Joseph Lealand Johnson
Physiologist and Physician
Joseph Lealand Johnson was born in Philadelphia, Penn., in 1895. A son of former slaves, he became only the second African American to earn both a Ph.D. and an M.D. degree and eventually became dean of the Howard University Medical School and chairman of its Department of Physiology.
It was under his guidance and direction that Howard's physiology department was completely revamped, renovated, and redirected into a modern facility where meaningful research could take place. In 1947 Dr. Johnson became dean and remained in that position until 1955 when he returned to full-time teaching and research in physiology. He retired in 1971.
By the time Dr. Johnson died in 1991, he had been a member of the board of directors of the National Medical Association and held memberships in the, NAACP, AMA, American Physiology Society, and many others.