Dr. Melanie Wilson-Lawson started her career off as a public school teacher for HISD in the early 1990’s. Then she switched gears to managing and conducting research for social and behavioral medicine projects at the University of Houston, before she transitioned into teaching at the university level for Texas Southern University in 1997. She has participated in special projects as a public health issues advisor to the City of Houston for Mayor Lee P. Brown, who served on her doctoral dissertation committee, and she has done research for the Greater Houston Women’s Foundation in Houston, Texas.
Melanie has held various appointments in academia to include being the HIV/AIDS Orientation and Professional Education Program Faculty Liaison for TSU and the Campus Project Coordinator for the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education’s “Elimination of Health Disparities Project.” She feels privileged to have received numerous awards and honors over the years…a Certificate of Congressional Recognition as a Golden Volunteer from the Office of Sheila Jackson Lee and a Certificate of Appreciation as a Teacher for a “Youth Summer Camp” of Acres Homes from the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis. She has also been included in the Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, Seventh Edition, as well as the 2007 (26th) Edition of Who’s Who of American Women and the Empire Who’s Who of Women in Education 2006/2007 “Honors Edition” of the registry. This Montgomery, Alabama native manages to successfully juggle the rigors of academia while staying focused on her family and committed to volunteering.
Melanie has been very involved in the political scene, having been elected a 2008 National Delegate for the Democratic National Convention representing the State of Texas Senate District 11 and serving on President Obama’s Public Policy Committee as well as the Campaign’s Regional Finance Committee. Her community and social involvement includes membership in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Missouri City Chapter of The Links, Inc., the Houston Chapter of Jack & Jill of America, Inc. (Chaired-2008 Debutante Ball), an Ambassador for the American Heart Association’s “Power to End Stroke Campaign,” a Board Member for the “Recipe for Success” Organization and past membership in Houston’s First Lady Andrea White’s “We’re All Neighbors” Community-Based Outreach Program. Dr. Wilson-Lawson has served as an Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs and Student Services in the College of Continuing Education at Texas Southern University. She currently serves as the Executive Director for the Office of Continuing Education at TSU, as well as an Associate Professor in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences where her research interests include community-based participatory research.
Melanie’s also focuses much of her research interest in the prison system and has completed a chapter as a contributing author in a book entitled: Prison Privatization: The Many Facets of a Controversial Industry (2012, Volume II, Chapter 6 - Private Prisons & Healthcare: The Social Implications.) She was the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Houston, Graduate School of Social Work in 2002, and she earned a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Texas Health Science Center, School of Public Health, and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Chemistry from the historic Texas Southern University where she was the recipient of a 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award!