Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., a visionary leader who guided the University of Florida College of Pharmacy to its first top 5 national ranking, announced she will step down as dean on Aug. 1, 2022.
In 2013, Johnson became the first female dean of the college and the first to hold a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Under her leadership, the college experienced tremendous growth and accelerated up the national rankings. Most notable was the college’s rise in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of the best pharmacy colleges from No. 14 in 2013 to No. 5 in 2020 and from approximately No. 20 to No. 3 in National Institutes of Health and federal research funding, according to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.
“I have always been a strong believer that inspired leadership has a natural arc, and I believe that I am coming to the end of that arc as the college’s dean,” Johnson said. “It has been a true honor to serve as dean of the UF College of Pharmacy, and I am grateful for having such an amazing group of faculty, staff, students and alumni to share this journey.”
During Johnson’s tenure, the college made significant strides to improve its education, research and clinical areas. She led the recruitment of many world-renowned clinicians and researchers, as the faculty nearly doubled in nine years, from 72 to 135. The college also completely overhauled its Pharm.D. curriculum by adopting an innovative and contemporary teaching approach that the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education self-study team described as “the model for 21st century pharmacy education.”
Some of the other major accomplishments under Johnson’s leadership included:
- Achieved many successful outcomes for students, including ranking No. 1 in the nation in total residency placements five of the last six years
- Lowered the faculty to student ratio from 16.8:1 to 7.8:1
- Made significant strides to increase the diversity of the student body, going from 19% to 35% underrepresented minorities in the Pharm.D. program, and helping the college rank No. 1 among the nation’s top 40 pharmacy colleges in percentage of underrepresented minorities
- Experienced approximately 50% growth in residential graduate student enrollment
- Increased annual research funding from $8.5 million to an expected $30+ million in 2021, with a more than 3.5-fold increase in annual publications
- Increased the size of practicing clinical faculty fourfold and created several new innovative practice models
- Made advances in creating a diverse and inclusive environment that is working to address health inequalities, with these efforts leading to the college receiving the 2021 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine
Following her departure in August, Johnson will take a year of administrative leave, after which she will rejoin the college faculty in the department of pharmacotherapy and translational research. She intends to help advance research in health disparities and precision medicine, as well as return to teaching.
Prior to serving as dean, Johnson was a member of the UF College of Pharmacy’s faculty for 15 years. She chaired the department of pharmacotherapy and translational research for nine years and directed the Center for Pharmacogenomics. She was the founding director of the UF Health Precision Medicine Program and holds the title of distinguished professor in both pharmacy and medicine. Johnson has written more than 300 original research articles, secured over $50 million in research funding and four times was named a Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researcher, an honor indicating she is in the top 1% of authors of the most highly cited papers in the previous decade. She has received numerous awards from universities and national organizations and was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2014, one of the nation’s three national academies.
David Nelson, M.D., senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health, is expected to announce plans to identify a new dean in the coming months.