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2019 Department of Occupational &Environmental Health Distinguished Alumni Award

Garry CainThe 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award for the Department of Occupational & Environmental Health goes to Dr. Robert E.L. Johnson, Jr., a 1971 DrPH alumnus!

Dr. Robert “Bob” Johnson earned a Master of Social Work at OU and his Doctor of Public Health from the Hudson College of Public Health in 1971, and has worked and volunteered in Social Work and Mental Health since and continues to do so to this day. He holds Certification, Licenses, and has and maintained Affiliation with the NASW, part of the American Group Psychotherapy Association while in the U.S. Army; member of the American Public Health Association; member of the Association of Mental Health Administrators of Arkansas;  a Certified Social Worker—Advanced Clinical Practitioner;  a Licensed Social Worker in Arkansas; and part of The Medical Field Service School in San Antonio, Texas. His work activities are too numerous to list, however, a small number need to be noted. He has served is roles such as: Chief of Social Services at Big Spring State Hospital; Director of Mental Health, alcohol and drug abuse services in Dallas, Texas;  Associate Professor and Director of the Social Work Program at Texas A&M-Commerce. He actually started the program and in 2012 was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Department.  

Other activities in Johnson’s past include Executive Director of the Ozark Guidance Center that served four counties in N.W. Arkansas, which led to the development of all program components from a three-person organization to a million dollar plus operation in five years. He was a Social Worker for the Bi-State Mental Health Foundation in Ponca City, Oklahoma. He was part of the Medical Service Corps for the United States Army at Ft. Gordon in Georgia, rising to the rank of Captain, and was also a Social Worker in the Family and Children’s Service of Greater St. Louis in Missouri.  

Dr. Johnson has performed extensive field work, provided community service wherever he has lived, written numerous grants, has many awards and volunteer certificates, and has a number of publications to his credit .In 2012, Dr. Johnson worked with the Mayor of Commerce, serving as campaign treasurer for two terms. Currently, Dr. Johnson serves as the President and CEO of Commerce Community Action Program, also known as C-CAP. C-CAP was created in Bob’s living room and has grown over the last 5 years to a 501C3 organization that provides help and assistance to many in the Commerce community by promoting efforts to educate, mentor, and inspire young people and children. Dr. Johnson has clearly demonstrated his concern for Public Health in many ways and continues to promote programs to detect, cure, and prevent Mental Health illness in the Commerce as well as north east region of Texas.  

Here are a few comments from his nomination letters:

“Dr. Johnson has embraced his calling as a servant leader and pillar the community for many years. His passion for helping others goes far beyond the average scope of caring and willingness to help others. Dr. Johnson takes his work seriously and amplifies quality and heart in all that he does.”

“Dr. Johnson is highly skilled and exhibits great character and determination” His humility and graciousness are a shining light in the community and all those around. I truly believe that the world would be a better place with more ‘Bob Johnsons’.”

“Bob has a tireless dedication to humankind and unconditional love. He is my hero.”