Roberto Lewis-Fernandez, MD
Professor of Psychiatry
Director, New York State Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence,
New York State Psychiatric Institute
Director, Hispanic Treatment Program,
New York State Psychiatric Institute
Dr. Roberto Lewis-Fernï¿½ndez is Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and Director of the NYS Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence and the Hispanic Treatment Program at New York State Psychiatric Institute. He is also Lecturer on Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard University.
Dr. Lewis-Fernï¿½ndezï¿½s research focuses on developing clinical interventions and novel service-delivery approaches to help overcome disparities in the care of underserved US cultural groups. His work centers on improving treatment engagement and retention in mental health and physical health care by persons with anxiety, depression, and other serious mental illnesses. He also studies the way culture affects individualsï¿½ experience of mental disorder and their help-seeking expectations, including how to explore this cultural variation during the psychiatric evaluation. Dr. Lewis-Fernï¿½ndezï¿½s work has been funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH), the American Red Cross, and private foundations like the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression. He has published over 80 articles and chapters on his areas of research.
He is a member of the National Advisory Mental Health Council of the NIMH, the chair of the Cultural Psychiatry Committee of the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, a member of the Anxiety Disorders Work Group and the chair of the Culture Subgroup of the Gender and Culture Study Group of the DSM-5, and a member of the Community Services Board of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Dr. Lewis-Fernï¿½ndez received his B.A. from Harvard College in 1979, a Masterï¿½s Degree in comparative religion from Harvard Divinity School in 1982, and his M.D. from Yale Medical School in 1986. He obtained his psychiatric training at The Cambridge Hospital (1986-90) and completed a Dupont-Warren psychiatric research fellowship (1990-91) and an NIMH-sponsored fellowship in clinically applied medical anthropology (1991-93) at Harvard Medical School. From 1993 to 1995, Dr. Lewis-Fernï¿½ndez worked for the Puerto Rico Health Department implementing an innovative mental health consultation-liaison program for rural primary care clinics.
Undergraduate: Harvard College, BA, 1975-1979
Graduate: Harvard Divinity School, Master of Theological Studies, 1980-1982
Medical School: Yale Medical School, MD, 1982-1986
Internship: The Cambridge Hospital, Combined program, 1986-1987
Residency: The Cambridge Hospital, Psychiatry, 1987-1990
Fellowship: Harvard Medical School, Dupont-Warren Fellowship and NIMH Fellowship in Clinically Applied Medical Anthropology, 1990-1993
Board Certifications: American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
• Cultural Psychiatry
• Health Services Research
• Anxiety Disorders
Click here for Dr. Lewis-Fernandez's Clinical Trials
NYS Psychiatric Institute
Room 3206 Unit/Box:69
1051 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10032
Dr. Lewis-Fernï¿½ndezï¿½s research focuses on developing clinical interventions and novel service-delivery approaches to help overcome disparities in the care of underserved US cultural groups. His work centers on improving treatment engagement and retention in mental health and physical health care by persons with anxiety, depression, and other serious mental illnesses. He also studies the way culture affects individualsï¿½ experience of mental disorder and their help-seeking expectations, including how to explore this cultural variation during the psychiatric evaluation.
To see a summary of his work, please visit:
Center for Excellence in Cultural Competence
Hispanic Treatment Program
1. Lewis-Fernï¿½ndez R, Aggarwal NK, Bï¿½ï¿½rnhielm B et al.: Culture and psychiatric evaluation: Operationalizing cultural formulation for DSM-5. Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes 2014;77: 130-154
2. Lewis-Fernï¿½ndez R, Balï¿½n IC, Patel SR: Impact of motivational pharmacotherapy on treatment retention among depressed Latinos. Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes 2013;76: 210-222
3. Lewis-Fernï¿½ndez R, Guarnaccia PJ, Ruiz P: Culture-bound syndromes, in Kaplan & Sadock's Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, New York, NY, USA, 2009
4. Alcï¿½ntara C, Casement M, Lewis-Fernï¿½ndez R: Conditional risk for PTSD among Latinos: A systematic review of racial/ethnic differences and sociocultural explanations. Clinical Psychology Review 2013;33: 107-119
5. Lewis-Fernï¿½ndez R, Hinton DE, Laria AJ: Culture and the anxiety disorders: Recommendations for DSM-V. Depression and Anxiety 2010;27: 212-229