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- Emeritus

Contact Info

615 N. Wolfe Street, Suite - W7010

Research Interests

Environmental impacts of industrial agriculture; Food Security; Health and Human Rights
Experiences & Accomplishments
Harvard Medical School
Robert Lawrence is the Center for a Livable Future Professor Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Environmental Health and Engineerings at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Professor Emeritus of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Lawrence is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, and trained in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. He served for three years as an epidemic intelligence service officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Public Health Service.
Dr. Lawrence is a Master of the American College of Physicians and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, a member of the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research, the American Public Health Association, and Physicians for Human Rights. From 7/1/70 to 6/30/74, he was a member of the faculty of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he helped develop a primary health care system funded by the Office of Economic Opportunity. In 1974, he was appointed as the first director of the Division of Primary Care at Harvard Medical School where he subsequently served as the Charles S. Davidson Associate Professor of Medicine and Chief of Medicine at the Cambridge Hospital until 8/31/91. From September 1991 to July 1995 he was the director of health sciences at the Rockefeller Foundation.
From 1984 to 1989, Dr. Lawrence chaired the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force of the Department of Health and Human Services and served on the successor Preventive Services Task Force from 1990 to 1995. He served as a consultant to the Task Force on Community Preventive Services at the CDC from 1996 to 2008. Dr. Lawrence has participated in human rights investigations on behalf of PHR or other human rights groups to Chile, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, El Salvador, Guatemala, Kosovo, the Philippines and South Africa.
From 1995 to 2006 Dr. Lawrence served as Associate Dean for Professional Education and Programs. Since 2006 he has been a full-time faculty member in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering.
In 1996 Dr. Lawrence founded the Center for a Livable Future at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. The Center is an inter-disciplinary group of faculty and staff that focuses attention on equity, health, and the Earth's resources. Research, education, and advocacy examine the relationships among diet, food production systems, the environment, and human health. The Center's webpage is
Honors & Awards
Fellow, Royal College of Physicians, 2022; Johns Hopkins Alumni Association Heritage Award, 2014; Sedgwick Memorial Medal, APHA, 2009; Sidney Zubrow Award, The Pennsylvania Hospital, 2008; Albert Schweitzer Humanitarianism Prize, 2002; Master, American College of Physicians, 1998; Founders Award, Physicians for Human Rights, 1997; Leadership and Achievement Award, Society of General Internal Medicine, 1997; John Atkinson Ferrell Prize, UNC, 1997; Delta Omega, 1997; Special Recognition Award, Association for Prevention Teaching and Research, 1993; Institute of Medicine, NAS, 1978; Maimonides Prize, 1964; Phi Beta Kappa, 1964; Harvard National Scholarship, 1957-64
Select Publications
Selected publications related to food security.
  • Neff RA, Parker CL, Kirschenmann FL, Tinch J, Lawrence RS. Peak oil, food systems, and public health. AJPH 2011; 101(9):1587-1597.
  • Wang Y, Beydoun MA, Caballero B, Gary TL, Lawrence RS. Trends and correlates in meat consumption patterns in the US adult population. Public Health Nutr. 2010 Sep;13(9):1333-45
  • Neff RA, Palmer AM, McKenzie SE, Lawrence RS. Food Systems and Public Health Disparities. J Hunger & Env Nutrition 2009; 4:282-314.
  • Lawrence RS, Chan I, Goodman E. Poverty, Food Security, and the Right to Health. Georgetown J on Poverty Law & Policy 2008; 25(3):583-604.
  • Sapkota A, Sapkota AR, Kucharski M, Burke J, McKenzie S, Walker P, Lawrence RS. Aquaculture practices and potential human health risks: Current knowledge and future priorities. Environ Int 2008; doi:10.1016/j.envint.2008.04.009.
Longitudinal study of pathogen exposure and CAFO worker health