UF Pharmacy Dean Lends Health and Research Expertise to Institute of Medicine

Dean Julie A. Johnson (right) appointed to the IOM, meets with Steven Smith, who was named an IOM Fellow in Pharmacy.
Dean Julie A. Johnson (right) appointed to the IOM, meets with Steven Smith, who was named an IOM Fellow in Pharmacy.

Julie A. Johnson, Pharm.D., dean of the University of Florida College of Pharmacy, was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. In Oct., the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., the IOM announced 70 new members, including Johnson, who is also a distinguished professor of pharmacy and medicine at UF.

More than 2,000 IOM members and foreign associates collectively provide scientific information related to health and medicine to Congress and other policymakers as part of a shared goal of improving health. To date, IOM membership has been held by only eight faculty at UF, all men, starting with the university’s seventh president, Robert Marston, M.D., who was elected in 1973. Johnson’s appointment is the first ever for a faculty member in the UF College of Pharmacy. David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health, was elected to the IOM in 2008.

“Dr. Johnson’s election to the IOM by its membership reflects her fundamental contributions to our understanding of how drugs affect people differently depending on their genetics,” Guzick said, “which has led to clinical application in the areas of antihypertensive drugs and drugs such as warfarin that are used to prevent clot formation. Because of her extensive knowledge and insights about pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine, she will be of great service to the IOM and the nation.”

Johnson has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health or the American Heart Association since 1990, with a research focus on pharmacogenomics. As director of the UF Health Personalized Medicine Program, she leads studies on interpatient variability in cardiovascular drug response and the influence of race/ethnicity on drug response and pharmacogenomics. She also leads the International Warfarin Pharmacogenetics Consortium, which has more than 40 researchers across the United States and in other countries working in collaboration to advance improved drug therapies for patients who are prescribed the common blood thinner.

Named dean in August 2013, Johnson joined the college in 1998, serving as chair of the department of pharmacotherapy and translational research from 2002-11. She also served as the V. Ravi Chandran professor of pharmaceutical sciences for nine years. She is a fellow of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, an honorary fellow of the American College of Clinical Pharmacology, and a fellow of the American Heart Association Functional Genomics and Translational Biology Council.

Also announced this fall, Steven M. Smith, Pharm.D., M.P.H., a clinical assistant professor of pharmacy and medicine at UF, was selected as the 2014-16 Institute of Medicine Anniversary Fellow in Pharmacy.

In commemoration of its 35th anniversary in 2005, the IOM established two anniversary fellows programs in medicine. A two-year pharmacy fellowship was added in 2012 through the support of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and the American College of Clinical Pharmacy.

Johnson felt doubly honored that a faculty member in her college was chosen for the pharmacy fellowship.

“Dr. Smith has a unique opportunity to enhance his knowledge and experience through the pharmacy fellowship,” Johnson said. “But, moreover, he will carry the responsibility of representing, at the national level, the interprofessional role of all pharmacists charged with improving patient care in clinical practice settings.”