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Lynn Johnson receives ADEA Geis Award for innovation

Lynn Johnson

Ann Arbor, Mich., Oct. 30, 2018 -– Lynn Johnson, an associate dean at the School of Dentistry, has won a national award for innovation among dental educators.

The award is one of nine 2019 William J. Gies Awards for Vision, Innovation and Achievement announced by the ADEAGies Foundation, an affiliate of the American Dental Education Association. Selected by a national panel, the Gies Awards honor individuals and organizations exemplifying the highest standards in oral health and dental education, research and leadership. The foundation called this year’s awardees “trailblazers in academic dentistry and oral health.”

Johnson, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Institutional Effectiveness and a professor in the Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, was cited in the category of Innovation for Dental Educators. Johnson, who has a PhD in instructional design and technology, oversees the school’s information technology department and is a nationally recognized leader in adapting the latest technology to advance dental education.

Johnson was nominated by Amy Coplen, program director for the School of Dental Hygiene Studies at Pacific University in Hillsboro, Ore. Coplen, an alum of the U-M dental school (BSDH 2002, MSDH 2009), said Johnson’s “innovative genius” leads teams to find solutions to complex problems while also encouraging innovation by those around her. Johnson is a longtime proponent of adapting the latest technology to dental education. At various points in her career, for example, she has led projects that converted large archives of images and videos into new formats that allowed faster and wider access for dental students and educators.

Coplen cited several projects that illustrate Johnson’s forward-thinking mindset, including:

• Johnson has led the way to a new Electronic Health Record system that is being installed at the School of Dentistry. Johnson led a collaboration with other dental schools, Internet2 and a software developer to create a new cloud-based academic dentistry system that interfaces with other health records. It allows clinicians and researchers to access and contribute to broader health research data in the general population beyond the specific patients being treated at the school. By allowing providers to monitor data along the treatment path, the ultimate benefit is improved patient care.
• The school’s Dental Hygiene program used Johnson’s expertise and leadership in setting up its online degree completion and graduate programs in 2008 and 2012, respectively. Johnson researched campus resources, assisted with strategic planning for the new programs and ensured technical support staff was in place to meet program needs. The programs are recognized today as the “gold standard for online education at the university” Coplen said.
• In 2004, Johnson, responding to a student request for video recordings of lectures, worked with a team of students to investigate the optimal on-line delivery method for lectures. Her work led to the school being selected by Apple, Inc. as one of six institutions to pilot iTunesU, which was the initial stage of Lecture Capture technology that became a common tool for students at universities worldwide.
• Also on a global level, Johnson collaborated with the U-M schools of medicine, nursing and public health to broaden patient care and education in Ghana by helping grow the educational program for a new dental school at a university in Kumasi, Ghana.

“Lynn has an exceptional vision for developing something new and innovative, but always with an evidence-based foundation,” Coplen said in her nomination. “And where the evidence does not yet exist, she goes to great lengths to study educational innovations rigorously and publish the results. Her leadership, astuteness, knowledge, collaborative spirit and willingness to take risks has resulted in important advances in oral health, education and research.”

In her role as associate dean, Johnson manages recruiting, appointments, promotions and other components of faculty affairs; directs the school’s strategic planning process; and oversees the Dental Informatics office, which maintains the school’s information technology systems. Johnson earned her PhD in instructional design and technology in 1993 at the University of Iowa, where she was an assistant and associate professor for seven years before joining the U-M School of Dentistry in 2002.

The 2019 Gies Awards will be presented in March in Chicago at the ADEA’s annual session. The ADEA mission is to lead institutions and individuals in the dental education community to address contemporary issues influencing education, research and the delivery of oral health care for the overall health and safety of the public. Members include all 76 U.S. and Canadian dental schools, more than 1,000 allied and advanced dental education programs, 60 corporations and about 20,000 individuals. It publishes the Journal of Dental Education.

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The University of Michigan School of Dentistry is one of the nation’s leading dental schools engaged in oral health care education, research, patient care and community service.  General dental care clinics and specialty clinics providing advanced treatment enable the school to offer dental services and programs to patients throughout Michigan.  Classroom and clinic instruction prepare future dentists, dental specialists and dental hygienists for practice in private offices, hospitals, academia and public agencies.  Research seeks to discover and apply new knowledge that can help patients worldwide.  For more information about the School of Dentistry, visit us on the Web at: www.dent.umich.edu.  Contact: Lynn Monson, associate director of communications, at dentistry.communications@umich.edu, or (734) 615-1971.