Meet Steering Committee Member Marcus Johnson, MPH, MBA, MHA

June 6, 2019

Marcus Johnson, MPH, MBA, MHA, has always been interested in strategy development and learning about how systems processes and components interact. His interests in complex systems and improving medical care have been and continue to be a great match for his career in healthcare research and administration.

Although Marcus has been working at Duke for just over a year, he has managed and led the development of large health care systems projects for eight years, spending many of those years with the Durham Veterans Affairs Health Care System across the street from Duke University Hospital. While discussing some of the projects Marcus has worked on over the past several years, his dedication and genuine interest in working with people to develop new programs and improve processes are readily apparent.

At the Durham VA, Marcus was the Assistant Director of Operations, managing an epidemiology research center and overseeing administrative aspects of research administration (including employee hiring and performance monitoring, financial and compliance oversight, and space allocation). Marcus developed and improved his office’s personnel management procedures and is enthusiastic about disseminating learned best practices. He recently co-authored a manuscript on applying lean methodology to improve the center’s hiring processes. In another manuscript, currently under review, he wrote about his office’s experience with transitioning to a performance-based evaluation process to create a structured, more objective, process for a supervisor and staff member to create SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) goals together.

Marcus’s more recent projects, as a Strategic Services Associate in the Gastroenterology division in the Department of Medicine at Duke, have allowed him to explore additional facets of the healthcare system since they focus on developing new clinical programs. This year, alongside Dr. Amy Barto, Marcus helped launch Duke GI’s fecal microbiota transplant program. This project involved partnering with a diverse team to implement an important new service offering to patients. The challenge of determining how best to organize and implement this new procedure offered a unique opportunity to build new bridges with stakeholders from across the healthcare system (including finance, patient revenue management organization (PRMO), clinical and nursing staff, and procurement). One of the unexpected challenges of this project involved working with Medicare to include the procedure as a covered service in North Carolina. Navigating this new challenge highlighted the importance of advocacy, as Marcus worked with others to prepare an evidence-based case of the new procedure’s efficacy which ultimately led to a successful coverage determination.  The next project involves expanding the transplant program and Marcus is excited to work with Dr. Barto on building this service offering at other Duke hospitals and ambulatory care settings over the next several months.

Marcus has been involved in Duke’s Project Management Community of Practice (PMCoP) since its beginning in 2017, and continues to serve as a Steering Committee member.  His work with the PMCoP supports Marcus’s interests in complex systems, sharing best practices, and he greatly values the opportunity to “work with bright people to solve problems.”