CHER has inaugurated our Visiting Scholar program with a year-long visit by Dr. Rhonda M. Johnson, Professor of Public Health in the Department of Health Sciences at University of Alaska Anchorage, who will be with us during her sabbatical year 2016-2017. Dr. Johnson joined us in early October, after conducting extensive fieldwork in the circumpolar region, including a September PhD School in Nuuk, Greenland: Ethics of Research with Small Populations (see photo above).
From 2005-2015, Dr. Johnson served as Chair of the Department of Health Sciences and directed the then new distance-delivered and now well-established, nationally accredited Master of Public Health (MPH) program in Alaska focused on northern and circumpolar health issues. She completed her Doctorate of Public Health as a Public Health Leadership Fellow at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (1998-2001). Her dissertation involved a statewide evaluation of a national demonstration project to improve the health care response to domestic violence in Alaska. She has also been a National Rural Health Fellow (2007-8), and nationally certified family nurse practitioner (CFNP), with about 20 years of primary care practice and program management, mostly in rural, underserved areas of the US, including south central Alaska, western Massachusetts, south central Kentucky, and northern Arizona.
An Arizona native, her first degree was in Political Science (ASU, 1979), followed by graduate work in International Relations/Rural Development at the International Graduate School in Stockholm, Sweden. Service as a Peace Corps Volunteer (Rural Development-northeastern Thailand, 1981-2), and Peace Corps Trainer (Bangkok, Thailand, 1983) shifted her focus to health issues, with a particular interest in community-based public health and primary care efforts.
She got her first job in Alaska in 1992 with the tribal health system as a primary care provider, clinic director and community-health aide trainer, and she has been closely tied to the state ever since. At UAA, she has been involved in several community-engaged projects, including serving as PI/Director of the NIH-funded Center for Addressing Health Disparities through Research and Education (CAHDRE) and co-lead of The Anchorage Health Literacy Collaborative (TAHLC).
In recent years she has expanded her arctic focus, being actively involved in several collaborative educational and intervention projects, including health promotion efforts and summer schools for PhD students through the University of the Arctic. She is recent past President of the American Society of Circumpolar Health and current Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Circumpolar Health.
Areas of particular interest are health equity, participatory methods, trauma-informed systems, innovative provider teams, health literacy/ health communication, and public health ethics. Dr. Johnson teaches courses in health education and health behavior, program evaluation, circumpolar health issues, health services administration and public health ethics. Sabbatical goals include the development of at least one collaborative project with CHER colleagues and community partners and development of a new distance-delivered graduate course in health equity: principles and methods.
Dr. Johnson invites you to contact her via email at Rhonda.Johnson@nau.edu!