Established in 1988 by Caroline Pennington in memory of Elsie M. Lawler

Image Credit: Alan M. Chesney Archives, Johns Hopkins Medicine CAROLINE PENNINGTON (pictured), Nurs 1918, had a lifelong admiration for ELSIE M. LAWLER, Nurs 1899, who had been superintendent of nurses at Hopkins from 1910 to 1940. At the time Ms. Pennington endowed this chair, she praised the late Ms. Lawler for her exceptional understanding and sensitivity.


Under Ms. Lawler's administration, the push began to obtain university status for the nursing education program as an independent academic division, the School of Nursing. Ms. Pennington died in 1994. (Pictured here is Elsie Lawler.)


"Over the years, I have found that knowing what to do is not enough. Creativity, innovation, wisdom, good judgment, and leadership are also necessary for one to be successful in bringing about sustainable changes that will truly improve health care for all people."
Fannie Gaston-Johansson, PhD


FANNIE GASTON-JOHANSSON, the Elsie M. Lawler Professor, is the first African American female at the university to have both tenure and full professorship. She served as director of international and extramural affairs at the School of Nursing from 1995-2005. Her specific research expertise and interests include symptom management with a special focus on pain, coping strategies for pain, management of other symptoms (fatigue, psychological distress, nausea) at end of life, and quality of life. Her work has included pain management for cardiovascular diseases, postoperative care, breast cancer and other cancer diagnoses.

Currently, Dr. Gaston-Johansson is the principal investigator and center director for the Center on Health Disparities Research. She is also the principal investigator and program director for the Minority Global Health Disparities Research Training Program.

Dr. Gaston-Johansson was the chief marshall for The Johns Hopkins University's 136th commencement. She received Hopkins' 2005 Diversity Recognition Award, a Links INC International Trends and Service Award, the National Black Nurses Association's "Trailblazer Award," and a citation from the U.S. Congress for her international and research endeavors.

In 2012, Dr. Gaston-Johansson was appointed University Distinguished Professor.