Cheryl Erwin, JD, PhD
Dr. Cheryl Erwin has served as faculty in Medical Humanities, Ethics, Law and Public Health in Iowa and Texas since 2002 and is the current holder of the Giles McCrary/Tom McGovern Chair in Humanities and Ethics at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine where she teaches at the Center for Ethics, Humanities and Spirituality and serves as Professor in the Departments of Medical Education and Psychiatry. She is a dedicated humanist and educator, with experience directing curricula while incorporating the humanities into professionalism training in resilience and wellness for professionals. Her teaching interests include medical humanities, health policy, professionalism and ethics. Since 2011 she has taught students and faculty in classes and Continuing Medical Education presentations at Texas Tech and as an invited speaker across the United States. Dr. Erwin has a BS degree in molecular genetics and JD in law from the University of Houston, as well as a PhD in medical humanities from The University of Texas Medical Branch. She is a licensed attorney in the State of Texas and has served the legal community as an expert in professionalism and professional conduct.
Dr. Erwin’s interests integrate humanistic disciplines with medical science and explore the contribution of the law and medical humanities to the changing nature of medicine in a dynamic and diverse society. She uses the knowledge and methods of the humanities to mediate among different interest groups to re-imagine a future with increased dialogue, better laws, and better policies. She has been involved with health policy through research and advocacy and through writing about the ethical implications of technological advances. Her teaching explores the intersection of the humanities and healthcare. She directed the first comprehensive Medical Humanities Certificate Program for undergraduate medical students in Texas, and combines teaching ethics with clinical consultation activities and the integration of humanistic practices in medicine into the overall curriculum. Dr. Erwin is highly experienced in working with academic health care organizations and educational institutions in research, teaching, and patient care. She has mentored and educated professionals from all walks of life and stages of training as they explore the many forms of professional excellence.
Some of her most recent publications include articles for Lancet on a decade of lessons from patients experiencing the slow onset of Huntington disease, in Scientific American on the Ethics of Psychiatry, and as a contributing author for the Philosophy of Medical Ethics volume in Macmillan Interdisciplinary Studies: Philosophy series of reference guides. She is an internationally known speaker on ethical, legal, and social issues in medicine and biomedical research, with recent presentations in Vienna and Prague on the ethical issues raised by epigenetic technologies.
Dr. Erwin is a former co-chair of the Ethics and Advocacy core of the Center for Clinical and Translational Studies at the National Institutes of Health and successfully completed NIH funded research into the ethical and legal implications of genetic discrimination in Huntington’s disease. She has served as a reviewer for the National Institutes of Health and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She also serves as a consultant to several agencies of the State of Texas including the Texas Medical Board and the Texas Department of State Health Services. She has advised institutions across Texas concerning justice issues, conflicts of interest, privacy and HIPAA requirements, and institutional review board issues.