In Memoriam of Tom Johnson, MD | 1935-2024

May 30, 2024

Tom-Johnson-obituary-thumbnail.pngTom Milroy Johnson, MD, passed away Friday, May 10, 2024, at the age of eighty-nine. An internist, he was recruited to MSU in 1968 by the College of Human Medicine’s founding Dean Andrew Hunt and was an inaugural faculty member of the Department of Internal Medicine.

Dr. Johnson was part of the original two-year curriculum, the four-year curriculum that started the year he arrived, and focal problems, the forerunner of problem-based learning that is now ubiquitous in medical education. He was charged with setting up clinical campuses in Flint, Saginaw, Grand Rapids, Alma, and other communities, and became the founding community assistant dean of Grand Rapids.

“Tom was a dedicated educator and very much an innovator, whose work in focal problems and community-based education became the model for so much of medical education in the country today,” said College of Human Medicine Dean Aron Sousa, MD. “I am delighted we brought him back for a Town Hall on March 29.”

In 1977, Dr. Johnson left MSU to be dean at North Dakota Medical School for 11 years, developing their curriculum from two years to four years. He returned to the College of Human Medicine in 1988 and became associate dean for community and clinical affairs. Dr. Johnson retired from the College in 1998.

Dr. Johnson received his medical degree from Northwestern University Subsequently and his residency at the University of Michigan before serving two years in the Air Force, stationed at F.E. Warren AFB in Wyoming. Upon returning to Michigan he completed a fellowship at the University of Michigan.

Subsequent to his retirement, Dr. Johnson, who attended a one-room school as a child, became active in the Michigan One Room Schoolhouse Association and was chair of the organization for a number of years. Tom was a restorian, having restored three old homes, a one room school, and many antique cares.

MORE:  In Dr. Johnson’s 2009 interview he shares his memories of his experiences in the early years of the college.