Former prof appointed chief medical officer

Dr. Calvin Johnson left his position as the secretary of the Pennsylvania Health Department to return to Temple.

Temple University Health System has turned to its past to find its new vice president and chief medical officer.

Dr. Calvin B. Johnson, formerly an assistant professor in the pediatrics department in the School of Medicine and attending pediatrician in emergency medicine at the Children’s Medical Center, was appointed to the position, which became effective in October.

Johnson will assume system-wide responsibility for all patients’ safety, infection control and various other initiatives that have an influence on clinical and patient outcomes.

“I was enjoying what I was doing. I wasn’t actively looking for [a new career],” Johnson said. “But when the opportunity came around I [took it], and it made sense to come back home. I’m in an opportunity environment where the rubber meets the road.”

Calvin Johnson - Chief Medical Officer

Johnson served as the secretary of the Pennsylvania Health Department since April 2003 before accepting the new position with TUHS. As secretary, he directed the health services and regulatory functions of the state’s health department, an agency with more than 1,500 employees serving Pennsylvania’s 12.5 million residents.

While state health secretary, Johnson distributed more than $350 million to research projects in the fields of vaccine development, regenerative medicine and antibiotic resistance as well as increasing state funding by $3 million for targeted HIV/AIDS prevention and early detection.

“Calvin’s long-term relationship with Temple – as a former attending pediatrician in emergency medicine and a current member of the medical faculty – has provided him with significant insight and understanding about Temple’s mission of providing quality, safe care to the communities it serves,” said Joseph “Chip” Marshall, president and CEO of TUHS.

Johnson’s family has connections to the university as well. His mother, a North Philadelphia native, is a Temple alumna. His father earned his MBA from the Fox School of Business.

“It’s very important that Temple maintain good relationships with the surrounding communities. Temple has a role to grow as a good neighbor,” Johnson said.

“A lot of people don’t realize what Temple is engaged in and what the potential is for Temple to do,” he said. “I feel that any growth is beneficial for the people who have lived in North Philadelphia for many years, and as the school grows, the community is also growing. The two should not be separate.”

A board-certified pediatrician, Johnson graduated from Morehouse College with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He earned a medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a master’s degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

TUHS employs approximately 7,500 workers and consists of four provider facilities, including Temple University Hospital, Jeanes Hospital, Northeastern Hospital, TUH-Episcopal Campus and Temple Physicians Inc., a network of community-based physicians.

TUHS hospitals admitted more than 50,000 patients in 2008 and handled nearly 440,000 outpatient visits.

“I learn every day. I learn from my mistakes, and I’m not afraid to make mistakes,” he said. “It’s a coordinated effort to do everything I can to improve the quality of care here.”

Tom Rowan can be reached at

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