Marva Lewis, PhD

School of Social Work

School of Medicine
Marva Lewis, PhD

Areas of Expertise

Racism-Based Stress And Birth Outcomes
Community-Based Parenting VPI Core Areas VPI Core Areas: #Child Maltreatment Angles of Approach #Societal Structural


Dr. Marva Lewis' research focuses on the development of culturally valid research methods, child abuse and neglect, and racism-based stress. Dr. Lewis uses culture-centered methods to prevent the intergenerational transmission of the legacies of the historical trauma of slavery such as the acceptance or rejection of children based on hair type and the practice of Colorism (valuing light skin color over darker skin tones). She is interested in the prevention and reduction of child abuse and neglect while strengthening parent-child attachment through the everyday ritual and routine of the hair combing task plus community-based parent support.


A Place For Natural Connections is a website that promotes the positive benefits of the daily task of combing hair as an opportunity for parents to connect with their children, culture, and community. With humor and sensitivity, the goal of all programs is acceptance of their child regardless of their skin color or hair type. APNC programs provide culturally centered parent groups.

Dr. Lewis's current research also includes a survey called "Childhood Experiences of Race-Based Trauma from Colorism: Messages of Skin Tone and Hair Type."


Lewis, M. L., Editor, D. Weatherston, Co-Ed. (Forthcoming, 2021) Therapeutic cultural routines to build family relationships. Talk, touch and listen while combing hair, Springer.