Our Director

Dr. Lewis Charles

Charles E. Lewis, Jr., MSW, PhD

Dr. Charles E. Lewis, Jr. is the Director of the Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy (CRISP). During his time on the Hill, serving as deputy chief of staff and communications director for former Congressman Edolphus “Ed” Towns, he was instrumental in creating the Congressional Social Work Caucus with the idea it would be a platform that would allow social workers to have more of a voice in Congress. While on the Hill as the staff coordinator for the Social Work Caucus, Dr. Lewis organized briefings for the National Association of Social Work (NASW), the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR).

In 2012, he founded CRISP as a 501(c)4 nonprofit, nonpartisan organization to complement the mission of the Social Work Caucus and to ensure its presence on the Hill as Congressional Member Organizations such as the Social Work Caucus must be recertified every two years prior to the start of the new Congress. Following Mr. Towns’ retirement in 2013, CRISP, under his leadership continues its works of encouraging and assisting social workers to engage with their Congressional representatives.

Dr. Lewis was inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Social Work and Welfare in recognition of his contribution to the emerging field of political social work. Since March of 2016, Dr. Lewis has coordinated a Social Work Day on the Hill where social workers from all walks of life gather to celebrate the many contributions our profession has made to Congress and the federal government. Each year CRISP brings hundreds of social work students to the Hill for our Student Advocacy Day on the Hill when learn to engage with congressional staff and advocate for legislation relevant to social work and the populations we serve.

Dr. Lewis is an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of Social Work and supervises students in the MSW policy concentration. He was also an adjunct professor at the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work at the University of Southern California where he taught communications courses in the Doctor of Social Work (DSW) program. He was on the faculty of Howard University School of Social Work prior to going to the Hill to work with Mr. Towns.

A professional social worker, Dr. Lewis received his M.S.W. degree in clinical counseling at the Whitney M. Young, Jr. School of Social Work at Clark Atlanta University. He earned his Ph.D. in social policy analysis at the Columbia University School of Social Work in 2002. He strongly believes that social workers have much to bring to the policy discussion because of their hands-on knowledge about the real-world experiences of people from all walks of life. Dr. Lewis has been a strong advocate for children’s mental health as president of the Mental Health Association of the District of Columbia and has published extensively about the need for early detection and treatment as a means to reduce the overrepresentation of African Americans and Latinos in the criminal justice system.

Dr. Lewis co-edited a book in 2011 with former Philadelphia Mayor Dr. W. Wilson Goode and Howard School of Divinity professor Dr. Harold Dean Trulear entitled, Ministry with Prisoners and Families: The Way Forward, presenting ideas to reduce the constant flow of young people of color into the criminal justice system by addressing their psychological and behavioral needs at an early age. He is a strong proponent for increased mental health services in schools. Speaking at a forum at the Center for American Progress titled: “Everyone Isn’t Obama: Black Men and Social Policy,” Dr. Lewis stated the over-representation of young people of color in the criminal justice system is the number one civil rights issue today for African Americans because of the economic and relational penalties incurred by individuals, families, and communities.