Pamela Jo Johnson, MPH, PhD, FACE

Mary J. Berg Distinguished Professor of Women’s Health 
Professor and Chair 
640R Aldevron Tower


Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Health Services Research/Survey Research, 2004-2005
University of Minnesota 

Doctor of Philosophy, Epidemiology, 2004
University of Minnesota 

Master of Public Health, Community Health Education 1999
University of Minnesota 

Bachelor of Arts, Sociology, 1995
University of Minnesota 


Dr. Johnson is a health services epidemiologist and survey methodologist whose work emphasizes access to health and mental health services, including complementary and alternative medicine. She studies maternal and infant health, midlife women’s health, and the health of people with mental disorders. Dr. Johnson’s work focuses on disparities in access, use, and delivery of health services. Her current research concerns premature mortality for people with mental disorders and the potentially preventable or manageable conditions (e.g., cardiometabolic diseases) that lead to premature death. Dr. Johnson is particularly interested in health services for midlife adults and those with comorbid psychiatric and physical conditions and the potential for inappropriate treatment or under-treatment of conditions resulting in unmet health service needs. She is also interested in the role of discrimination due to mental disorders in the workplace and healthcare settings as contributors to poor health and quality of life.  

Dr. Johnson has extensive experience working with secondary data sources such as vital records data (e.g., natality, mortality, linked birth/infant death), national health surveys (e.g., NHIS, BRFSS), national healthcare surveys (e.g., NHAMCS-ED, NAMCS, NHDS), demographic data sources (e.g., US Census, CPS, ACS), and electronic health records data. She has expertise with questionnaire development, survey sampling, and survey administration, as well as with techniques for analyzing data collected via complex sample designs.

Research Interests and Areas of Expertise 

Mental Disorder Epidemiology Research Program

  • Women’s health
  • Mental health/illness
  • Midlife and healthy aging
  • Health and healthcare disparities/equity
  • Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) 
  • Maternal and infant health
  • American Indian health
  • Survey research methods
  • Health services epidemiology
  • Social epidemiology
  • Secondary data analysis with national health surveys, vital statistics (natality/mortality) data, electronic health records (EHR) data

Professional Memberships

Fellow, American College of Epidemiology
Member, Society for Epidemiologic Research
Member, American Association for Public Opinion Research
Member, Association of Teachers of Maternal and Child Health
Member, American Public Health Association
Member, North Dakota Public Health Association 


PH 300: Introduction to the US Healthcare System [Fall]
PH 489: Health Services Capstone [Fall/Spr/Sum]
PH 496: Health Services Field Experience [Fall/Spr/Sum]
PH 754: Health Survey Research [Spring]
PH 794: Applied Practice Experience / MPH Practicum [Fall/Spr/Sum]

Selected Publications (of 61)
h-index = 29; i-10 index = 53

Complete list: Google Scholar

  1. Jou J, Upchurch D, Johnson PJ. (2023). Delayed and forgone care in US adults living with family members with serious health needs. Families, Systems, & Health, 41(3), 320–331.
  2. Johnson PJ, Jou J Upchurch D. (2022). Unmet healthcare needs among midlife adults with mental distress and multiple chronic conditions. Aging and Mental Health, 26(4):775-783.
  3. Johnson PJ, Jou J Upchurch D. (2020). Psychological distress and access to care among midlife women. Journal of Aging and Health, 32(5-6):317-327.
  4. Johnson PJ, Jou J Upchurch D. (2019). Healthcare disparities among US women of reproductive age by level of psychological distress. Journal of Women’s Health, 28(9):1286-1294.
  5. Johnson PJ, Jou J, Rockwood TH, Upchurch D. (2019). Perceived benefit of using complementary and alternative medicine by race/ethnicity in midlife and older adults in the US. Journal of Aging and Health, 31(8):1376-1397.
  6. Johnson PJ, O’Brien M, Orionzi D, Trahan L, Rockwood T. (2019). A pilot in community-based diabetes self-management support for patients at an urban primary care clinic. Diabetes Spectrum, 32(2):157-163.
  7. Rhee TG, Evans R, McAlpine D, Johnson PJ. (2017). Racial/ethnic differences in the use of complementary and alternative medicine in US adults with moderate mental distress: results from National Health Interview Survey. J of Primary Care & Community Health, 8(2):43-54.
  8. Johnson PJ, Jou J, Rhee G, Rockwood TH, Upchurch D. (2016). Complementary health approaches for health and wellness in midlife and older US adults. Maturitas, 89:36-42.
  9. Johnson PJ, Kozhimannil KB, Jou J, Ghildayal N, Rockwood TH. (2016). Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among women of reproductive age in the United States. Women’s Health Issues, 26(1):40-47.
  10. Johnson PJ, Ghildayal N, Rockwood TH, Everson-Rose SA. (2014). Differences in diabetes self-care activities by race/ethnicity and insulin use. The Diabetes Educator, 40(6):767-777.
  11. Gjerdingen D, McGovern P, Attanasio L, Johnson PJ, Kozhimannil KB. (2014). Maternal depressive symptoms, employment, and social support. JABFM, 7(1):87-96.
  12. Johnson PJ, Blewett LA, Call KT, Davern ME. (2010). American Indian/Alaska Native uninsurance disparities: A comparison of 3 surveys. American Journal of Public Health, 100(10):1972-79.
  13. Johnson PJ, Carlson KF, Hearst MO. (2010). Healthcare disparities for American Indian veterans in the United States: A population-based study.  Medical Care, 48(6):563-569. 
  14. Johnson PJ, Call KT, Blewett LA.(2010). The importance of geographic data aggregation in assessing disparities in American Indian prenatal care. American Journal of Public Health, 100(1):122-128.
  15. Johnson PJ, Oakes JM, Anderton DL. (2008). Neighborhood poverty and American Indian infant death: are the effects identifiable? Annals ofEpidemiology, 18(7):552-559.
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