The Ripple Affect

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples," is understandably a favorite quote of Dr. Matilda Johnson, who made the decision to transition from clinician and practitioner to academician. Through the work she does as an associate professor, she creates ripple after ripple in the lives of the students she teaches, those she involves in her research and grant projects, and the students she mentors.  She is laser focused to, “do all within my power to produce the best next generation of healthcare professionals till the whole world is a happy and healthy place.”

Seeing What Can Be

Dr. Johnson’s focus on reducing health disparities and improving the health outcomes of minority and underrepresented populations is rooted in the knowledge that for far too long systems, policies, and routine practices that support the health of these populations have not been prioritized. It is through her work that generations of healthcare professionals dedicated to identifying, evaluating, and reducing persistent health issues and chronic health problems are being produced. 

The backgrounds and family health histories of many of her students make them perfectly suited to conduct research and respond to a variety of health issues. The prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, and sickle cell in the families of many of her students makes their work with Professor Johnson especially relevant and satisfying. “I realized a big part of caring for the health of populations is hinged on producing future nutritionists and public health practitioners.” 

Of particular interest to Dr. Johnson is the presence of food deserts in communities of color. In response, she has received the Florida Blue Foundation – Food Security Grant Award to increase Food Security. The grant brings a farmers market directly to the heart of Daytona Beach’s black community known as Midtown.  

Professor and Student Researchers

Dr. Johnson’s aim is always to solve problems and thereby improve the level and quality of health in the lives of people. As lead-investigator and co-investigator, Dr. Johnson’s grant proposals have focused on minority populations at high risk for chronic diseases including diabetes, hypertension and obesity. Her strategies have focused on nutritional interventions, health education and disease prevention, as well as data visualizations to inform decision making by policy makers. 

Dr. Johnson’s students are also being developed into scholars and researchers who are committed to focusing on issues impacting the short and long-term health and, subsequently, longevity of minority and underserved people. One student, Amaya Morris, describes her experience saying, “Dr. Matilda Johnson has proven to be such an inspiration to me. She has shown compassion towards me in many ways, which I love. I’m motivated to work harder than ever because of the high expectations she has for me, her encouragement, and her praises. I couldn’t have asked for a better professor throughout my four years here at the Bethune-Cookman University.”

Dr. Matilda Johnson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health and Health Equity

Her specific research interests are nutrition, health equity, social determinants of health, health promotion, health education, and environmental health.

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