Above all else, Chris Lewis, MD, cares about his community. His roles at the UC College of Medicine—Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Assistant Dean of the Office of Diversity and Community Affairs—make his passion for community clear. But for Lewis, a Cincinnati-native, community extends far beyond the tri-state area.
A true global citizen, Lewis has dedicated much of his professional career to bringing medical care to communities all over the world, but specifically to remote villages in the East African country of Tanzania. In 2004, Lewis founded Village Life Outreach Project, a nonprofit organization with a mission to “unite communities to promote Life, Health and Education.”
The Village Life Outreach Project completes two trips per year to remote, impoverished villages in Tanzania’s Rorya district. While the first few trips focused on treating patients in mobile field clinics, the project has expanded to help the local communities thrive beyond providing medical care. The team works with village leaders and the local NGO to identify villagers’ primary concerns and create solutions to address them that the villagers can own moving forward.
To date, the Village Life Outreach Project has treated more than 10,000 patients, set up a regional water testing facility and conducted clean water workshops, partnered with UC’s Engineers Without Borders chapter to build a new school, established a feeding program in three primary schools, and much more.
Lewis acts as a human bridge between his community here in Cincinnati, and those who he meets on his trips to Tanzania. He and the Village Life Outreach Project have connected local students with those in Tanzania to collaborate on projects in art, vocabulary and global citizenship.
Lewis is entrenched in the Cincinnati community, doing everything possible to provide the best service to community members and recruit and train doctors that represent people in the community.
"Our community relationships engender a source of pride, a source of commitment, and responsibility to serve the people here,” said Lewis. “The College of Medicine benefits from our position in the community, and the community benefits from having The College of Medicine here, but I think those two are indispensable."