Lane P. Johnson, MD, MPH, professor, UA Department of Family and Community Medicine, retired on Dec. 17, after a more than 35-year career in medicine.
Dr. Johnson has been a beloved faculty member, compassionate clinician, dedicated educator and insightful researcher. His friendly nature, quick wit, keen insights, calm demeanor and unwavering commitment to patients, residents and medical students, has made a profound and positive impact.
“I am very grateful to have had Family and Community Medicine as my professional home since graduation from medical school in 1983 and full time since 1993,” said Dr. Johnson. “My dear friend and mentor, Dr. Ron Pust, asked me during the residency application process; ‘who do you want to spend the rest of your professional life with?’ That immediately clarified my decision to go into family medicine. That is a choice I have never regretted.”
Dr. Johnson earned his BA in anthropology from the University of Arizona in 1970. He then received his MPH from UC Berkeley in 1979 and his MD from the UA College of Medicine in 1983. He completed his family medicine training at the UA family medicine residency program in 1986.
Dr. Johnson has been with Family and Community Medicine since 1993, when he joined the department to serve as the medical director for the Broadway Family Health Center. Since then, Dr. Johnson has served in many capacities and leadership roles in the department and the UA College of Medicine - Tucson. From 1997 - 2018, Dr. Johnson was the director of the UA College of Medicine’s MD-MPH Dual Degree Program; from 2006 – 2018, he was a mentor for medical students with the College of Medicine’s Societies Program. From 2010-2017, he cared for his own panel of patients and was the medical director at Banner – University Medicine Family Medicine Clinic South. All the while, he also served in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health as a professor of public health. During his time at the UA, he has worn many hats—all with professional grace, dignity and humor.
Dr. Johnson was as dedicated to teaching as he was to taking care of patients. “Lane taught me the simple but profound secret to teaching medical students,” said colleague, Hal Strich, MPH, former associate director of COM’s MD-MPD Dual Degree Program and faculty member with Family and Community Medicine. “Lane said, ‘Teach them what they need to know, not what you want them to know.’
On Dec. 6, the Dept. of Family and Community Medicine held a special celebration for Dr. Johnson at Lodge on the Desert, where he gave his “last lecture”—a moving talk where he provided highlights and shared wisdom and lessons learned from his life and career.
At the event, Myra Muramoto, MD, MPH, professor and chair of Family and Community Medicine, gave a heartfelt speech about Dr. Johnson:
“Although Lane has served in many roles over his 35-year career, at his core Lane is a family doctor—practicing the art and science of medicine to help patients,” said Dr. Muramoto. “He never lost sight of the importance of the art of medicine to recognize and sometimes transcend the limitations of medical science. Lane, we are grateful for all that you have given to the faculty, staff, residents and students of FCM, the College of Medicine, and many other organizations in our community.”
“One of the things I enjoy most about family medicine is that we are as much interested in our patients as we are with their conditions,” said Dr. Johnson. “It is a remarkable privilege to be present with our patients, and I know that is a feeling shared by my family medicine colleagues. I very much appreciate the friendship, support and collegiality I have been blessed with in my time at the University of Arizona.”
In addition to being skilled in the art and science of medicine, Dr. Johnson is a naturalist of Southwest herbs, a published writer (author of Pocket Guide to Herbal Remedies; co-editor of The Care of the Uninsured in America) and a musician (he is a member of the Tortolita Gutpluckers bluegrass band).
Dr. Muramoto concluded her speech at Dr. Johnson’s celebration with words we all echo:
“Lane, thank you for helping us, teaching us, and reminding us to ‘take care of our patients, our learners, and each other.’ We wish you much enjoyment in your well-deserved retirement. We will miss you!”