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From the Studio to the Operating Room




Cheryl Lawing, M.D., is an orthopaedic and spine surgeon at Shriners Children’s Florida and an associate professor of orthopaedic surgery at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. Before pursuing her medical degree, Dr. Lawing considered a career in art. During high school, Dr. Lawing was actively involved in soccer and sustained a string of knee injuries. Post-surgery, while she was off the field and recovering, she focused her efforts on art. While she attended the University of Georgia, Dr. Lawing continued to channel her creativity and majored in scientific illustration.

However, while completing a study abroad art program, she realized she wanted a career in medicine. “I appreciated how much the orthopaedic surgeon who had fixed my knees had helped me, and I decided to pursue medicine, so I could hopefully have a similar ability to be able to help people.”

Dr. Lawing’s artwork, titled “Rameses.”

Dr. Lawing joined the Shriners Hospitals team of physicians in 2016 and is known for her kind demeanor and expertise – which incorporates her creative talents. “Art has helped my career in medicine in several ways,” Dr. Lawing said. “[For example], I can draw out implants and surgical plans to help families better understand what’s next.”

More important, Dr. Lawing credits her history with art for being able to fully comprehend the impact “her mark” makes on a blank canvas – her patients – and having the confidence to make that mark.

Dr. Lawing’s artwork has been featured in several national exhibitions and has been displayed at the United Nations in New York. Pieces of her artwork featuring collages of bones, knee braces and shoes used to treat clubfoot hang in Dr. Lawing’s office. Not only do they serve as a reminder of where it all began, but they also perfectly depict how the worlds of art and medicine blended for her.