Melissa Lewis, PhD


Indigenous people suffer from the worst physical and mental health disparities in the country compared to other racial/ethnic groups.

MELISSA LEWIS partners with Indigenous communities to revitalize traditional lifeways that can ameliorate the negative affects of colonization, thereby improving health and well being. By revitalizing traditional beliefs, activities, culture, and language, Native communities are healing themselves from historical loss and trauma. In her research, Dr. Lewis has partnered with communities to create training protocols for mental and medical health professionals to provide better care for Indigenous patients and clients. She also partners with her own tribe, Cherokee Nation, to evaluate and co-create programs aimed to reduce cardiovascular disease by harnessing the power of cultural learning.

Academic Information

Assistant Professor


One Hospital Drive
MA306 Medical Sciences Building, DC032.00
Columbia, MO 65212
United States

P. 573-882-2782

Research Interests

  • Indigenous Health
  • Cardiovascular Disease Disparities
  • Stress and Trauma

Education & Training

Post-Graduate School

PhD: Medical Family Therapy, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC

Awards & Honors


Excellence in Indigenous Health Research Award

Leaders in Indigenous Medical Education


For a complete publication list, see: My Bibliography (NCBI Collections)          


An indigenous curriculum: improving the quality of care.
Minnesota Physician. 2018;32(5):26-29.
Lewis ME, Doerfler J.

Integrated care with indigenous populations: considering the role of health care systems in health disparities.
Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. 2018;29(3):1083-1107.
Lewis ME, Myhra LL.


Apathy and type 2 diabetes among American Indians: exploring the protective effects of traditional cultural involvement.
Journal of Health Care for the Poor & Underserved. 2017;28(2):770-783.
Carlson AE, Aronson BD, Unzen M, Lewis M, Benjamin GJ, Walls ML.

Integrated care with indigenous populations: a systematic review of the literature.
Am Indian Alsk Native Ment Health Res. 2017;24(3):88-110.
Lewis M, Prunuske A.

The development of an indigenous health curriculum for medical students.
Academic Medicine. 2017;92(5):641-648.
Lewis ME, Myhra LL.

The state of dyadic methodology: an analysis of the literature on interventions for military couples.
Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy. doi: 10.1080/15332691.2015.1106998 (2016).
Lewis ME, Lamson AL, White MB.

His and hers: the interface of military couples’ biological, psychological, and relational health.
Journal of Contemporary Family Therapy. doi: 10.1007/s10591-015-9344-8.
Trump L, Lamson AL, Lewis M, Muse A.

Reporting for double duty: a dyadic perspective on the biopsychosocial health of dual military Air Force couples.
Journal of Contemporary Family Therapy. doi: 10.1007/s10591-015-9341-y.
Lacks M, Lamson A, Lewis ME, Russoniello C, White M.