venues.

Lewis, an associate professor and assistant dean for diversity and inclusivity at Penn Nursing, focuses her research on reducing racial disparities in blood pressure control with an emphasis on determinants of treatment adherence among hypertensive black people. In her work, Lewis identified the importance of psychosocial, socio-cultural and clinical factors such as social networks, depression, spirituality and perceived discrimination on hypertension treatment adherence. Lewis was appointed a Penn Fellow in 2015 and is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.

“Today’s issues—poverty, diminished access to quality care and education, violence and safety, and more, require interdisciplinary approaches to develop solutions that will improve the health and lives of individuals and communities,” said Penn Nursing Dean Antonia M. Villarruel. “Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s investment in our faculty will help ensure that we are leading efforts to promote this kind of collaborative work, and that we are developing future experts who are prepared to build new partnerships to address the ever-changing challenges of our diverse population.”