Dr. Karen C. Johnston to Chair U.Va. Department of Neurology

Oct. 11, 2007 — Dr. Sharon L. Hostler, interim vice president and dean of the University of Virginia School of Medicine, and R. Edward Howell, vice president and chief executive officer of U.Va.’s  Medical Center, have announced the appointment of Dr. Karen C. Johnston as chairwoman of the Department of Neurology.

Johnston previously served as a professor of neurology and public health sciences in the U.Va. School of Medicine and as vice chairwoman for research for the Department of Neurology.

She received her medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and completed her neurology residency at the University of Rochester Strong Memorial Hospital. Johnston then completed a cerebrovascular fellowship at the University of Virginia. She joined the U.Va. faculty in 1997 and obtained a master's degree in outcomes research and clinical investigation in 1999.  She had been the vice chairwoman of research for the Department of Neurology since 2004.

 "We are excited to have Dr. Johnston to lead our world-renowned Department of Neurology as it moves into a new era," said Hostler. "Her skills as a clinician, educator and researcher will allow us to build on the breadth of expertise already found in our department."

Johnston's research focuses on treatment and outcomes in acute ischemic stroke, and she is the principle investigator on numerous NIH funded grants. She is an associate editor of the journal Neurology. She was the founding chairwoman of the U.Va. Academy of Distinguished Educators and is currently director of U.Va.’s internal K-12 Scholars Program, a mentored career development program in translational research for junior faculty members.

"For decades, the residents of Central Virginia have benefited from U.Va.’s world-class neurologists, and our medical residents and fellows have benefited from having outstanding teachers and mentors to further their training," Howell noted. "Under Dr. Johnston's guidance, U.Va. will be able to meet the health care needs of our rapidly growing community for decades to come and the physicians we train will continue to be some of the finest in the world."

Johnston is a founding member of the American Society for Experimental Neurotherapeutics and was recently elected to the American Neurological Association. In 2006, she was selected for the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine program held at Drexel University. She is a member of many professional societies, including the American Academy of Neurology and the American Heart Association and has published extensively in the area of stroke and neurological clinical trials.

"In conjunction with the outstanding faculty in this department, we plan to place additional focus on translational research and explore new avenues to enhance patient access to the nationally recognized care provided by our neurologists," Johnston said. "The U.Va. Department of Neurology has a great reputation and tradition in providing outstanding care for our patients, advancing new techniques and treatments through research and educating the next generation of physicians. It is my desire to build on the many achievements of my predecessor, Dr. (Fred) Wooten, and to develop new programs in clinical care, teaching and research.

"I am truly honored to have this opportunity."