Dr. Johnson has nearly 40 years of university and private sector experience engaging in research and development activities that focus on human service challenges. He received a BS in Forestry in 1964, an MS in Criminal Justice in 1969, a PhD in Social Science from Michigan State University in 1971, and an MSSW from the Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville in 1994.
Dr. Johnson served as President of Community Systems Research Institute, Inc. (1994-1999), Professor of Criminal Justice (1992-1998), Director of the Urban Research Institute and Associate Professor at the University of Louisville (1984-1992), Director of Research and Associate Professor in the Justice Center at the University of Alaska, Anchorage (1980-1983), Director of Research and Evaluation in the International Training and Evaluation Council of Fairfax, Virginia (1979-1980), and Director of the Prince George’s County Criminal Justice Evaluation Unit as well as Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland, College Park (1971-1979).
He has been principal or co-principal investigator on various research grants or contracts from a variety of federal and state funding sources including Centers for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Justice, and U.S. Department of State. He has also authored or co-authored over 250 published articles, book chapters, monographs, technical reports, and professional conference papers.
His current research and development activities focus on the following: prevention of inhalants and other harmful legal products use in Alaska; alcohol and other drug use/abuse prevention and treatment in Brazil, Thailand, and Alaska; HIV/AIDS prevention and care in Thailand and Liberia; and system/organization capacity-building and sustainability in the lower 48. He is interested in promoting rigorous quantitative methods to test intervention theory for the human services and experimental methods to evaluate social and environmental interventions.
Sustainability Readiness Strategy for Wellness Organizations (2021)
In 2021, the PIRE sustainability team in partnership with the Wandersman Center completed a sustainability readiness strategy (SRS). This strategy includes two evidence-based features and four SRS support system resources for organizations interested in sustainment of wellness evidence-based interventions (EBIs) after initial funding has ended. The evidence-based SRS features are a research informed conceptual framework and a step-by-step process adapted from the Getting To Outcomes® (GTO) process model. The four support system resources are a detailed Toolkit, interactive Excel™ Tools, a Coaching Guide, and an Evaluation Guide. The following link presents an overview of the SRS and four key support system resources:
Access the study landing page here: A Strategy to Sustain Wellness EBIs (PIRE, 2021)
Long-Term Sustainability of Evidence-Based Prevention Interventions and Community Coalitions Survival: a Five and One-Half Year Follow-up Study (2017)
This study was also part of the Tennessee SPF SIG. Secondary data were collected on 27 SPF SIG-funded coalitions and 88 evidence-based prevention intervention (EBPI) and non-EBPI implementations. Primary data were collected by a telephone interview/web survey five and one-half years after the SPF SIG ended. Results show that 25 of the 27 coalitions survived beyond the SPF SIG for one to five and one-half years; 19 coalitions (70%) were still active five and one-half years later. Twenty-one (21) of 27 coalitions (78%) implemented one to three EBPIs, totaling 37 EBPI implementations. Based on data on 29 of the 37 EBPI implementations, 28 EBPIs (97%) were sustained between two and five and one-half years while 22 EBPI implementations (76%) were sustained for five and one-half years. Strong predictors of length of EBPI sustainability included: increases in data resources, positive change in extramural funding resources, level of expertise during SPF SIG implementation, coalition formalization at the end of the SPF SIG, and one intervention attribute (trialability). The study was published in Prevention Science (Johnson et al., 2017).
Access the article here: Prevention Science (Johnson et al., 2017)
Sustainability Strategy for Substance Abuse Prevention Coalitions (2009)
The PIRE-Louisville team developed a sustainability strategy for substance abuse prevention coalitions, and piloted the strategy with five Tennessee Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) State Incentive Grant (SIG) coalitions in rural counties in 2009. This study presents a sustainability strategy, its implementation protocols, and a pilot study of implementation and sustainability readiness. The strategy is guided by a conceptual framework that integrates: (a) a strategy for sustaining prevention infrastructure and interventions and (b) the Getting To Outcomes® planning and evaluation process. Data-informed decision making is key to this strategy, which includes initial assessment of sustainability capacity and sustainable innovation characteristics, and progresses through planning, implementation, evaluation, and continuous quality improvement to sustain targeted innovations. A support system for implementing the strategy, including a toolkit, primer, electronic tools, and training and technical assistance, is described. Lessons learned from a pilot study for future testing and implementation of the strategy are also discussed. This study was published in the Journal of Community Psychology (Johnson et al., 2013).
Access the article here: Journal of Community Psychology (Johnson et al., 2013)
Building Capacity and Sustainable Prevention Innovations: A Sustainability Planning Model (2004)
A PIRE-Louisville team launched a research and development initiative in 2001 with funding from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) via the Southeast CAPT. A frequently cited publication in Evaluation and Program Planning (Johnson et al., 2004) presented a planning model developed from a systematic review of the literature and from concepts derived from a series of “think tanks” made up of key substance abuse prevention professionals. The model assumes a five-step process (i.e., assessment, development, implementation, evaluation, and reassessment/modification) and addresses factors known to inhibit efforts to sustain an innovation. One set of factors concerns the capacity of prevention systems to support sustainable innovations.
Access the article here: Evaluation and Program Planning (Johnson et al., 2004)