Published May 31, 2022
Marsha L. Lewis, who has led the University at Buffalo School of Nursing through 10 years of growth in its core mission of education, research and community service, retired from UB at the end of the 2021-2022 academic year.
In her decade with the School of Nursing, Lewis has championed a culture that exemplifies the school’s values of accountability, respect and excellence while promoting collaboration, diversity and inclusion.
She created and implemented strategic plans that focus on improving health and quality of life through collaborative, interdisciplinary research and scholarship; delivering excellent nursing education programs including advancing clinical simulation, telehealth and interprofessional education; and expanding community partnerships and collaborations.
As dean, Lewis has been committed to building the school’s national and international reputation for research — from discovery to translation — that improves health care delivery, outcomes and equity. She increased administrative support for faculty scholarship, and the school has more than doubled its research expenditures under her leadership.
Recognizing that nursing is an increasingly global profession, Lewis has focused on internationalizing the school, providing students with a global perspective and unique learning opportunities that empower them to address complex health challenges. For example, the school has offered a variety of opportunities to provide health care and medical screenings to underserved populations around the world, including Haiti, Ghana, Senegal, Belize, the Philippines; refugee camps in Greece; and rural areas of the United States.
Lewis also built partnerships within UB and the local health care community to expand clinical opportunities for students and increase the school’s impact through community-based research and education.
The school received grants from the Health Resources and Services Administration to expand clinical sites for students, improve nursing services to Native American and other underserved populations, and enhance its curriculum. It expanded its dedicated education units, an innovative, clinical education model designed for nursing students to gain one- on-one learning experiences in acute care and community- based settings. And the school built on its position as a national leader in interprofessional education (IPE) by helping establish an excellent IPE program for UB’s Academic Health Center that prepares UB students across the health sciences to be collaborative-practice ready.
Her leadership during the pandemic helped ensure nursing students continued to receive safe and high-quality education.
Internally, Lewis created in 2015 a School of Nursing task force to focus on issues of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion, and she appointed an assistant dean for diversity and inclusion. The task force is now a standing committee named the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion ( JEDI) Committee.
The school is also working with UB’s health sciences schools and community organizations like Greater Buffalo United Ministries to eliminate health disparities among communities of color through the African American Health Equity Task Force and UB’s Community Health Equity Research Institute.
A fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and an internationally recognized scholar and leader in academic nursing, Lewis is a specialist in psychiatric-mental health and nursing education, with expertise in curriculum and instructional systems. She is the developer of the Savvy Caregiver training program for caregivers of people with dementia, which was heralded as one of the nation’s top evidence-based programs for caregivers by the U.S. Administration on Aging.
“My 10 years with the University at Buffalo’s School of Nursing have been the best of my 50-year nursing career,” Lewis said. “I am so proud of the great strides we have made together as a school and as a university. It is a great honor to be part of UB and the Western New York community.”