In my work experience and in my own life, I have seen the transformative power of psychotherapy. I have witnessed incredible bravery, compassion and trust. I have sat with individuals as they shared their darkest moments, and made sure they knew that they were not alone. I personally have seen the benefit of sharing with another my deepest fears, and had that person hear me and respond without judgment. Therapy is not about creating something or someone new, it’s about shedding what is inessential, so you can share more of your best, most authentic self with the world.
Dr. Johnson is a tenured Associate Professor of Neurology at University of California at Davis. He possess expertise in clinical and neuropsychological assessment of healthy aging and dementia and advanced longitudinal research methodology. As director of the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center – East Bay San Francisco, he is responsible for the clinical-cognitive assessment, analysis, and interpretation of over 400 older adult research participants. His primary academic interest is to investigate the biologic bases of behavior that identify healthy aging and distinguish it from dementia. Dr. Johnson's research program focuses on improving the sensitivity and specificity of cognitive and biological markers of Alzheimer’s disease and on developing and testing clinical interventions that inhibit disease progression. Fundamental to all of his research is a broad appreciation of how dementia affects individuals as well as the social networks that support them. He has published work (40 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 14 first authored, 15 senior authored) reflects his specialty training in (1) Clinical Gerontology, (2) Neuropsychology, and (3) Neurology. His work has contributed significantly to the detection of very early signs and component processes of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Currently he is a Principal Investigator of a five-million dollar lifestyle intervention study investigating near and far biomarkers associated with the development of both Alzheimer’s disease and Type-II diabetes. As a previous NIH Fogarty International Center (FIC) awardee, he gained extensive experience in international (Central America), multi-cultural investigations in cognitive aging. As director of the UC Davis ADRC Outreach and Recruitment and Education Core, he applies these culturally competent patient engagement strategies every day.
Dr. Johnson's decision to focus the Alzheimer’s Disease Center in the East Bay on African-American health disparities research and clinical service evolved easily. San Francisco continues to gentrify and it has become an enclave of wealth. Its middle and working classes have fled the city for the East Bay which has become the home for people of color in the bay area. By result, our catchment in the East Bay is the most diverse in Northern California. Focusing the center to serve this catchment is synthetic (1) with UC Davis' spirit of community and diversity, (2) with the National Institute of Aging's focus to include greater numbers of minority participants in clinical research and (3) his personal career objective to understand health disparities among low resourced aging families. He has organized his hiring, recruiting and administrative strategy to support this rebranding of the East Bay ADC to support these families and enhance our diversity themed research. Dr. Johnson continues to be excited about his move to UC Davis, because the university’s priorities dove tails with his own research experience and expertise. He looks forward to growing research, clinical practice and service across the greater UC Davis community.
B.A., Washington College in Maryland, Chestertown MD 1990
M.A., Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis MO 2001
Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis MO 2003
Clinical Postdoc, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis MO 2004
Doctoral Internship in Clinical Psychology, St. Louis VA Medical Center, St. Louis MO
Doctoral Training in Clinical Psychology, Aging and Neuropsychology tracks, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis MO 1996-2001
Research Instructor, Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Department of Neurology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis MO 2003-2007
Ad Hoc Reviewer, National Institutes of Health Center for Scientific Research, 2019, 2020
National Institutes of Health Center for Scientific Research, Permanent Reviewer NIA-S, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Invited Expert Testimony, California Legislature Committee on Aging and Disability, 2018
Invited Expert Testimony, Kansas Legislature Appropriations Committee, 2017
National Institutes of Health Center for Scientific Research, Early Career Reviewer, 2013, 2014, 2013
Invited Expert Testimony, Kansas Legislature Committee on Lifespan Research, 2008
National Institutes of Health, Clinical Research Loan Repayment Program, 2004, 2005, 2006
National Institutes of Aging, Summer Institute, 2004
The Roma Schaefer Nooter Scholar’s Award, 2002, 2003
Invited Lecturer in Stroke Rehabilitation, American Heart Association, St. Louis. 2001, 2002
Pass with distinction, Graduate Subject Matter Examination, 2000
The Richard and Mildred Poletsky Award, 2000
National Merit Scholar, 1986
Burns JM, Johnson DK, Liebmann E, Vidoni ED. Safety of disclosing amyloid status in cognitively normal older adults. Alzheimer's and dementia; the journal of the Alzheimer's Association. 2017.
GarnieValdievieso-Mora E, Peet CL, Garnier-Villareal M, Salazar-Villanea M, Johnson DK. A systematic review of the relationship between familism and mental health outcomes in Latino population. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. 2017.
Johnson DK, Langford Z, Garnier-Villarreal M, Morris JC, Galvin JE. Onset of mild cognitive impairment in Parkinson disease. Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders. 2016;30(2):127-133.
Morris JK, Vidoni ED, Mahnken JD, Montgomery RN, Johnson DK, Thyfault JP, Burns JM. Cognitively impaired elderly exhibit insulin resistance and no memory improvement with infused insulin. Neurobiology of Aging. 2016;39:19-24.
Gupta A, Lepping RJ, Yu AS, Perea RD, Honea RA, Johnson DK, Brooks WM, Burns JM. Cognitive function and white matter changes associated with renal transplantation. American Journal of Nephrology. 2016;43(1):50-57.
Johnson DK, Morris JM, Galvin J. Onset of Mild Cognitive Impairment in Parkinson Disease. Alzheimer’s Disease and Associated Disorders. 2015. DOI:10.1097/WAD.0000000000000088
Salazar-Villanea M, Liebmann E, Garnier-Villareal M, Montenegro-Montenegro E, Johnson DK. Depressive symptoms affect working memory in healthy older adult Hispanics. Journal of Depression and Anxiety. 2015;4(4). Epub 2015 Sep 27.
Vidoni ED, Johnson DK, Morris JK, Van Sciver A, Greer CS, Billinger SA, Donnelly JE, Burns JM. Dose-response of aerobic exercise on cognition: A community-based, pilot randomized controlled trial. PloS one. 2015;10(7):e0131647.
Morris JK, Vidoni ED, Perea RD, Rada R, Johnson DK, Lyons K, Pahwa R, Burns JM, Honea RA. Insulin resistance and gray matter volume in neurodegenerative disease. Neuroscience. 2014;270:139-47.
Watts AS, Vidoni ED, Loskutova N, Johnson DK, Burns JM. Measuring physical activity in older adults with and without early stage Alzheimer's disease. Clinical Gerontologist. 2013;36(4):356-374.