October 22, 2020

Appointment of Dr. Meshell Johnson as Inaugural Associate Chair for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Dear Colleagues:

The events of this year – including highly disturbing episodes of racial violence and evidence of disparities in Covid-19 – have stimulated all of us to redouble our commitment to the goals of racial justice and anti-racism. While I’m pleased with the strides that the Department of Medicine has made in this challenging area, there is much more to do. To enhance and catalyze our work in these areas, I have decided to create a new role: Associate Chair for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI).

Meshell JohnsonI’m thrilled that Meshell Johnson, MD, who has done a wonderful job as our first Director of Faculty Diversity, will become our inaugural Associate Chair for DEI. In this role, she will now report directly to me and have additional resources to advance our work in DEI.

Meshell received her undergraduate degree at Harvard University and her medical degree from UCSF. After her internal medicine residency and chief residency at the University of Washington, she returned to UCSF for fellowship training in Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine and the Cardiovascular Research Institute. She joined the UCSF faculty in 2004.    

Meshell is an outstanding clinician, educator, and scientist. She has published over 30 original articles, reviews and book chapters, mostly on the role of type I alveolar cells in the inflammatory response to lung injury. As an educator, she is highly regarded for her bedside teaching in the ICU. She is also a core teacher in the VA Simulation Center, where she has trained hundreds of diverse learners in acute cardiopulmonary resuscitation. She was the recipient of the Floyd Rector Housestaff Teaching Award from the Department of Medicine in 2016 and an Academy of Medical Educators Teaching Award in 2019. This year, she was the inaugural recipient of the V. Courtney Broaddus Award for Leadership and Service from the Pulmonary Fellowship Program. In January, Meshell became the chief of the division of Pulmonary, Critical Care Medicine, and Sleep for the San Francisco VA Health Care System; she will continue in this role.

As our Director of Faculty Diversity, Meshell met with all the DOM’s early and many mid-career underrepresented faculty, as well as countless trainees – providing mentoring, advocacy, and support, including for awards such as the Watson Scholars, NIH diversity supplements, the RWJ Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Award, and AAMC faculty development programs for underrepresented faculty. As Associate Chair, she will take this work to a new level, ensuring that we are doing everything possible to enhance DEI for our faculty, trainees, and staff.

Please join me in congratulating Meshell Johnson as she assumes the role of our first DOM Associate Chair for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

bob signature

Robert M. Wachter, MD
Professor and Chair, UCSF Department of Medicine
Holly Smith Distinguished Professor in Science and Medicine

Marc and Lynne Benioff Endowed Chair