Skip to main content

Leslie R. Lewis

Continuing Lecturer

Leslie R. Lewis
  • 9500 Gilman Dr
    Office: Social Sciences Building, Room 342
    La Jolla , California 92093


Leslie R Lewis, Ph.D, MPH, is a Continuing Lecturer, and the Director of Urban Health and Equity Initiatives in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at UC San Diego.  Dr. Lewis' research interests include the social, environmental, and structural determinants of health, systems of inequality and their health impacts across the lifecourse, social and religious activisms, critical medical anthropology, healthy placemaking, and community-based participatory action research.  In her courses, Dr. Lewis tries to illuminate and critically interrogate the broader systems, structures, ideologies, and policies that shape our experiences of identity formation, wellbeing, illness and disability, aging, inclusion, rootedness, and civic engagement. Dr. Lewis is deeply invested in fostering the intellectual and emotional growth of her students, as well as in addressing “real world” challenges and injustices across our communities. As such, she works to create opportunities for students to connect with one another, with social change agents in local communities, and with global projects with transformative potential at their core.   Dr. Lewis has received multiple awards for teaching, advising, and promoting sustainability, equity and inclusion over the course of her years in higher education.  Most recently, in 2017, she was honored with three teaching awards: a prestigious Barbara and Paul Saltman Distinguished Teaching Award from the Academic Senate, a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Distinguished Teaching Award, and an Outstanding Professor Award from the UCSD Panhellenic Greek Community.

In addition to her teaching, Dr. Lewis is active with students and communities, both locally and internationally.  She is the founder and Director of the Community Hope Project, an all-volunteer run, non-profit organization that works to create conditions that foster peace, justice, health, wellbeing and resilient, inclusive communities.  She directs the Youth Scholar Activist Program, which unites high school students from San Diego with UC San Diego undergraduates for collaborative learning, critical analysis, leadership development and activities that promote social and environmental justice across local and international communities.  Dr. Lewis is also Co-Director of the Life Course Scholar Program, an interdisciplinary, cross-generational, multi-site learning experience for UC San Diego undergraduates aimed at transforming their understanding of aging, health, learning and research while connecting them more deeply to the “people and places” of surrounding San Diego communities.

  • Ph.D., Cultural and Psychological Anthropology, University of California San Diego, 2010
  • M.A., Anthropology, University of California San Diego, 2002
  • M.P.H., Community Health Education and Epidemiology, University of Massachusetts, 1994
  • B.A., Anthropology, University of California Los Angeles, 1990