Associate Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice


Dr. Laws has studied the patient experience of illness and health care for 15 years. He has been particularly influenced by his studies under the late Irving Kenneth Zola, a pioneer in the sociology of chronic illness and disability. As evaluator of numerous federally funded behavioral health services for people with HIV, he developed a commitment to clinical research based in the patient's perspective. He has focused particularly on physician-patient communication, including the construction and measurement of patient agency in medical encounters. He developed the Generalized Medical Interaction Analysis System, which has been the basis of several published studies. The long-term goal of his research is to support the continuing transformation of medicine and health care more broadly into an institution built around patients' needs – physical, psychological, and social; which meets those needs effectively; and in which patients have ultimate agency and authority.

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