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LIFE Lab

We research the life course, intergenerational interactions, family networks, and human engagement among underserved and underrepresented populations.

Current Research Projects

Cambodian Laotian Community Strengths and Resilience Project

Funded by the Gulf Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (Research-Practice Grant Number 2000008280), this mixed methods community-based participatory research project examines how Cambodian and Laotian families and communities in Mobile County, Alabama respond to environmental stressors and disasters.

Recent Publications and Presentations

  • Lewis, D. C. & Young, S. S. (Accepted: Expected Publication Date: July 2019). Powerful in flight: Cambodian and Karen refugee narratives of strength and resilience. Migration Letters.(Impact factor .62).
  • Lewis, D. C. & Rödlach. A. (Accepted: Expected Publication Date: July 2019). Resilience and wellbeing: Case studies in forced migration. Migration Letters.(Impact factor .62).
  • Lewis, D.C. (2019). Cambodian and Laotian Communities in Bayou La Batre: Raise 251.2. Featured PhotoVoice presentation at Alabama Contemporary Art Center, Mobile, AL. Feb 8-Mar 29, 2019.
  • Seponski, D.M, & Lewis, D.C. (March, 2019). Disaster preparedness among Cambodian & Laotian Immigrants in the Gulf Coast of Alabama: Systemic considerations. International Family Therapy Association Annual Congress, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.

Outreach

Refugee Responsiveness Program

Primary Investigators: Denise C. Lewis, Ph.D. and Desiree M. Seponski, Ph.D.

With a team of researchers, we have developed a series called Refugee Responsiveness Program (RRP) in collaboraton with Jubilee Partners, a refugee resettlement organization. RRP consists of a comprehensive set of 2-hour interactive workshops teaching a variety of topics of locally identitified interests and needs for refugee families in the U.S., including nutrition, dental health, women's health, parenting, legalities/citizenship, finances, employment, mental health, and culture shock.

Implementation

2017-Present: Danielle A. Augustine

2015-2017: Charity Mokgaetji Somo

2014-2016: Savannah Spivey Young

Project LEAF

Project LEAF (Learning through the Environment, Art, and Food) serves multicultural children and teens in Georgia. Through this developmentally appropriate, culturally sensitive program, children learn how to balance their family heritage with their development in the rural Southeastern U.S. by learning about their environment, foods and nutrition, and art and identity. Collaborating with Casa de Amistad, a local nonprofit serving the local Hispanic community, LEAF facilitators work with young Hispanic children (ages 4-12) to teach lessons on one of four overarching topics: Foods and Nutrition; Environment and Hygiene; Art and Identity; and Self-Regulation.

All Publications and Presentations

    • Lewis, D. C. & Young, S. S. (Accepted: Expected Publication Date: July 2019). Powerful in flight: Cambodian and Karen refugee narratives of strength and resilience. Migration Letters.(Impact factor .62).

    • Lewis, D. C. & Rödlach. A. (Accepted: Expected Publication Date: July 2019). Resilience and wellbeing: Case studies in forced migration. Migration Letters.(Impact factor .62).

    • Lewis, D.C. (2019). Cambodian and Laotian Communities in Bayou La Batre: Raise 251.2.  Featured PhotoVoice presentation at Alabama Contemporary Art Center, Mobile, AL. Feb 8-Mar 29, 2019.

    • Lewis, D. C. & Spivey Young, S. (2018). Parallel Pasts, Presents, and Futures: Narratives of Cambodian and Karen Refugees in the United States. In A. Garnier, L. Jubilut, and B. Sandvik (Eds.), Refugee Resettlement: Power, Politics and Humanitarian Governance

    • Muruthi, J. R., & Lewis, D. C. (In press). Old age economic security: Views of Kenyan rural-dwelling older individuals. Journal of Ethnographic & Qualitative Research.

    • Muruthi, J. R., & Lewis, D. C. (2017). Cambodian refugee families: Impacts of immigration-related stressors on intergenerational relationships. Journal Of Intergenerational Relationships, 15(2), 125- 142. 

    • Young, S. S., Lewis, D. C., Oshri, A., Gilbey, P., Eisenman, A., Schuster, R. J., & Seponski, D. M. (2017). Humanitarian healthcare: treating Syrian patients in Israeli hospitals. International Journal Of Human Rights In Healthcare, 10(2), 96-109. 

    • Morrissey Stahl, K., Bower, K. L., Seponski, D. M., Lewis, D. C., Farnham, A. & Cava, Y., (2017). A practitioner’s guide to end-of-life intimacy for older adults: Suggestions for conceptualization and intervention in palliative care. OMEGA: Journal of Death and Dying

    • Spivey, S., & Lewis, D. C. (2017). The interloping researcher: Conducting mixed methods research in Israeli hospitals. SAGE Research Methods Case Health.

    • Muruthi, J. R. & Lewis, D. C., (2016). Factors impacting old-age economic security: Views of Kenyan rural-dwelling older adults. Journal of Ethnographic & Qualitative Research, 2(1). 72-86. ISSN: 1935-3308.

    • Young, S. S., Lewis, D. C., Gilbey, P., Eisenman, A., Schuster, R., & Seponski, D. M. (2016). Conflict and Care: Israeli Healthcare Providers and Syrian Patients and Caregivers in Israel. Global Qualitative Nursing Research, 31. doi:10.1177/2333393616666584

    • Farnham, A., & Lewis, D. (2014). Older Adult Sexual Intimacy: A cross sectional narrative analysis of depictions in the media.

    • Farnham, A., Lewis, D., & Muruthi, J. (2014). Best Practices in Cross-Cultural Research: Intergenerational transmission of trauma in Cambodian refugee families.

    • Farnham, A., Lewis, D. & Muruthi, J.  (2014). Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma: An Autoethnography.  

    • Lewis, D. C.,  & Spivey, S. E. (2014). Immigrant and refugee families. In S. K. Whitbourne & K. Roberto (eds), Encyclopedia of Adulthood and Aging, Wiley-Blackwell.

    • Spivey, S. E. & Lewis, D. C., (2016). Harvesting from a repotted plant: A qualitative study of Karen refugees and foodways. Journal of Refugee Studies, 29(1). 60-81. doi: 10.1093/jrs/fev013.

    • Gilbey, P., & Spivey, S. E. (2014). Healing the enemy: The personal narrative of an Israeli surgeon.
    • Gangidi, V., Lewis, D. C. (Expected Publication Date: November 2019). Program Implementation For Adolescent Cambodian Immigrants To Assess the Prevalence of Culture-Bound Syndromes. Proceedings of the 33rd National Conference on Undergraduate Research.
    • DeYoung, S.E., Lewis, D.C, Seponski, D.M., Augustine, D.A., & Phal, M. (Revising). Disaster preparedness among Cambodian-and Laotian-Americans. Disaster Prevention & Management.
    • Young., S. S., Muruthi, B. A., Chou, J. (Under review). Freedom behind the fence: Feminist borderland theory and resettled Karen families. Feminist Family Therapy.
    • Jordan, L., Seponski, D. M.,Young, S. S., Armes, S. (Under review). Testimonial Therapy with Resettled Refugees: Connecting Families and Communities.
      Contemporary Family Therapy.
    • Bower, K.L., Morrissey Stahl, K., Lewis, D.C., Seponski, D.M. (Under review). Considerations for practitioners caring for sexual and gender minorities at the end of life. 
    • Seponski, D.M, & Lewis, D.C. (March, 2019). Disaster preparedness among Cambodian & Laotian Immigrants in the Gulf Coast of Alabama: Systemic considerations. International Family Therapy Association Annual Congress, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.
    • Lewis, D.C., Seponski, D.M., & DeYoung, S.E. (February, 2019). Disaster resilience data gathering in Gulf Coast immigrant populations: Preliminary Findings. Symposium presentation at the Society for Cross-Cultural Research 48th Annual Conference, Jacksonville, FL.  
    • DeYoung. S.E, Phal, M., Seponski, D.M., & Lewis, D.C. (February, 2019). Levels and concepts of disaster preparedness and evacuation from quantitative and qualitative data. Society for Cross-Cultural Research 48th Annual Conference, Jacksonville, FL.  
    • Phal, M., DeYoung, S.E., Lewis, D.C., & Overmyer, E. (February, 2019). Challenges and success of a disaster preparedness survey administered survey in Cambodian and Laotian American communities. Society for Cross-Cultural Research 48th Annual Conference, Jacksonville, FL.  
    • Augustine, D. A., DeYoung, S.E., Lewis, D.C., & Mercurio, J. (February, 2019). Environmental disasters, environmental justice, and the Cambodian and Laotian communities: Long-term vulnerability reinforced by short-term hazard planning. Society for Cross-Cultural Research 48th Annual Conference, Jacksonville, FL.  
    • Overmyer, E., Gangidi, V., & Lewis. D.C., (February, 2019). Providers’ and employers’ interactions with coastal Cambodian and Laotian communities. Society for Cross-Cultural Research 48th Annual Conference, Jacksonville, FL.  
    • Basilio, R., & Lewis, D.C. (February, 2019). Lessons of resilience within a life history. Society for Cross-Cultural Research 48th Annual Conference. Jacksonville, FL. 
    • Phal, M. & Lewis, D.C. (March, 2018). The Household Production of Health: A Case Study of Mental Health Utilization in Cambodia, International Family Therapy Association. Bangkok, Thailand 
    • Augustine, D.A., & Lewis, D. C. (February, 2018). Southeast Asian refugees’ civic engagement, generativity, and well-being. Society for Cross-cultural Research, Feb. 23, 2018. Las Vegas, NV.

    • Phal, M., Lewis, D. C. , & Seponski, D.M. (February, 2018). Community-based participatory research: The importance of community involvement in addressing health disparities among Southeast Asian immigrants. Society for Cross-cultural Research, Feb. 23, 2018. Las Vegas, NV.

    • Tadik, Y.C., & Lewis, D. C. (February, 2018). Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) from Asia: Fear, uncertainty, and invisibility. Society for Cross-cultural Research, Feb. 23, 2018. Las Vegas, NV.

    • Augustine, D. A. & Lewis, D.C. (July, 2017). Aging Filipino Immigrants' Generativity: Collectivistic Ideology and Socioemotional Development. Poster presentation at the 21st International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics, World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics, San Francisco, CA.
    • Muruthi, J.R. & Lewis, D.C. (July, 2017). Mental health service utilization among aging Latino and Asian Americans: The role of social capital. Poster presentation at the 21st International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics, World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics, San Francisco, CA.
    • Augustine, D.A., Kyle L. Bower, & Lewis, D.C. (March, 2017). Filipino generativity, collectivism, and migration: Successful socioemotional development in the U.S. Symposium presentation at 46th annual Meeting of the Society for Cross-Cultural Research, New Orleans, LA.
    • Bower, K. L., Byrd, J.J., McGarrah, M.K, & Lewis, D.C. (March, 2017). Fluidity of identity among older gay men. Symposium presentation at the 46th annual meeting of the Society for Cross Cultural Research, New Orleans, LA.
    • Jones, A.C., & Lewis, D.C. (March, 2017). Conceptualizing the production of household health among Cambodian refugees in the United States. Symposium presentation at the 46th annual meeting of the Society for Cross-Cultural Research, New Orleans, LA. 
    • Schramski, A.C., Augustine, D.A., & Lewis, D.C. (March, 2017). Filipino social networks and their influence on settlement experience. Symposium presentation at the 46th annual meeting of the Society for Cross-Cultural Research, New Orleans, LA.
    • Cava, Y., Spivey, S. E., & Lewis, D. C. (2016). Family systems theory in the study of Muslim families: A Middle Eastern perspective. Society for Cross-cultural Research. Poster. Portland, OR. 
    • Augustine, D.A., Tolentino, D., & Lewis, D. C.  (2015). Perceptions of a transnational journey: Migration from the Philippines and back. Society for Cross-cultural Research, Albuquerque, NM.
    • Lewis, D. C., Farnham, A., & Muruthi, J. R. (2015). Cultural and family protective factors buffering transmission of trauma in Cambodian refugees. Society for Cross-cultural Research. Albuquerque, NM.
    • Muruthi, J. R. & Lewis, D. C. (2013). Elderly Cambodian refugees' narratives of conflict and balance in intergenerational relations. Society for Cross-cultural Research. Mobile, AL.
    • Spivey, S. E. & Lewis, D. C., (2013). Telling stories through food:  Elderly refugees from Myanmar and intergenerational transmission of culture through foodways knowledge. Society for Cross-cultural Research. Mobile, AL.
    • Lewis, D.C. (2019, March). Putting research on resiliency into practice: Cambodian and Laotian communities’ household production of health. Invited presentation at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Sharing Knowledge to Build a Culture of Health.4th Annual Conference, Houston, TX.

    • Lewis, D.C., Seponski, D.M., & DeYoung, S.E. (2019, February). Identifying gaps at the intersection of spiritual displacement, environmental justice, and community power. Symposium. Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference, New Orleans, LA.

    • Hanks, R.S. (2019, February). Time after time: Multiple traumas and the path to community power. Presentation at the 2019 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference (GoMOSES), National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, New Orleans, LA.

    • Moss, B., Lio, S., Hanks, R., Min, H., & Wraight, S. (2019, February). Getting to the table: Preliminary results of individual Interviews with EMS Managers in Bayou La Batre, AL. Paper presented at the 2019 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference, New Orleans, LA.

    • Wraight, S., Hanks, R., Lio, S., Min, H., & Moss, B. (2019, February). Complex Coordination of Disaster Management: Potential Uses of GIS Analysis of EMS and Community Centers in Bayou La Batre, AL. Paper presented at the 2019 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference, New Orleans, LA.

    • DeYoung, S.E., Lewis, D.C., & Seponski, D.M., (2019, February). Perceptions of sea-level rise, well-being, and community in Cambodian and Laotian Americans living in the Gulf Coast Region of the United States. Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference, New Orleans, LA.

    • Phal, M., Seponski, D.M., & Lewis, D.C. (2018, November). Contextualizing the health of Cambodian families living in poverty, National Council on Family Relations, San Diego, CA.

    • Augustine, D.A., & Lewis, D.C. (2018, November). “The wind blows from north to south.” Generativity in refugee organizations. Poster presentation at the National Council on Family Relations, San Diego, CA.

    • Lewis, D.C., Young, S. S., & Augustine, D.A. (2017). Shifting ethnic identity: Southeast Asian families in the United States. National Council on Family Relations, Orlando, FL.

    • Bower, K.L. & Lewis, D.C. (November, 2016). Progressive and Conservative Clinical Care Settings: Social capital among older gay men with HIV. Late-breaker Poster. 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, New Orleans, LA, USA.
    • Bower, K.L., Kemp, C., Burgess, E.O., & Atkins, J. (November, 2016). “God bless ‘em, God bless us all”: Caregiver stressors and strengths. Presentation. 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, New Orleans, LA, USA.
    • Muruthi, J. R., & Bower. K. (November, 2016 ). Mental health services usage among Asian and Latino Elders: Results from the NLAAS study. Poster presented at Gerontological Society of America Conference, New Orleans, LA.
    • Bower, K.L., Morrissey Stahl, K., Seponski, D.M., & Lewis, D.C. (August, 2016). An Ecological Systems Analysis of End-of-Life Intimacy. Paper Presentation. Groves Conference on Marriage and Family, Denver, CO, USA.
    • Bower, K.L. & Lewis, D. C. (November, 2015). Exploring the use of end-of-life services among gay men and their families. Presentation. 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, Orlando, FL, USA.
    • Augustine, D.A., Lewis, D.C., Tolentino, D., & Chen, H.M. (November, 2015). Filipinos’ perceptions of immigration to the U.S. Poster presentation at the 2015 National Council on Family Relations Annual Conference.
    • Farnham, A. & Lewis, D. C., (2015). Silent death of sexual intimacy: Confronting cultural bias about aging and sexuality. Workshop. American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, Austin, TX.

    • Morrissey-Stahl, K., & Farnham, A. (2015). Aging and Sexuality: Challenges and opportunities. Poster presentation at the National Multicultural Conference and Summit.

    • Farnham, A., Muruthi, J. R., & Lewis, D. C. (2014). Best practices in cross cultural research: Discussion of intergenerational transmission of trauma in Cambodian refugee families. National Council on Family Relations, Baltimore, MD.

    • Lewis, D.C., Bower, K.L., Duncan, J.C., Farnham, A., Morrisey Stahl, K., Muruthi, J.R., Scheckler, S., & Spivey, S.E. (November 2014). Dimensions of change in marginalized populations: Global research challenges and processes. Symposium. National Conference of Family Relations, Baltimore, MD, USA.

    • Lewis, D. C. (2014). The L.I.F.E. Lab focus on dimensions of change in research with marginalized populations: Global challenges and processes. Symposium chair.  National Council on Family Relations, Baltimore, MD.
    • Lewis, D. C., & Spivey, S. E. (2014). Successes and Challenges of Ethnographic Research with Refugee Populations. National Council on Family Relations, Baltimore, MD.
    • Morrissey-Stahl, K., & Farnham, A. (2014). Sexuality and Aging: Navigating uncomfortable topics as a new professional. Poster presentation at the National Council for Family Relations.
    • Muruthi, J. R. & Lewis, D. C. (2013). Aging in a refugee family context: Views and perspectives of Alabama-dwelling older Cambodian elders. National Council on Family Relations, San Antonio, TX.
      Spivey, S. E. & Lewis, D. C. (2013). Foodways in the Karen refugee family: How intergenerational relationships can inform cultural identity for children and grandchildren. National Council on Family Relations, San Antonio, TX.

    • Anderson, L. A., Augustine, D.A., Karlsen, A., Walsdorf, A., & Lewis, D.C (2019, March). Cultivating connections: Bridging the gap between the community and the academy. Panel discussion at the 43rd Annual Quint State Symposium on Child & Human Development, University of Georgia, Athens, GA.

    • Gangidi, V., Lewis, D. C. (2019, April). Initial Program Stages for Adolescent Cambodian Refugees in Assessing the Prevalence of Culture-Bound Syndromes. Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities Symposium, Athens, GA.

    • Mercurio, J., Lewis, D. C. (2019, April). Improving Health Care Experiences for Cambodian Refugees Through Bridging Western and Traditional Medicine. Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities Symposium, Athens, GA.

    • Augustine, D.A., Bower, K.L, & Lewis, D.C. (2018). A conceptualization of cultural generativity through the intergenerational transmission of language. Poster presentation at the Southern Gerontological Society, Buford, GA.

    • Mercurio, J., & Lewis, D.C. (2018). A hierarchy of medicine in a Cambodian refugee community. 7th Annual Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference. November 3, 2018.

    • Gangidi, V., & Lewis, D.C. (2018).  The influence of culture on Southeast Asian adolescent refugees in diagnosing trauma. 7thAnnual Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference. November 3, 2018.

    • Sim, S.C., Augustine, D.A., & Lewis, D.C. (2017). Environmental disasters and mental health: Southeast Asian immigrants in the U.S. Poster presentation at the HDFS Undergraduate Poster Symposium.

    • Burke, S.E., Augustine, D. A., & Lewis, D.C., (2017). Assimilating refugees: A volunteer guide. Poster presentation at the 6th Annual Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference (October 28, 2017).

    • Sim, S.C., Augustine, D.A., & Lewis, D.C., (2017). Environmental disasters and mental health: Southeast Asian immigrants in the U.S. Poster presentation at the 6th Annual Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference (October 28, 2017). 

    • Bower, K. L., Byrd, J.J., McGarrah, M.K, & Lewis, D.C. (February, 2017). Fluidity of identity among older gay men. Poster presentation at the 3rd Annual Human Development and Family Science Undergraduate and Graduate Research Symposium, University of Georgia, Athens, GA. (2nd place award).
    • Jones, A.C., & Lewis, D.C. (February, 2017). Conceptualizing the production of household health among Cambodian refugees in the United States. Poster presentation at the 3rd Annual Human Development and Family Sciences Undergraduate and Graduate Research Symposium. (3rd place award).
    • Schramski, A.C., Augustine, D.A., & Lewis, D.C. (2017). The influence of social networks on adjustment and assimilation among Filipino immigrants during settlement in the United States. Poster presentation at the HDFS Undergraduate and Graduate Research Symposium, Athens, GA. (1st place award).
    • Jones, A.C. & Lewis, D.C. (November, 2016). Household production of health: Cambodian refugees’ health strategies in the United States. Poster presentation at the 5th Annual Southeast Regional Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference (GURC), Milledgeville, GA.
    • McGarrah, M., Bower, K. L., & Lewis, D. C. (November, 2016). Negotiating ego integrity within the context of sexuality: A case study. Presentation at the 5th Annual Southeast Regional Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference (GURC), Milledgeville, GA.
    • Schramski, A.C., Augustine, D.A., & Lewis, D.C. (November, 2016). The influence of social networks on adjustment and assimilation among Filipino immigrants during settlement in the United States. Poster presentation at the 5th Annual Southeast Regional Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference (GURC), Milledgeville, GA.
    • Augustine, D.A. & Lewis, D.C. (2015). Filipinos’ journeys to the United States. Poster presentation at the University of Georgia 2015 Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities Symposium, Athens, GA.
    • Augustine, D.A & Lewis, D.C. (2015). Filipinos’ perceptions of the immigration journey to the United States. Poster presentation at the University of Georgia Department of Human Development and Family Science Undergraduate Symposium, Athens, GA.
    • Spivey, S., Duncan, J., Tolentino, D., & Lewis, D. C. (2014). Research through outreach: Project LEAF – Learning through the environment, art and food. Presentation at the Southeastern Symposium on Child and Family Development Conference in Knoxville, TN. 
  • Lewis, D.C. (PI), Seponski, D.M.. Harris, C., DeYoung, S. & Waltz, T. (2017). Community and Family Resilience, Strength, and Vulnerabilities: Sociocultural Influences on Cambodian and Laotian Refugee Communities' Responses to Environmental Challenges. Funded by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. NAS Grant # 2000008280. $3,076,000.00. 

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