Marsha Lewis, PhD, RN, FAAN

Dean; Professor

Dean Marsha Lewis.

School of Nursing
University at Buffalo
102 A Wende Hall
Buffalo, NY 14214-3079

PHONE: 716-829-3221

Dean Lewis is a specialist in psychiatric-mental health and nursing education, with expertise in curriculum and instructional systems.  Her research focuses on family caregivers of persons with dementia and on decision making for patients and families. She works with an interdisciplinary team in nursing, gerontology, family social science, psychology and occupational therapy. 

Lewis' research has included group interventions to decrease caregiver stress and burden, creation of a decision making tool for family caregivers, development of online caregiver training to accommodate caregivers who are unable to leave their family member to attend group sessions, and expansion of the caregiver intervention to Hispanic and African American populations, as well as to family caregivers in India. 

Most recently, she is co-investigator on a three-year NIH R01 grant to develop a web-based system that uses distance education methods along with manuals and protocols to train, certify and monitor the performance of interventionists to deliver the Savvy Caregiver program (Savvy), an evidence-based dementia family caregiver psychoeducation program.


  • BSN, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Nursing (magna cum laude), 1972    
  • MS, Nursing (Psychiatric-Mental Health/Nursing Education), University of Minnesota, 1977
  • PhD, Education (Curriculum and Instructional Systems), University of Minnesota, 1992

Research Areas

Marsha Lewis has received 19 research grants and seven educational training-program grants from the National Institute of Nursing Research, the National Institute of Aging, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, the Alzheimer’s Association and the NIH-Fogarty International Research Collaboration.

Lewis’ grants have funded research that addresses a number of important issues in nursing and care giving, such as caregiver stress, online caregiver training and development, and testing of Hispanic and African American training programs related to Alzheimer’s disease. Her current research focus is on developing family caregiver skills for the promotion of calm behavior in persons with dementia.

Recent Publications

Refereed, Data based*

Forbat, L., Robinson, R., Bilton-Simek, R., Francois, K., Lewis, M., & Haraldsdottir, E. (2017). Distance education methods are useful for delivering education to palliative caregivers: A single-arm trial of an education package (Palliative Caregivers Education Package). Palliative Medicine, 32(2), 581-588. doi:10.1177/0269216317712849

Kirk, L., Smith, G. E., Gaugler, J. E., Hepburn, K., Knopman, D., & Lewis, M. (2017). Development and testing of a neuropsychiatric symptoms model in mild cognitive impairment. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 44(1), 21-30. doi:10.3928/00989134-20170908-02

Narayan, S., Varghese, M., Hepburn, K., Lewis, M., Paul, I., & Bhimani, R. (2015). Caregiving experiences of family members of persons with dementia in South India. American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias, 30(5), 508-516. doi:10.1177/1533317514567125

Lewis, M. L., Hobday, J. V., & Hepburn, K. W. (2010). Internet-based program for dementia caregivers. American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and other Dementias, 25(8), 674-679.

Hepburn, K., Lewis, M., Tornatore, J., Wexler Sherman, C., Lindstrom Bremer, K., & Dolloff, J. (2007) The Savvy Caregiver Program: The demonstrated effectiveness of a transportable dementia caregiver psychoeducation program. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 33(3), 30-36.

Lewis, M. L., Hepburn, K. W., Narayan, S., & Kirk, L. (2005). Relationship matters in dementia caregiving. American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and other Dementias, 20(6), 341-347.

Hepburn, K. W., Lewis, M., Narayan, S., Center, B., Tornatore, J., Lindstrom Bremer, K., & Kirk, L. (2005). Partners in caregiving: A psychoeducation program affecting dementia family caregivers’ distress and caregiving outlook. Clinical Gerontologist, 29(1), 53-69.

Hepburn, K., Lewis, M., Sherman, C. W., & Tornatore, J. (2003). The Savvy Caregiver Program: Developing and testing a transportable dementia family caregiver training program. The Gerontologist, 43(6), 908-915.

Hepburn, K., Lewis, M., Narayan, S., Tornatore, J., Bremer, K., & Sherman, C.  (2002). Discourse-derived perspectives: Differentiating among spouse’s experiences of caregiving.  American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 17(4), 213-226.

Hepburn, K., & Lewis, M. (2002). Effective dementia care: Lessons from a family caregiver training program. Home HealthCare Consultant, 9(4), 10-17.

Narayan, S., Lewis, M., Tornatore, J., Hepburn, K., & Corcoran-Perry, S.  (2001).  Subjective responses to caregiving for a spouse with dementia.  Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 27(3), 19-28.

Lewis, M., Hepburn, K., Narayan, S., Corcoran-Perry, S., Maddox, M., Lally, R., Dropkin, K., & Haase, S.  (2000). Decision making by family caregivers of elders experiencing dementia.  American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias, 15(6), 361-366.

Narayan, S., Hepburn, K., Lewis, M., & Corcoran-Perry, S. (2000). Decision-making focused education as a mediator of family caregiving stress. Neurobiology of Aging, 21(1S), S269.

Lewis, M., Hepburn, K., Narayan, S., Corcoran-Perry, S., & Lally, R.  (1999).  The Options, outcomes, values, likelihoods decision-making guide for patients and families. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 25(12), 19-25.

Honors and Awards

  • Lifetime Achievement Award, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh College of Nursing, 2016
  • Fellow, American Academy of Nurses, 2013
  • Team Excellence Award for Accelerated BSN Task Force, NWSHN, Emory University, 2010
  • Selected participant, Emory Academic Leadership Program, 2010