Assistant professor Lee Ann Johnson
Nurse scientist Lee Ann Johnson, who studies lung cancer, will be part of the National Institutes of Health's Health Disparities Research Institute.

Assistant Professor Lee Ann Johnson is one of 50 promising early career scholars selected for the NIH/NIMHHD’s annual flagship Health Disparities Research Institute, which takes place in August 2022.

As part of the institute, Johnson and her peers will take part in lectures on conducting research with minority health and in health disparities, join in small group discussions, do mock grant reviews, and attend seminars.

Driven by the deaths of her close family members from lung cancer, Johnson—a nurse scientist and Fulbright Scholar alumna—studies palliative and end-of-life care outcomes in patients with advanced lung cancer, one-third of whom report high levels of stigma associated with their disease, a factor that impacts their care and likelihood of seeking the relief of palliative and end-of-life care. Prior to her arrival at UVA, Johnson earned funding from the American Cancer Society, the Hillman Foundation, and the Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina.

Since arriving at UVA in mid-2020, Johnson earned a $341,000 iTHRIV grant to study how advanced lung cancer patients’ comorbidities influence the treatments they seek, their ability to survive, and their quality of life. With coursework at the UVA School of Data Science, Johnson is also deepening her understanding and use of big data in research. With Associate Professor Cathy Campbell, a fellow disparities scholar, and colleagues at JMU, Johnson earned a 4-VA Advancing the Commonwealth collaborative grant to imagine and develop, with community members, a future framework that uses artificial intelligence and big data to assist patients with end-of-life care decision making. An instructor to undergraduate and PhD students, Johnson is also part of UVA Center for Teaching Excellence’s Ignite program, an intensive for new faculty to create equitable, effective, and engaging courses.

A psychiatric nurse practitioner with undergraduate degrees in English, psychology, and neuroscience, Johnson earned a PhD in nursing from Vanderbilt University.