Jennifer E. Johnson, PhD

JenniferJohnson EHillDeLoney 1200x800

"The universe in me calls out to the universe in you - We are one," E. Hill DeLoney,
Flint Community Partner, pictured on the right. 

Chair, Charles Stewart Mott Department of Public Health
C.S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health
Professor of OBGYN
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine

Dr. Jennifer E. Johnson is the inaugural Chair of the Charles Stewart Mott Department of Public Health and the first C. S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health at Michigan State University.

She is a licensed clinical psychologist who conducts policy-relevant implementation and effectiveness trials of mental health and substance use interventions for vulnerable populations, including perinatal women and individuals involved in the criminal justice system. She has been Principal Investigator of 17 research studies funded by the National Institutes of Health, and Co-Investigator of another 18. 

Dr. Johnson’s studies include the first large randomized trial of any treatment for major depressive disorder in an incarcerated population, the first randomized trial of suicide prevention for justice-involved individuals, tests of strategies to reduce maternal mortality disparities, and a randomized trial testing strategies for scaling up an evidence-based postpartum depression prevention program in 98 prenatal clinics serving low-income women nationally.

Her overall goals are to improve well-being, increase agency, and reduce preventable suffering of women and girls, justice-involved individuals, and Flint-area citizens. Her policy goals include reducing incarceration rates and preventing gender-based violence. 

Approach to Leadership and Governance

Dr. Johnson is committed to participatory research, leadership, and governance processes to promote equity, expand impact, empower the traditionally unempowered, and elevate their perspectives and contributions to solutions.

After spending more than a decade as faculty at Brown University, she came to MSU to help MSU build its new Division of Public Health in partnership with the Flint community. The result, the only academic unit in the country developed fully in partnership with those it seeks to serve, has been successful in terms of federal research dollars and sustained community change, providing proof of concept and support for the power of participatory processes. 

As the 2020-2021 Chair of the MSU Faculty Senate and University Steering Committee, Dr. Johnson represented more than 5,700 faculty and academic staff and helped to solidify participatory governance processes. She serves as a member of the MSU President’s Strategic Planning Steering Committee. She leads College-wide initiatives to create a trauma-informed climate for College faculty and staff, and help the College meet its mission to serve the vulnerable. Her research often uses community-participatory designs. She serves on local, state, and national Boards and policy committees. 

people at a dinning table

Selected Publications

Johnson, J. E., Viglione, J., Ramezani, N., Cuellar, A. E., Hailemariam, M., Rosen, R., Breno, A., & Taxman, F. (2021). Protocol for a quasi-experimental, 950 county study examining implementation outcomes and mechanisms of Stepping Up, a national policy effort to improve mental health and substance use services for justice-involved individuals. Implementation Science, 16, 31.

Johnson, J. E., Jones, R., Miller, T., Miller, I., Stanley, B., Brown, G., Arias, S. A., Cerbo, L., Rexroth, J., Fitting, H., Russell, D., Kubiak, S., Stein, M., Matkovic, C., Yen, S., Gaudiano, B., & Weinstock, L. M. (2020).  Study protocol: A randomized controlled trial of suicide risk reduction in the year following jail release (the SPIRIT Trial).  Contemporary Clinical Trials, 94, 106003.

Johnson, J. E., Stout, R. L., Miller, T., R., Zlotnick, C., Cerbo, L. A., Andrade, J. T., Nargiso, J., Bonner, J., Wiltsey-Stirman, S. (2019).  Randomized cost-effectiveness trial of group interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) for prisoners with major depression.  Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 87(4), 392-406.  PMC6482450.

Johnson, J. E., Wiltsey-Stirman, S., Sikorskii, A., Miller, T., King, A., Blume, J. L., Pham, X., Moore Simas, T. A., Poleshuck, E., Weinberg, R., & Zlotnick, C. (2018).  Protocol for the ROSE Sustainment (ROSES) Study, a sequential multiple assignment randomized trial to determine the minimum necessary intervention to maintain a postpartum depression prevention program in prenatal clinics serving low-income women.  Implementation Science, 13, 115.  PMC6106826.

Johnson, J. E., Key, K., & the Flint Water Community Narrative Group (2018).  Credit where credit is due: Race and recognition in responses to the drinking water crisis in Flint.  Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action, 12(2), 215-221. 

Johnson, J.E., Schonbrun, Y.C., Anderson, B., Kurth, M., Timko C, & Stein, M. (2017). Study protocol: Community Links to Establish Alcohol Recovery for women leaving jail. Contemporary Clinical Trials, 55, 39-46.  PMC5449123

Johnson, J. E., Price, A. B., Kao, J. C., Fernandes, K., Stout, R. L., Gobin, R., & Zlotnick, C. (2016).  Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) for major depression following perinatal loss: A pilot randomized controlled trial.  Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 19(5), 845-859.  PMC6372988. doi:10.1007/s00737-016-0625-5. 

Selected Media Coverage


Scheduling: For inquiries, please contact Morgan Morgan,, 810-600-9126.





Scholarly Interests

  • Mental health and substance use interventions for vulnerable populations 
  • Perinatal women and justice-involved populations (e.g., prisoners and jail detainees)
  • Community-engaged and participatory approaches to research, leadership, and governance

Dr. Johnson’s CV


  • x logo @JJohnsPhD
  • Email:
  • Office Phone: 810-600-5669
  • Address:
    Charles Stewart Mott Department of Public Health, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University
    200 East 1st Street, Room 366, Flint, MI 48502

Intervention Manuals