Local children's book series highlights women of color in health care_lowres


Dr. Scharmaine Lawson-Baker says her energy and can-do attitude help her run a home health care business while getting her own publishing company off the ground. She was inspired to create A DrNurse Publishing House and the Nola the Nurse series (www.nolathenurse.com) when she was unable to find children's stories for her young daughter that featured minorities in health care jobs and other STEM-related fields.

 Lawson-Baker decided to write her own book about an African-American nurse named Nola. In the series, Nola's work as a health care provider takes her to Mexico, Kenya, Japan and India. While traveling, she learns not only about different cultures, but also the importance of being a nurse practitioner.

 Lawson-Baker is an advocate of STEM education, especially for young girls. While she has heard much about introducing elementary-aged girls to STEM programs, she also has noticed that there is more of an emphasis on "TEM" (technology, engineering and math) and less on "S" (science).

 "We need to also focus on science and catch girls early," she says. "We need to get these girls used to the language and what's involved in health care."

Nola the Nurse's three volumes of adventures do just that. Nola travels the world with her mom caring for the ill, a perfect example of art imitating life. In addition to the three books, Lawson-Baker also has published coloring and activity books with the same STEM and health care focus.