Tiffani Johnson, MD, is a third-year fellow in pediatric emergency medicine at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, where she focuses on improving advocacy for underrepresented and underserved children through clinical practice, policy, and research. Recognizing that research is one of the most important components in accomplishing her goals, she has been an active trainee in the ICRE since 2011. She is currently working toward an MS in clinical research and is enrolled in two ICRE research training and career development programs: the Career Education and Enhancement for Health Care Research Diversity (CEED) Program and the RANDľUniversity of Pittsburgh Scholars Program.
Originally from New Jersey, Dr. Johnson believes that growing up in an urban school district with limited resources, low standardized test scores, and high dropout rates contributed to who she is today. Successfully defeating the odds, she graduated summa cum laude with a BS in biology from Xavier University in 2002 and earned her MD from the University of Medicine and Dentistry in 2006. During her residency, while serving a vulnerable population in the Emergency Department of the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC, she felt a special connection to children who had grown up in a setting similar to that of her early childhood. This deepened her passion for research about disparities in pediatric emergency care and her desire to pursue research that would have a positive impact on the social determinants of health outcomes.
Approaching her research in three phases, Dr. Johnson began by using National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) data to identify racial and ethnic differences in the management of pediatric abdominal pain. In analyses that adjusted for confounders, she found that black children were less likely than white children to receive analgesics in the emergency department, even when their abdominal pain was severe. She presented this finding at three national meetings and submitted it for publication. The second phase of her research involves investigating racial/ethnic differences in prehospital trauma care and understanding the sources of these differences. Her plan is to submit a proposal for a career development award focusing on understanding patient-, parent-, provider-, and system-level factors that contribute to disparities in pediatric emergency care. The third phase of her research will involve designing interventions to reduce health care disparities.
Dr. Johnson credits her mentoring team and her ICRE programs for actively helping her along the path to becoming an independent investigator. She says that each program has provided her with opportunities and resources that would not have been accessible through her clinical fellowship alone. The programs have also strengthened her networks, helped her develop a multidisciplinary team of mentors, provided a foundation for conducting accurate and statistically sound research, and contributed to her grant-writing skills. Together the programs and her fellowship have provided her with the support and flexibility that she needed to carve out a niche in her research and clinical care.
At this point in her career, Dr. Johnson already has an impressive amount of experience in medical education. She currently teaches third- and fourth-year medical students at the University of Pittsburgh and residents at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, where she provides individual instruction during patient care activities in the Pediatric Medicine Department and is actively involved in the development of the Children's Hospital pediatric emergency medicine online curriculum. In addition, she has given a number of keynote addresses, invited talks, and workshops on the local, regional, and national levels. The topics for these presentations have included education about AIDS/HIV infection, disparities in education and health care, nutrition, pediatric asthma, raising healthy children, community health care, women's health, and systems-based practice.
Dr. Johnson recently received a K12 award in emergency medicine, which she will pursue at the University of Pennsylvania, beginning in July 2013. She will also join the faculty in the Division of Emergency Medicine at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Although she is sad about leaving all of her wonderful mentors here in Pittsburgh, she is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.
The Institute for Clinical Research Education serves as the Research Education and
Career Development Core of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI).