Alton R. Johnson,
Jr., DPM, CWSP
Dr. Johnson is a practicing podiatrist and wound care specialist dedicated to making the field more diversified and inclusive.
About Dr. Johnson
Alton R. Johnson Jr., DPM is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan in the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes-Podiatry. Founder and CEO of AJ Educational Empowerment. Dr. Johnson received his Bachelors of Science degree in Biology from Barry University. During his time as an undergraduate at Barry U., Dr. Johnson completed a summer basic science research internship at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and a clinical epidemiology research internship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In 2012, he attended the Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine, Doctor of Podiatric Medicine. In addition, as a podiatric medical student Dr. Johnson presented several research posters focused on geriatric fall secondary to foot deformities. In 2016, Dr. Johnson went on to complete a three-year Podiatric Medicine & Surgery Residency at AHMC in Aventura, FL.
Dr. Johnson was part of AHMC’s back to back to back ResEd Summit Midwest Residency Rumble 1st Place championship teams. Dr. Johnson has also managed to present multiple research projects at The Future of Regenerative Medicine Congress, ResEd Summit Midwest Conferences, SAWC and the ACFAS Conference. During his chief year of residency, Dr. Johnson was able to publish several peer-reviewed journal articles and participate in an international medical mission in Haiti. In 2019, Dr. Johnson was awarded the American Podiatric Medicine Association and Symposium of Advanced Wound Care Podiatrist Wound Care Scholarship at the SAWC Fall 2019 conference in Las Vegas, NV. In 2020, Dr. Johnson was bestowed the American Board of Wound Management Foundation Scholarship and selected as the only podiatric clinical investigator in the nation for the 2020 National Institutes of Health/National Medical Association Academic Medicine Fellows Program. In 2021, Dr. Johnson completed a two-year ACFAS Podiatric Medicine and Surgery Clinical Research Fellowship and two-year Clinical Research Post-Doctoral Clinical Research Certification at the University Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in Philadelphia, PA. His research emphasis has been focused on gerontology, tropical and international medicine, regenerative medicine, wound care, diabetic limb preservation techniques, rare dermatological and bone pathologies, biomedical technology, and advanced durable medical equipment technology.
Tell Us About Yourself
I am currently a Clinical Assistant Professor within Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes-Podiatry at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. I recently completed a two-year clinical fellowship with emphasis on clinical research and wound care at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, PA. I am a practicing podiatrist, podiatric surgeon, and wound care specialist that love what I do every day. I truly enjoy challenging wound cases.
What was your path to wound care?
I knew that I wanted to become wound care specialist since my first day of podiatric medical school, so it’s been on my trajectory since 2012. Throughout residency I took it more seriously by spending an abundant time with the plastic surgery attendings understanding wound healing from various points of views. Following residency, I chose to complete a fellowship in wound care.
What’s the most challenge part of your job?
The most challenging part of my job is dealing with insurance authorization; however, I must admit since becoming faculty at Michigan Medicine-University of Michigan this has improved compared to fellowship and residency training years.
How are you helping to change the field of wound care?
It’s difficult to gauge how one individual is changing the field of wound care, but I will say I attempting to change the field by making it more diversified and inclusive. I want healthcare professionals from all backgrounds and specialties to realize they are all healers.
What does being a Difference Maker mean to you?
Being a Difference Maker is breaking from the status quo and pushing the needle to do what is best to serve our patient population also being a teacher to all.
What advice would you give someone pursuing wound care?
I would advise anyone entering the world of wound care to find a mentor and ask questions. I still ask questions about wound care cases that I struggle with. Sometimes the solution is simple and sometimes it is not so simple, but I am willing to put myself out there to heal my patients.
Tell us a story that reminds you why you pursued your career?
There are numerous stories that remind me why I pursued a career in wound care. The most recent story was healing a wound of another physician. Without breaking any privacy laws. I had tried several failed modalities and could not get the individual’s wound to heal. However, when I seemed defeated during a visit the patient told “Dr. Johnson you have made more progress in these past two weeks than most have in months.” It was in that moment, when I realized we had one last modality that we had not exhausted before burying our heads in the sand. It was this recommendation that eventually healed the patient’s wound two weeks later. It was a very emotional moment; because, I think it was the first time I actually saw myself as the patient. I could have easily been that physician depending on another physician to heal me.
What’s something innovative you’ve done to advance the field of wound care?
I have recently started a passion project aimed to empower other via education. This past summer, I founded a company named AJ Educational Empowerment, LLC with a mission focused on using education as a currency to improve the environment around us. The goal is target disenfranchised individuals whether it be based on gender identity, race, sexual orientation or religion that we need a diversity of pool of people to achieve greatness not only in healthcare but the overall wellbeing of society.