Collene Lawhorn is a professorial lecturer in the Elliot School on Global Mental Health Policy, Practice and Research. She is a neuroscientist by training and her current work focuses on COVID-19 health disparities, health equity, and health communication research in domestic and international settings. Currently, she is a senior advisor on the mental health impact of COVID-19 at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and is also the Co-lead for the NIMH Global Mental Health Team. At NIMH, Dr. Lawhorn has also worked as a Program Director in Division of AIDS research on health communication research and on the National NeuroAIDS Tissue Consortium, as well as in the Science Policy and Evaluation branch of the Office of Science Policy, Planning and Communications on strategic planning and global mental health communications.
Before joining NIMH, Collene worked in the Office of Maternal and Child Health, Bureau for Global Health, at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); first as a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow and later as a Senior Research Advisor. Prior to government service, Collene held several roles as a freelance science-writer and editor, worked in the private sector as a reporting and analytics program manager, and as a social worker for families with Alzheimer’s disease. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Communication from the Rochester Institute of Technology, a Masters degree in Psychological Services from the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD in Neuroscience from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She completed postdoctoral training at The Rockefeller University on HIV-related health disparities, and on animal models of addictive disease.