The UTMB Health Institute for the Medical Humanities is pleased to welcome Erma Lawson, PhD as a Visiting Scholar. Dr. Lawson will be in residence from August 2011 through November 2011.
Dr. Lawson combines Nursing and Medical Sociology to focus on health and illness among underserved populations. She is an Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas. She has held many clinical positions, including Assistant Director of Nursing,
Kentucky State Hospital, Charge Nurse at Grady Memorial Hospital,
Obstetrics /Gynecology, Atlanta, Georgia. She has also held clinical
positions in the emergency room, neonatal intensive care, cardiac
intensive care, and home health nursing.
Dr. Lawson earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Howard University and a Doctorate in Medical Sociology from the University of Kentucky, Departments of Sociology and Behavioral Science. Her dissertation combined qualitative and quantitative methods to examine the meaning of smoking among Appalachian pregnant adolescents.
To develop an in-depth understanding of grounded theory, Dr. Lawson studied with the late Dr. Anselm Strauss, University of California, Berkeley, CA. Also she lived in Zimbabwe, Africa, for two years, exploring stress, birth outcomes, and family stability using narrative methodology. As a post-doctoral scholar at Harvard University, Department of Public Health Practice, she explored violence, heart disease, stress, among young inner city adolescents.
She has given many scholarly presentations internationally, in countries including Buenos Aires, Argentina; Havana, Cuba; Auckland, Zealand; Sydney Australia; and Johannesburg, South African.
In 2005, Dr. Lawson was awarded the American Sociology Congressional Fellowship in the office of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (30th district) Texas in which she wrote several bills debated in the U.S. House of Representatives, and passed to the U.S. Senate. Dr. Lawson’s publications have centered on health disparities; Katrina survivors and Spirituality; and family instability. She is the first author of Black Men and Divorce (Sage, publications). She was appointed to the Panel of Minority Women health expert to advise the Department Women’s Health at DHHS.
Dr. Lawson's current research focuses on the medicalization of race through organ transplantation. At IMH, she plans to complete a book on the experience of minority heart transplant recipients and health disparities.