Exploring the Heritage Trail

Meet your guide: Dr. Ruth A. Lawrence

Ruth A. Lawrence, ‘49M (MD), ‘58M (Res)
Distinguished Alumna Professor of Pediatrics and Obstetrics/Gynecology
Northumberland Trust Chair in Pediatrics

Dr. Ruth A. Lawrence is a pediatrician, clinical toxicologist, and neonatologist. Her specialties include the toxicology of plants and herbs as well as medications during pregnancy and lactation.Dr. Lawrenceis an internationally renowned expert in breastfeeding and the author of Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession—the gold-standard for the scientific understanding of human lactation and clinical breastfeeding practices—now in its eighth edition

She has been the medical director of the Ruth A. Lawrence Poison and Drug Information Center—the second poison center in the country and the first to answer calls from the public—and of the Breastfeeding and Human Lactation Study Center, which she founded in 1985. Dr. Lawrence also helped to create Rochester’s first Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units.

Dr. Lawrence earned her medical degree at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in 1949 and completed an internship and residency in pediatrics at Yale University. She returned to Rochester in 1956 for a residency in pediatrics and has remained here since that time.

She was a founding member and past president of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. Dr. Lawrence has served on a number of committees of the American Association of Poison Control Centers and on the board of directors for the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology. She has also been a member of the New York State Association of Poison Centers since its founding and has twice served as its president.

Dr. Lawrence received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology in 2002 and is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society and an honorary fellow of the American School Health Association. She has also received numerous University of Rochester awards, including the Department of Pediatrics’ Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award and Outstanding Faculty Service Award, the Alumni Association’s Gold Medal Award, and the School of Medicine and Dentistry’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.