MUSC health promotion director selected as inaugural Sustainability Leadership Initiative fellow

October 29, 2021
Headshot of Susan Johnson
Dr. Susan Johnson directs of Health Promotion and serves as an assistant professor of Graduate Studies in the MUSC College of Health Professions.

Susan L. Johnson, Ph.D., director of Health Promotion and assistant professor of Graduate Studies in the MUSC College of Health Professions, was selected to be part of the inaugural class of the Sustainability Leadership Initiative, sponsored by Sustain SC in partnership with the Furman University Shi Institute for Sustainable Communities. Johnson was among 23 other South Carolina leaders and professionals tapped to participate in the six-month innovative leadership program. 

This program brings together leaders focused on identifying pathways and solutions  that concern sustainability. Participants represent areas of industry and government and nongovernmental organizations, with a goal to discuss and develop strategies for sustainable growth in the Palmetto State. 

“This experience will provide an opportunity to advance my knowledge and leadership skills related to climate change, sustainability, resilience and the impacts on health equity, disparities, quality of life and health outcomes,” said Johnson. “Given the recent Grand Challenge on Climate Change and Human Health launched by the National Academy of Medicine, I believe that MUSC is well-positioned to take a leadership role in this effort, and that my participation as a fellow in the SLI will allow me to expand my sphere of influence and serve as a driver of positive change within our organization, our community, our state and our profession.” 

Johnson directs systemwide initiatives focused on organizational wellness as well as provides leadership in the development and implementation of health promotion to students, employees, visitors and the Tri-county community. 

Her many successful initiatives at MUSC have earned her recognition through multiple prevention awards and inclusion in numerous publications. She was recently honored by the South Carolina Hospital Association’s Working Well Initiative and Charleston Healthy Business Challenge. Other awards include SmokeFree Advocate of the Year, by the Smoke Free Lowcountry Coalition; Rising Star winner of Influential Women in Business, by the Charleston Regional Business Journal; Prevention Partners Agent of Change; and the Joseph P. Riley Health and Wellness Award.

The six-month innovative leadership program will feature six sessions at Furman University from October of 2021 to April of 2022. Topics that will be discussed include What is Sustainability, Systems Thinking, Boundary-Spanning Leadership, Futures Thinking and Sustainability Storytelling. Sessions will be led by Courtney Quinn, Ph.D., director of the Sustainability Leadership Initiative.

“We are hopeful that bringing together representatives from industry, government, and NGOs for engaging discussions will help drive smart, sustainable growth in our state,” said Quinn.

Other inaugural members of the 2021 Sustainability Leadership Initiative include Blair Belk, Coca-Cola Consolidated; Jennifer Calabria, Pacolet Milliken; Trip Chavis, Milliken Advisors; Ashley Demosthenes, Lowcountry Land Trust; Julia Dietz, Audubon; Kristy Ellenberg, S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control; Stinson Woodward Ferguson, Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd; Chantal Fryer, S.C. Department of Commerce; Lilyn Hester, Google; Rob Howell, Avison Young; Danny Kassis, Dominion Energy; Maurie Lawrence, Milliken & Company; Jennifer Mapes, Sage Automotive; Mark Messersmith, SC Ports Authority; Anne-Marie Moehering, Harper Construction; Cassidy Murphy, SC Farm Bureau; Jim Posda, GEL Engineering; Elizabeth Rhue, Sonoco; Susie Shannon, SC Council on Competitiveness; Travis Tarbet, BMW; Dale Threatt-Taylor, The Nature Conservancy-South Carolina; and Pam Vaughn, FujiFilm Manufacturing. 

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