Cynda Ann Johnson, retired founding dean of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, has been conferred the title of dean emerita by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The emerita title may be conferred on retired professors, associate professors, and administrative officers who are specially recommended to the board by Virginia Tech President Tim Sands in recognition of exemplary service to the university. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board receive a copy of the resolution and a certificate of appreciation.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 2008, Johnson’s approach to medical education was informed by many successful years of providing patient care in family medicine and maternal and child health.

In partnership with Virginia Tech, Carilion Clinic, the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute (today known as the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC), the Jefferson College of Health Sciences, the City of Roanoke, and other key partners, Johnson participated in the development of education, clinical, and research initiatives aimed at advancing health care in the region.

During her tenure as dean, Johnson graduated four classes of medical students. Each class exceeded the national mean score on Step 1 and Step 2 licensing exams and earned a 100 percent match rate to residency programs.

Johnson is credited with establishing the first Department of Interprofessionalism within U.S. medical schools, where students take classes and learn with other health professional students in such disciplines as nursing, physician assistant, occupational therapy, and EMT/paramedic, in all four years of the curriculum.

Under her tenure, the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine became an independently accredited private school and was integrated into Virginia Tech in 2018 with Carilion Clinic as a partner providing faculty and the clinical experience for students.

Johnson served her profession and the medical community as the president of the American Board of Family Practice (now Family Medicine) and the American Board of Medical Specialties.

She has received numerous awards, including the American Board of Medical Specialties Distinguished Service Award, the F. Marian Bishop Leadership Award from the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, the NAACP 17th Annual Citizen of the Year Award, and the North Carolina Academy of Family Practice Presidential Service Award.\

Prior to her arrival in Roanoke, Johnson’s professional career included leadership roles at the University of Iowa, where she served as professor and head of the Department of Family Medicine in the College of Medicine, professor in the Department of Community and Behavioral Medicine in the College of Public Health, and director of the Family Care Center. At East Carolina University, she served as dean of the Brody School of Medicine and senior associate vice chancellor for clinical and translational research in the Division of Research and Graduate Studies and led the development of the ECU Center for Health Disparities Research.

Johnson received her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, her M.D. degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a master’s in business administration degree from the University of Kansas.

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