|May 06, 2010||Media contact: Andree Joyaux
Joseph E. Johnson III, M.D., former dean of U-M Medical School dies
ANN ARBOR, MI – Joseph E. Johnson III, M.D., former dean of the University of Michigan Medical School, professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan, physician and scholar died on April 19, 2010 in Jacksonville, Fla. He was 79.
During his tenure as dean (1985-1990), the U-M Medical School significantly expanded its clinical and research capabilities and capacity, and began planning a major revision of its medical education curriculum.
“Dean Johnson led the U-M Medical School through a period of rapid expansion in both reach and impact,” says James O. Woolliscroft, M.D., the current dean. “Dr. Johnson was well regarded for his infectious disease expertise and his leadership of this institution through a period of great change.”
Johnson was born in Elberton, Ga. on September 17, 1930, where he spent his early years. He earned his B.A. and M.D. degrees from Vanderbilt University in 1951 and 1954 respectively. He completed both his internal medicine residency and a fellowship in infectious diseases and immunology at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
In 1966, Johnson joined the medical school faculty of the University of Florida as the division chief of infection diseases and he also served as assistant dean. In 1971, he was named chairman of medicine at the Wake Forest University Bowman Gray School of Medicine.
Johnson came to the University of Michigan as dean from 1985 through 1990.
While dean, Johnson recruited eight department chairs and established 11 endowed or collegiate chairs. The new University Hospital and A. Alfred Taubman Health Center opened their doors in 1986. Three multidisciplinary “Centers of Excellence” were designated by the U-M Regents in the fields of cancer, geriatrics and substance abuse.
External funding for research more than doubled during this period. Two new research buildings were activated during Johnson’s tenure: Medical Science Research Building I in 1986 and Medical Science Research Building II in 1989. In addition, planning began for cancer and geriatrics facilities as well as a third Medical Science Research Building.
During this time, medical education was changing across the nation and U-M began planning a major revision of its medical education curriculum. These plans included placing more emphasis on preventive care, enhancing teaching in ambulatory care and importantly, fostering habits of critical thought and independent learning.
After completing his term as dean, Johnson remained a member of the U-M faculty until 1993.
His advocacy for excellence in medical education and clinical practice as well as his extensive knowledge of policy led to several leadership positions with the American College of Physicians. Upon his retirement in 2003, the ACP recognized his service by establishing the Joseph E. Johnson Leadership Award to recognize young physicians who demonstrate qualities which foster excellence and professionalism in the practice of medicine.
Johnson was the author of more than 100 scholarly articles, wrote numerous chapters in medical text books and edited three books. He received numerous accolades and awards throughout his career.
He enjoyed traveling with his wife, children and grandsons. He was an avid student and reader of history as well as a great music lover.
Johnson was predeceased by his wife Judith Kemp Johnson in 2004. He is survived by his sister, two daughters, a son and three grandsons.
A graveside service was held at the Ponte Vedra Valley Cemetery in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. on May 1, 2010. For those interested, the family suggests donations be made to the Joseph E. Johnson III, M.D., Memorial Fund, Elbert Memorial Hospital Foundation, 4 Medical Drive, Elberton, Ga., 30635 or to the ACP/Joseph E. Johnson Fund, American College of Physicians, 190 N. Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, Pa., 19106-1572.
Written by Andree Joyaux