Meet Dean Johnson

Dr. Sharon Johnson is a professor and dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL), the region’s only public school of social work.  She has demonstrated a nearly 20-year commitment to the school’s diverse student body who primarily remain in the region after graduation providing needed social services to the community.   

Prior to becoming dean, she was the BSW program director and director of the school’s Center for Family Research and Policy.  She maintains an active research agenda focused on violence, HIV risk, trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance use among minorities, women, and youth. She was named UMSL’s Senior Investigator of the Year in 2015. 

Her federally funded training grants prepare students for practice in integrated behavioral health settings and substance abuse screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment. She has conducted community needs assessments and social service program evaluations primarily aimed at strengthening agencies' abilities to provide quality services to at-risk youth. 

In addition to her role as dean, Johnson is a partner, executive board member, and grant chair for St. Louis Social Venture Partners which provides capacity-building support for nonprofits’ educational programming to disadvantaged youth.  She is also on the board of Christian Family Services, a counseling and adoption agency.

A native of Arkansas, Dr. Johnson received a bachelor’s degree in social work with a minor in black history from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. She went on to receive an MSW and a PhD from the Brown School and a master’s in psychiatric epidemiology from the medical school at Washington University.  Her post-master’s practice experience working for the Missouri State Public Defender informed her early research career.

Phone: 314-516-6385
Office: 459 SSB
Office Hours: By appointment.

Research Methods and Analysis
Ethnic Minorities' Health and Mental Health
Social Work Practice with Individuals

MPE, Washington University School of Medicine (2002)
Ph.D., Washington University (1999)
MSW, Washington University (1992)
BASW, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville (1989)

Gearhart, M. C., Berg, K. A.*, Jones, C.*, Johnson, S. (Accepted) Fear of Crime, Implicit
     Bias and Gun Ownership. Health & Social Work.

Pickard, J. G., Johnson, S. D., & Shen, H-W. (Accepted). African American and
     European American Clergy's Counseling of Older Adults. Review of Religious Research.

Williams Woodson, S. L., Pickard, J. & Johnson, S. D. (Accepted). An examination of the
     relationship between religious/spiritual practices and addiction among African
     American women. Social Work and Christianity-Special Issue on Addictions.

Cunningham-Williams, R. M., Jones, B. D., Butler-Barnes, S., Wells, A., Williams
     Woodson, S. L., & Johnson, S. D., Pilar, M. R. (2018) Stress, stressors, and
     substance use: Differential risk for hookah use among African American female
     college students. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse. Published online 22 Oct 2018

Williams, S. L., Cabrera-Nguyen, E. & Johnson, S. D. (2018). Examining the impact of
     race/ethnicity and gender intersectionality on preferences of social distance from
     individuals with mental health conditions. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social
     Environment, 28 (3), 370-380. 

Johnson, S. D., Williams, S. L. & Pickard, J G. (2016). Trauma, religion, and social
     support among African American women. Social Work and Christianity, 43(1), 60-73.

See Dr. Johnson's CV for a complete list of publications.

Adolescent mental health
HIV-risk among women and African Americans
Trauma exposure and PTSD
Co-morbid substance use disorders