Meet Our Chief

Dr. Meshell Johnson
Dr. Meshell Johnson

Dr. Meshell Johnson was appointed Chief of Pulmonary, Critical Care Medicine, and Sleep for the San Francisco VA in January 2020. 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.

Meshell’s research has focused on type I alveolar cells and their role in the inflammatory response to lung injury. She has published over 30 original articles (including in major journals such as PLOS One and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), reviews and book chapters. 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 resuscitation, airway management, massive transfusion protocols, and other scenarios. In 2016, she was the recipient of the Floyd Rector Housestaff Teaching Award from the Department of Medicine.

Meshell has provided exemplary service to the Department, University, and the VA. She has served as a Dean’s Diversity Leader for the School of Medicine Differences Matter Initiative, for which she also co-leads efforts to address healthcare disparities at UCSF and its affiliates. In 2017 she became our department’s first Director of Diversity. In this role (which she will continue), she 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, and AAMC faculty development programs for underrepresented faculty. At the VA, she has served as Director of Respiratory Therapy, Director of the Pulmonary Function Laboratory, Chair of the Emergency Medical Committee, and Director of Critical Care Simulation. She has served as a mentor to scores of junior faculty, PRIME residents, and VALOR students.

Meshell is also the inaugural Associate Chair for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the UCSF Department of Medicine (DOM). In this role, she supports the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, staff, and trainees, works to create a climate of equity and inclusion, and seeks to build community and a sense of belonging for all members in the DOM.