Profile picture of Lisa Abia-Smith

Lisa Abia-Smith

Senior Instructor I
Director of Education/JS Museum of Art
Disability Studies, PPPM
Phone: 541-346-0966
Office: 1430 Johnson Lane
Research Interests: Arts and Healthcare, Marginalized Communities, Art Education, Disabilities Studies, Museum Studies, Arts Management,


Abia-Smith Bio

Lisa Abia-Smith holds a joint appointment at the University of Oregon as the Senior Director Director of Education and Senior Instructor I in the College of Design-Planning, Public Policy, and Management, teaching courses in arts and healthcare, arts management, museum studies, and accessible arts curriculum development. Before her hire at the UO, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Art Education at SUNY Buffalo State College (BSC) from 1995 to 1997, where she taught courses in art and museum education. She was hired by BSC to create the nation’s first concentration program in Museum Education for Special Needs for the Master’s Degree of Art Education. She has held positions as the Education Curator at the Jewish Museum in San Francisco, Natural Science Teacher at the Oakland Museum of California, and was an art educator at the Rose Resnick Lighthouse for the Blind in San Francisco. Lisa has served on the Oregon Task Force developing and updating Oregon’s Core Content Standards for the Arts and has served as a reviewer and contributor for the art teacher PRAXIS tests for Oregon. Lisa earned a master’s degree in Museum Studies from John F. Kennedy University, a bachelor’s degree in art from St. Mary’s College of California, and studied art history and painting at Leo Marchutz Art School in France.

She is director and founder of the Art of the Athlete program and she presents nationally and internationally at conferences on arts/healthcare/marginalized communities. She is author of numerous publications including “Preparing the Mind and Learning to See: Art Museums as Training Grounds for Medical Students”, published by Routledge Press. She has presented on her research in this area Internationally the last 7 years, including sharing her research at the Sorbonne University in Paris in June of this year. Lisa’s work as a Narrative Medicine Facilitator and guest faculty at Oregon Health Sciences University has enabled her to work closely with medical faculty where they have just completed a research study determining the impact of a curriculum she developed which aims to improve implicit bias awareness in 3rd year medical students as well as increasing empathy.

Her recent book chapter, “Museums as Prescription” contributes to the upcoming publication, Welcoming Museum Visitors with Unapparent Disabilities,  and will be published by the American Alliance of Museums/Rowman and Littlefield in 2024.