For all of us who have been fortunate enough to have crossed the path of Ernest W. Johnson, M.D., our journey has been enriched. Personally, I am grateful to Dr. Johnson for sharing with me his scholarship, his mentorship, and his friendship. It is an honor to know a man so accomplished who has had such an impact upon my training, my career, and my professional life.
The name “Dr. Ernest W. Johnson”, or affectionately “Dr. J” or “Ernie” symbolizes preeminence in electrodiagnostic medicine, enthusiasm in education and scholarship, excellence in leadership, and national reputation for The Ohio State University and Dodd Hall Rehabilitation hospital. During his 60 years at The Ohio State University, Ernie has touched the hearts of his patients, staff, and faculty; inspired the excellence in his residents; and has captured the admiration of his fellow colleagues. He has showered the sky with stars and one was lit for me.
When Ernie began his career at The Ohio State University as the 3rd resident in Physical Medicine, the Division of Physical Medicine was in its infancy and I was not yet born. By the time I was in grade school, Ernie was Chairman of the new Department of Physical Medicine, the nationally recognized Dodd Hall was just constructed, and he was already recognized as an expert in electrodiagnosis. (He was also involved in early classic studies on the efficacy of therapeutic ultrasound in pigs and I understand that he and his wife ate pork for months!). Although my father has been one of his close colleagues for several decades, I didn’t meet Dr. Johnson until I interviewed for residency in 1983. I remember the energy that Dr. Johnson exuded during the interview (that endless enthusiasm which has endured); he showed me a map of the United States proudly presenting throughout the country where his former residents were located (residents whose names he would remember and recite at all subsequent Academy of PM&R Annual alumni reunions). I chose to train at OSU and because of Ernie’s influence have remained in the Department of PM&R since that time.
Ernie’s enthusiasm for patient care, education, and scholarship is infectious and every day in the last 25 years I have looked forward to coming to work and practicing my profession. This enthusiasm and energy, yet human touch, dwarfs his accomplishments and makes it easy to stand beside him. He has authored hundreds of publications including a text on Electromyography, has held among our profession’s highest leadership positions and received its highest honors, participated in many national initiatives, and has trained some of the finest physiatrists in the country. His editorials at the College of Medicine continue to educate and entertain. Dr. Johnson has lifted our PM&R department to national distinction, honored The Ohio State University, and forwarded our profession. His legacy will endure.
Thank you, Ernie.