hopkins nursingTrailblazers rarely look back on what they’ve accomplished, knowing that there are always more steps on the journey. Fannie Gaston-Johansson, PhD, RN, FAAN, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON) is no different.

But the legendary international researcher, educator and mentor agreed to take a moment or two to reflect on her latest honor, being designated a University Distinguished Professor by Johns Hopkins University.

“It puts a little light in your heart,” admits Gaston-Johansson, professor and Elsie M. Lawler Chair of the Department of Acute and Chronic Care in the School of Nursing. “There are so many people here doing amazing research. To be acknowledged, singled out as a University Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins, that really means something.”

As do Gaston-Johansson’s contributions to healthcare, specifically her work on the aftereffects of breast cancer treatment on African-American women. Gaston-Johansson holds a joint appointment at the JHU School of Medicine’s Department of Oncology. She also is renowned for her research on end-of-life and pain-management issues.

“Dr. Gaston-Johansson is a rare scholar who has advanced a program of research that has had a significant impact on the treatment of pain and other symptoms in minority and underserved populations,” says Martha Hill, RN, PhD, FAAN and dean of the School of Nursing. “Her work has contributed in important ways to our understanding of health disparities and the advancement of health care policy nationally and internationally.”

The University Distinguished Professor title carries “a broader responsibility to the university as a whole,” but also an opportunity, says Gaston-Johansson, whose work already spans the various cultures and specialties at John Hopkins – Medicine, Public Health, Nursing, Arts & Sciences and soon, perhaps, Engineering. So her work is not done. But this unexpected honor has persuaded Gaston-Johansson to look back proudly on what has been a brilliant career at JHUSON and beyond.

Just this once, and only for a moment or two.

Read a recent Q&A with Dr. Gaston-Johansson.