Terri Voepel-Lewis, Ph.D., RN

Dr. Terri Voepel-Lewis

Associate Professor
Associate Research Scientist, Department of Anesthesiology
Department of Health Behavior and Biological Sciences
400 N Ingalls, Room 2243

University of Michigan School of Nursing
400 North Ingalls Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5482

Telephone: (734) 615-3240
Terri Voepel-Lewis is accepting new PhD students.


  • Pediatric pain assessment and management
  • Analgesic safety
  • Opioid safety in the hospital
  • Opioid safety in the home setting
  • Medication misuse in children, adolescents, and emerging adults

 Dr. Terri Voepel-Lewis’s early clinical research focused on pain assessment and management in vulnerable populations of children with limited verbal ability. This work included development and testing of the Faces Leg Activity Cry Consolability (FLACC) observational pain assessment measure (supported with funding from the National Institute of Health) and clinical evaluation of the self-report Numeric Rating Scale. Dr. Voepel-Lewis’s work related to pain assessment yielded multiple peer-reviewed publications supporting the sensitivity of these measures and subsequently facilitated hundreds of pediatric prospective clinical pain studies internationally. Dr. Voepel-Lewis’s current research uses randomized and factorial research designs to enable the identification of latent factors that predict unsafe opioid decisions and that place children and adolescents at ongoing risk. She has also broadened her work to better understand risky analgesic decisions among older adolescents and emerging adults who self-manage their own pain. With aims to improve multi-modal pain management in vulnerable populations, reduce the risks of prescription opioids and minimize the capacity for future misuse in communities, Dr. Voepel-Lewis’s research has the potential to broadly influence practice and policy – particularly in light of rapidly shifting views and laws related to opioid prescribing and close alignment with the National Pain and Drug Control Strategies.


Current Research Grants and Programs

  • R01 DA044245-01 Scenario-tailored opioid messaging program: An interactive intervention to prevent analgesic- related adverse drugs events in children and adolescents NIH-DHHS-US-17-PAF05949. Voepel-Lewis, Terri Diane, Role: PI 09/2017-07/2020; $1,611,157
  • R01 NR017096-01A1 Resilience skills self-management for chronic pain Voepel-Lewis, Terri Role: Co-I with Effort (Principal Investigator: Hassett, Afton) 05/9/2017-02/28/2022; $2,549,712


Terri Voepel-Lewis has provided more than 60 invited lectures on the subject of pain and safe opioid use within the University setting, regionally, nationally and internationally. Additionally, she has provided mentorship for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as junior faculty for over twenty years. Her mentorship has, to date, focused on clinical research design and conduct and development of critical thinking skills. Dr. Voepel-Lewis has mentored more than 50 Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) students.

Notable Awards / Honors

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield MI Foundation Student Award, 2011
  • Honorable Mention, Blue Cross Blue Shield MI Foundation Excellence in Research, 2013
  • Midwest Nursing Research Society Graduate Student Research Scholars' Award, 2013
  • University of Michigan Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program Mentor of the Year, 2013
  • Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research 2018 Protégé Award, 2018


  • BS, Nursing, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 1980
  • MS, Nursing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 1988
  • PhD, Nursing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 2013

Publication Highlights

  • Voepel-Lewis T, Boyd CJ, McCabe SE, Zikmund-Fisher BJ, Malviya S, Grant J, Weber M, Tait AR. Deliberative prescription opioid misuse in adolescents and emerging adults: Evidence for targeted interventions. In press, J Adol Health, July 2018.

  • Voepel-Lewis T, Caird MS, Tait AR, Farley FA, Li GY, Malviya S, Hassett A, Weber M, Currier E, de Sibour T, Clauw D. A cluster of high psychological and somatic symptoms in children with idiopathic scoliosis predicts persistent pain and analgesic use one year after spine fusion. In press, Pediatr Anesth July 2018.

  • Voepel-Lewis T, Zikmund-Fisher BJ, Boyd CJ, Veliz PT, McCabe SE, Weber M, Tait AR: Effect of a Scenario-Tailored Opioid Messaging Program on Parents' Risk Perceptions and Opioid Decision-Making. Clin J Pain 2018;34:497-504. PMID 29135696

  • Harbaugh C, Lee JS, Brummett C, Englesbe MJ, Voepel-Lewis T, Hu HM, Waljee JF: High-risk pediatric opioid prescribing patterns after surgery in the United States. Pediatrics 2018;141(1) e20172439 PMID 29203521

  • Voepel-Lewis T, Caird MS, Tait AR, Malviya S, Farley FA, Li Y, Abbott MD, van Veen T, Hassett AL, Clauw DJ: A High Preoperative Pain and Symptom Profile Predicts Worse Pain Outcomes for Children After Spine Fusion Surgery. Anesth Analg 2017;124(5): 1594-1602. PM28319509

  • Voepel-Lewis T, Malviya S, Tait AR: Inappropriate Opioid Dosing and Prescribing for Children: An Unintended Consequence of the Clinical Pain Score? (Viewpoint) JAMA Pediatr 171(1): 5-6, 2017.

  • Voepel-Lewis T, Zikmund-Fisher BJ, Smith EL, Redman RW, Zyzanski S, Tait AR: Parents' Analgesic Trade-Off Dilemmas: How Analgesic Knowledge Influences Their Decisions to Give Opioids. Clin J Pain 32(3): 187-95, 2016. PM25232863

  • Voepel-Lewis T, Zikmund-Fisher BJ, Smith EL, Zyzanski S, Tait AR: Parents' preferences strongly influence their decisions to withhold prescribed opioids when faced with analgesic trade-off dilemmas for children: a prospective observational study. Int J Nurs Stud 52(8): 1343-53, 2015. PM26001855

  • Voepel-Lewis T, Zikmund-Fisher B, Smith EL, Zyzanski S, Tait AR: Opioid-related adverse drug events: Do parents recognize the signals? Clin J Pain 31(3): 198-205, 2015. PM24810650

  • Voepel-Lewis T, Wagner D, Tait AR: Leftover prescription opioids after minor procedures: An unwitting source for accidental overdose in children (Brief Research). JAMA Pediatr 169(5): 497-498, 2015. PM25798880

  • Lee LA, Caplan RA, Stephens LS, Posner KL, Terman GW, Voepel-Lewis T, Domino KB: Postoperative opioid-induced respiratory depression: A closed claims analysis. Anesthesiology 122(3): 659-665, 2015. PM25536092

  • Voepel-Lewis T: How reliable are 'valid and reliable' pain scores in the pediatric clinical setting? (Invited Review) Pain Manag 3(5): 343-50, 2013. PM24654867

  • Voepel-Lewis T, Burke CN, Jeffreys N, Malviya S, Tait AR: Do 0-10 numeric rating scores translate into clinically meaningful pain measures for children? Anesth. Analg. 112(2): 415-421, 2011. PM21127278

  • Voepel-Lewis T, Malviya S, Tait AR: A prospective cohort study of emergence agitation in the pediatric postanesthesia care unit. Anesth. Analg. 96(6): 1625-1630, 2003. PM12760985

  • Voepel-Lewis T, Merkel S, Tait AR, Trzcinka A, Malviya S: The reliability and validity of the face, legs, activity, cry, consolability observational tool as a measure of pain in children with cognitive impairment. Anesth. Analg. 95(5): 1224-1229, 2002. PM12401598

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