Terri Laws, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of African and African American Studies
Terri Laws
College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters
College-Wide Programs

Teaching Areas:

African & African American Studies, Race and Health, Women's & Gender Studies

Research Areas:

Inequality/Disparity, Race and Health, Religion and Health

Biography and Education

Terri Laws completed the PhD in Religious Studies with a concentration in African American Religions at Rice University. Dr. Laws employs theories and methods from the social sciences to investigate questions in race, religion, and society with healthcare and health inequities as her institutional foci. The aim of her research agenda is to contribute to the body of knowledge that reduces health inequity through the investigation of social and cultural factors. Professor Laws is particularly interested in how religion mediates the acceptance of (clinical) innovations, e.g., medical research, and patients’ decision making in the clinical setting influenced by spirituality.

Professor Laws’ presentations and lectures cross her various areas of research and her teaching includes courses in the areas of African American religious experience, medical ethics, Black and Womanist religious thought, and introduction to African American Studies. Her research has been published in Pastoral Psychology, the AMA Journal of Ethics, and Religion & Politics as well as The Religion of White Rage and the T&T Handbook of Christian Theology and the Modern Sciences. The outlines of her research agenda are published in “Tuskegee as Sacred Rhetoric: Focal Point for the Emergent Field of African American Religion and Health” in the Journal of Religion and Health. Dr. Laws is currently writing a monograph on African American religion and health contracted by Routledge.

Professor Laws has served her profession and the broader community as an advisor and instructor in race, bioethics, and religion. Most recently, she was a member of the health disparities faculty for ReBUILDetroit, a National Institutes of Health initiative that seeks to attract undergraduate students from underrepresented communities to biomedical careers. She currently serves as co-chair of the Bioethics and Religion Unit of the American Academy of Religion and is a member of the Society for the Study of Black Religion.