LaVonna Blair Lewis, Ph.D., MPH, is a Teaching Professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, and the Director of the USC Diversity in Healthcare Leadership Initiative. Dr. Lewis joined the USC faculty in 1996 and she was selected Professor of the Year at SPPD in 1998 and 2001. Dr. Lewis’ areas of research and professional interests consistently focus on cultural competency and health disparities, both targeting the health status and health care needs of underrepresented groups.
She is currently involved in multiple projects that address racial and ethnic health disparities in cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, and infant mortality. From 1999-2012 she worked with a Los Angeles based community based organization (CBO), the Community Health Councils, Inc., on the African American Building a Legacy of Health (AABLH) Project. The project, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was a community based project that explores individual, organizational, and community support for (and barriers to) healthy living, a key factor in reducing CVD and diabetes.
Additional funding from the CDC in the form of a Community Transformation Grant and REACH Demonstration grant will explore lessons learned in the AABLH project in other ethnic enclaves and communities in Los Angeles County. In addition, the new projects will work with additional partners and other types of community organizations, including schools and federally qualified health centers.
In her work with iDREAM For Racial Equity (formerly the Pasadena Birthing Project), she is exploring these same multi-level factors and their contribution to birth outcomes.
Her work has appeared in the American Journal of Public Health, Family and Community Health, the Journal of General Internal Medicine, and other health management and policy journals. Moreover, all of the work to date has employed a community based participatory research framework that partners with the relevant stakeholder groups in developing the research questions.