Gary Lawrence is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. His family moved from Oklahoma to California during the “Grapes of “Wrath period and he was born and raised in a non-traditional home knowing only that he “had some Indian blood in him”. His indoctrination to being Native did not begin until he met his wife Louisa’s father who was very traditional and took Lawrence under his wing and taught him about the culture, practices, the history and other significant landmarks to being Choctaw and Native. Gary continues his education today in his effort to become a Native Scholar.
Lawrence has a combined 24 years of hospital and pre-hospital healthcare experience and has worked within the ten-and-one-half borders of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma for all of them with the last sixteen for the Choctaw Nation Health Services Authority. He has served the Choctaw people in a variety of roles including as a Paramedic, LPN, Educator, and currently as the Chief Nursing Officer (DON).
Gary obtained his LPN and EMS training from the Kiamichi Technology Center, his Associate degrees in Nursing, Allied Health and Psychology/Sociology from Carl Albert State College, his Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Northeastern State University; and his Masters of Science was obtained from the University of Oklahoma where he is currently mid-way through his Nursing Doctoral program. His primary focus is conducting culturally relevant research and identifying interventions aimed at reducing disparities in Choctaw mental health patients managing co-morbid diabetes.