Trained as a social worker, community psychologist and gerontologist, Assistant Professor Jordan Lewis focuses on research related to cross-cultural community psychology and gerontology, with an emphasis on Alaska Native cultures.
In addition to a doctorate in community psychology, he also holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from University of Alaska Fairbanks and a Master of Social Work from Washington University, St. Louis. In addition to his teaching duties, he works with the School-affiliated Indigenous Wellness Research Institute, which is a National Center of Excellence.
One of his research interests is exploring the role that “generativity” plays in the mental and physical health of Alaska Native elders. This term, first used in the work of Erik Erikson, refers to one generation passing on its knowledge and experience to guide the development of the next. Through his studies of Alaska Native elders, Dr. Lewis found that healthy aging in Alaska Native communities not only promoted overall individual and community well-being but also preserved traditional cultures (cultural generativity).
His research identifies characteristics that enable Alaska Native elders to age well, overcome addiction issues, and become role models for their families and communities. Using the lessons and experiences of elders in long-term recovery, he is developing culturally tailored approaches for alcohol and drug abuse disorders.
Dr. Lewis was a contributor to Older Native Americans: The Handbook of Social Work in Health and Aging, published by Oxford University Press in 2013. He has presented papers at many national and international conferences, including meetings in Iceland, Norway and Sweden. In 2009, Dr. Lewis received the National Rural Aging and Public Health Research Award from the American Public Health Association and the following year, he won the Dennis Demmert Appreciation and Recognition Award from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.