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Johnson set to deliver next week’s Levi Watkins Jr. Lecture

Oct. 6, 2016, 9:04 AM

Kevin Johnson, M.D., M.S., Senior Vice President for Health Information Technology, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor and Chair of Biomedical Informatics and professor of Pediatrics, will be the keynote speaker at the 15th annual Levi Watkins Jr. Lecture.

Kevin Johnson, M.D., M.S.
Kevin Johnson, M.D., M.S.

The address, “Lessons (and Other Things) My Parents Never Taught Me,” is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 11, at noon in 208 Light Hall.

“My talk will focus on some aspects of my career of which I am the most proud, and how my parents provided an environment, as Levi’s parents did, that enabled me to succeed in both finding myself and finding my professional path,” Johnson said.

The lecture honors Watkins, who was the first African-American student to be admitted to and graduate from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM). Watkins, who graduated from VUSM in 1970, died in 2015 after complications from a stroke. He was 70.

Johnson cites Watkins, who was a prominent cardiac surgeon, as a key mentor, dating back to the time that Johnson was a medical student at Johns Hopkins while Watkins was on faculty there.

“Our relationship continued with him as a trusted advisor and mentor on many levels throughout my tenure at Hopkins. In fact, he was the person with whom I sought counsel after getting an offer to come to Vanderbilt as vice chair of Informatics,” Johnson recalls. “Levi could always be counted on to be frank but thoughtful, opinionated but willing to discuss, and challenging — one of the most important traits in helping junior faculty develop their own set of similar skills.”

Johnson received his M.D. from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and his M.S. in medical informatics from Stanford University. In 1992 he returned to Johns Hopkins where he served as a pediatric chief resident. He was a member of the faculty in both pediatrics and biomedical information sciences at Johns Hopkins until 2002, when he was recruited to Vanderbilt University. He also is a board-certified pediatrician.

Johnson is an internationally respected developer and evaluator of clinical information technology, having authored more than 100 publications and books or book chapters. He is a member of the American Pediatric Society and the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine.) He has served in leadership positions in the National Library of Medicine, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Board of Pediatrics and AMIA (biomedical informatics association).

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