Called a “role model of professional excellence,” scholar and innovator, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumna Marsha Lewis was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the College of Nursing’s recent 50th anniversary celebration.
Lewis, a 1972 graduate of UW Oshkosh who is the nursing dean at the University of Buffalo (N.Y.) School of Nursing, returned to her alma mater and was honored as the first-ever lifetime achievement winner in the UW Oshkosh College of Nursing.
“I was so humbled and honored to be given the award, particularly from my alma mater,” Lewis said. “What struck me most during the evening were the students who were so enthusiastic, interested in my career and so respectful.”
Lewis said her experiences in the UW Oshkosh College of Nursing were the foundation of her career.
“Nursing is both an art and a science, and a nurse must have scientific knowledge and clinical judgement along with the relationship skills of listening, respect and empathy needed to meet the patient’s needs,” she said. “I learned this at UWO and am proud to be an alumna of this fine institution.”
Lewis is an internationally recognized nursing educator with more than 30 journal publications and more than $10.6 million in grant funding, according to the University of Buffalo (UB) news center.
A specialist in psychiatric-mental health and nursing education, her research focuses on family caregivers of people with dementia and decision making for patients and families.
She is the developer of the Savvy Caregiver training program, a transportable intervention that can be facilitated by community members. The program is implemented across 15 states and two countries, and was heralded as one of the nation’s top evidence-based programs for caregivers by the U.S. Administration on Aging, the UB news center said.
“Dr. Lewis is an accomplished graduate-level nurse educator, with more than 30 publications, millions of dollars in funded grants, presentations at the national and international level that earned her recognition as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing,” according to her nomination by Rosemary Smith, emeritus dean of the College of Nursing at UW Oshkosh. “She facilitated her scholarship into measurable innovations in clinical practice for patients/families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, served with distinction in mid-level and dean-level leadership positions at research universities, earned a variety of awards and is recognized as a leader on the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education Board of Commissioners, Accreditation Review and Report Review Committees.
Lewis is the first UW Oshkosh nursing graduate to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, chosen for her leadership and excellence in nursing and her contributions to clinical practice, nursing education and research.
“In the 38 years that I served as faculty member, director and dean of the College of Nursing, there is no other graduate that stands out with as stellar a career as Dr. Marsha Lewis,” Smith said. “Her practice, teaching, scholarly accomplishments, interdisciplinary work, service and leadership are exemplars of consistent excellence leading to high-quality outcomes. Dr. Lewis’ achievements rank her in a tier of nursing professionals that few have achieved.”
Lewis earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in nursing from the University of Minnesota, and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from UW Oshkosh. She was named dean of the UB School of Nursing in 2012, previously serving as associate dean for education in the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University.
She has received 19 research grants and seven educational training program grants from the National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institute of Aging, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, the Alzheimer’s Association and NIH-Fogarty International Research Collaboration.