As interim dean of the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School since 2019 and dean of the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School since 2011, Johnson is the first leader in history to oversee two medical schools at once.
In response to COVID-19, NJMS quickly developed the Rutgers University Center for COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness to serve as an institutional hub for COVID-19 research activities and information dissemination, and to stimulate transformative solutions for challenges at the local, national and international levels. The school joined other units at Rutgers putting the university at the front and center of research into the virus and its control.
Johnson’s clinical expertise and research focuses on adolescent physical and mental health, along with adolescent HIV, adolescent violence, adolescent sexuality, health equity and family strengthening. He chairs the New Jersey Governor’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, the Newark Ryan White Planning Council, and the Board of Deacons at Union Baptist Church in Orange. Other leadership roles he has held include as a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, vice chair of the Community Prevention Task Force of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the NIH Preventing Violence and Related Health-Risking Social Behaviors in Adolescents State of the Science Conference.
Johnson graduated from the College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, as Rutgers New Jersey Medical School was known then, in 1972. He joined the faculty as an assistant professor of pediatrics in 1976, following his fellowship training in adolescent medicine. He was named dean in 2011, becoming the first alumnus to serve in that role. In 2019, he was also named interim dean of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
He previously served as president of the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners, chair of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Council on Graduate Medical Education, a member of the National Council of the National Institute of Mental Health, a member of the NIH AIDS Research Council and a member of the Institute of Medicine Health Care Services Board.