Cheryl R. Lawing, MD, FAAOS


Cheryl R. Lawing, MD, FAAOS
Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon
Tampa, FL


How has the AAOS helped you throughout your career?
AAOS helped me before I even knew I was interested in medicine. As a high school student interested in art and going through a string of 4 ACL tears, I made artwork featuring my knee braces that was displayed in the AAOS eMotion Pictures art shows in 2001 and 2008. This helped spark my initial interest in orthopaedics. AAOS has since provided ongoing, quality sources of CME to help me keep up to date.  I also realize the importance of AAOS advocacy at a national level to promote and protect the orthopaedic community’s ability to practice.

As an Active Fellow Member, which AAOS resources do you use most and why?
JAAOS is a reliable source of topic reviews and is always the go-to for me when I need to refresh on a subject. OrthoInfo provides quality information for patients and helps improve the quality of the information that I can provide to patients. 

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?
The best advice provided to me was as a resident by Dr. Robert “Bob” Esther, MSK oncologist at UNC Chapel Hill, with the advice that “the right thing is usually the inconvenient thing.” There are so many times, both at work and in home life, where it is tempting to choose the path of least resistance and energy conservation. However, putting in the extra effort to perform at the highest level, with the most thorough attention to detail and compassion/patience with conversations, inevitably results in better patient safety and satisfaction. This, in turn, results in better provider satisfaction, with the well-earned feeling of having given it your best. The time to do the “inconvenient” thing is time far better spent than instead worrying about whether you should have spent the extra time. The gratitude of patients and families is a worthy reward for the “inconvenience,” which, in reality, is a huge privilege to be able to serve patients in their time of need.

What’s your go-to productivity trick?
I seem to have a special talent for remembering upcoming tasks or to-do items at bedtime or at times when I’m not able to complete the task. I have found that setting an Apple Reminder for a time when I will be able to complete the task allows me to stop worrying about the task and fully focus on what’s in front of me.

What’s one thing you’re currently trying to make a habit?
One habit my husband and I have prioritized is connecting and communicating as if it's a daily micro-date! Every morning, regardless of how busy our lives get, we intentionally make time to discuss and share about every aspect of our lives. From dealing with life's challenges and the joys of parenting, to navigating work-related matters and other responsibilities, we value these conversations as opportunities to strengthen our bond. By being open and supportive with one another, we find comfort, understanding, and a sense of unity as we tackle life together.

What hobbies do you enjoy in your spare time?
As a former art major, my favorite hobby is drawing and painting. With young children (4 and 6 years old), most of my art time is now spent helping them with their creative pursuits. However, I still bring my sketchbook with me, to sneak in drawing time when I am able.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that not many people know?
I was planning on being a medical illustrator prior to last minute changing my mind as a junior in college, to instead pursue medical school. I spent a summer working 40 hrs/week illustrating and realized that I am not well suited for a desk job. Instead of the isolation of a desk, I realized the joy that is obtained from interacting with and having a lasting impact on patients and their families.