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Lisa Pepper Gwyther

Associate Professor Emeritus in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Adult Psychiatry & Psychology
Box 3600 Med Ctr, Durham, NC 27710
750 Weaver Dairy Rd Apt 3107,, Chapel Hill, NC 27514


Lisa Gwyther, MSW, LCSW, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Co-Director for the Social Work Professional Unit.  Ms. Gwyther (along with Co-Director William Meyer, MSW, LCSW) provide mentorship to the department’s social workers and communicates the needs of the department’s social workers to senior leadership.

Ms. Gwyther is approaching her fourth decade of service dedicated to help the increasing number of individuals and families living with Alzheimer's and related diseases.   The focus of her work has been in the community as a representative of the Duke Center for Aging,  the Bryan Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and the Duke Family support program.   She has had continuous annual contracts from the NC DHHS Division of Aging since 1984, reaching families, health and social service professionals in communities throughout North Carolina.  She is the founder and Director of the Duke Center for Aging’s Alzheimer’s Family Support Program, which was named “Agency of the Year” by the NC Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers in 1999.

Ms. Gwyther received her graduate training in social work at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. She has published over 144 articles, book chapters, and books on Alzheimer’s care and family caregiving research. She served on the U.S. federal advisory panel on Alzheimer’s disease for nine years. Ms. Gwyther was recognized in the 20th anniversary issue of Contemporary Long-Term Care as one of the 20 people who made a difference in U.S. long-term care during those twenty years. She was named a distinguished social work practitioner by the National Academies of Practice.

Ms. Gwyther is the co-author of The Alzheimer’s Action Plan:  A Family Guide (2009), winner of two prestigious consumer health awards. 

Most recently she was a member of The National Academies Committees on Cognitive Aging for the 2015 report: Cognitive Aging: Progress in Understanding and Opportunities for Action, and she co-chaired the NC Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Task Force of the NC Institute of Medicine and NC DHHS which issued a report and recommendations to the NC Legislature in April 2016.

Current research interests: Alzheimer's disease nursing home and assisted living care, community translation of evidence-based dementia caregiver interventions, early stage Alzheimer's programming, non-pharmacological approaches to dementia-related behavioral symptoms.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Associate Professor Emeritus in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences · 2021 - Present Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Adult Psychiatry & Psychology, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Senior Fellow in the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development · 1978 - Present Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, Institutes and Centers

Education, Training & Certifications

Case Western Reserve University · 1969 M.S.W.
Case Western Reserve University · 1967 B.A.