Professor Phyllis Sharps, PhD, RN, FAAN, has been installed as the Elsie M. Lawler Endowed Chair at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, and she feels right at home with the chair’s mission to address community health in Baltimore, calling it a great opportunity to continue to make an impact.
“We all saw last spring what happens when communities are hurt and broken,” Sharps—who was born at Johns Hopkins Hospital—said of unrest over the death of Freddie Gray in police custody. A domestic violence/maternal health
“It was a short search. Phyllis Sharps embodies the essence of this chair.”
— Dean Patricia Davidson, PhD, MEd, RN, FAAN
researcher and diversity champion, Sharps will revitalize the school’s strategic community vision, solidify a plan for sustainability, and continue Hopkins’ work with its nurse-run health and wellness centers and community partners.
“It was a short search,” said Dean Patricia Davidson, PhD, MEd, RN, FAAN. “Phyllis Sharps embodies the essence of this chair.”
As associate dean for community programs and initiatives, Sharps directs three health and wellness centers operated by the School of Nursing, provides care in a Baltimore shelter for homeless battered women and their children, and conducts ongoing community-based, participatory research. With a $3.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, Sharps is testing the Domestic Violence Enhanced Visitation Program (DOVE), which works to shield abused women and babies from intimate partner violence.
“I’ve wanted to say this since they told me about the chair,” Sharps said at the February 18 installation ceremony, “so I’m going to let it out now: Wow!”
Lawler, an 1889 graduate of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Training School for Nurses, was its superintendent from 1910 to 1940, through a World War, a devastating flu epidemic, and the Great Depression, never wavering from her push to obtain university status for the nursing education program.
Photo by Will Kirk | Phyllis Sharps with students from the Henderson-Hopkins School in East Baltimore.