Johnson Named Epidemiology Chair at UAMS College of Public Health

By Nate Hinkel

Johnson, previously professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, joined UAMS Jan. 16.

He studied physics, chemistry and zoology at Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone, West Africa before earning the equivalency of a medical degree from the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in England. Johnson earned a diploma in Tropical Public Health from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine before completing a Master of Public Health degree at the Harvard School of Public Health in 1978. He was a general preventive medicine resident at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene & Public Health while earning a Doctor of Philosophy in Epidemiology there in 1984.

He has served as a scientist and researcher on several projects with the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO), including serving as an epidemiologist attached to the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France for investigating cancer risk in workers exposed to herbicides contaminated with dioxins and furans. He is a world-renowned environmental health and contaminants specialist whose recent research has focused on investigating whether oncogenic retroviruses of cattle, pigs, sheep, chickens and turkeys can infect and cause cancer in humans.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Related Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. Named best Little Rock metropolitan area hospital by U.S. News & World Report, it is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has more than 2,800 students and 775 medical residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other professionals who provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit or