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School of Medicine Virginia Commonwealth University VCU Medical Center
School of Medicine profiles

November 18, 2013

Betty Anne Johnson, M.D., Ph.D.

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MCV Physicians Distinguished Clinician Award

When you think of VCU Health System you might first picture an intensive care unit, or transplant center, or busy emergency room – but every day, VCUHS improves the lives of many of our fellow citizens through primary care. Betty Anne Johnson, M.D., Ph.D., the 2013 MCVP Distinguished Clinician awardee, has built an outstanding academic medicine career through her commitment to delivering high-quality, patient-centered care over her nearly 30 years of service in the Division of General Internal Medicine.

Dr. Johnson was selected for the Hedwig van Ameringen Fellowship in Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program for 2003-2004. Her leadership abilities have allowed her to serve in many key roles during this time, including Director of Student Health, Vice-Chair, Interim Chair, and Chair of her division, Interim Program Director of the Internal Medicine residency program, and Director of the Hospitalist Program.

Holding an M.D. from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Iowa, Dr. Johnson has demonstrated her skill and commitment to clinical research by serving as PI and co-PI on numerous funded projects. Dr. Johnson’s love of teaching is evident in her day-to-day interactions. Dr. Bennett Lee, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P., observes, “She is the clinician that the rest of us in Primary Care go to when we have a clinical problem. Her breadth of knowledge is vast and she is constantly applying evidence based medicine to her patient care and keeps the rest of us up to date with the latest developments in diagnostic strategies, therapeutic options, and in preventive medicine guidelines.”

Dr. Johnson’s contributions to teaching include collaborating with others to create significant curricula in young adult women’s health and in pain management. The women’s health resources Dr. Johnson has developed support our residents in providing comprehensive and patient-centered primary care for young women, and constitute a significant portion of the Women’s Health Handbook for the VCU Internal Medicine Training program. In 2007, Dr. Johnson was part of the team that developed a web-based resource for health professionals and trainees on the assessment and management of chronic non-malignant pain in the outpatient setting. The developing team received the School of Medicine Teaching Excellence Educational Innovation Award and the School of Medicine and the Virginia Department of Health Professions collaborated to make this educational resource available to all health professionals in Virginia.

Directing health care services for tens of thousands of students is a daunting responsibility, but as usual, Dr. Johnson advanced her field of practice despite the daily demands of this work. During her tenure as Director of Student Health at VCU from 1987-2004, Dr. Johnson contributed significantly to the fi eld of college health through her clinical research efforts in developing improved protocols for screening for sexually transmitted diseases and TB. As a result of her leadership, VCU Student Health Services became a nationally recognized provider of primary care for student populations in health promotion and disease prevention.

Dr. Johnson has been recognized five times as a Richmond Top Doc and is recognized here at the VCU Medical Center as a role model for the many students, residents and multidisciplinary colleagues with whom she works with such enthusiasm and at such a high level of excellence each day.