Dr. Carol J. Johns was a world-renowned expert on lung disease. For nearly fifty years, she was a dedicated researcher, educator, and advocate for women's careers in medicine. She became an international authority on tuberculosis and sarcoidosis, a chronic disease that develops lesions in the lungs, lymph nodes, bones, skin, and other tissues throughout the body. She was the first woman member of the American Clinical and Climatological Association in its 105-year history, and in 1994 became its first woman president.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1923, Carol Johns was a Phi Beta Kappa student at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, where she earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1944. She received her M.D. from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1950. Soon after, she met Richard J. Johns, M.D., when they were both residents at Hopkins's Osler Medical House, and the couple married in 1953.
As an extension of her work, she founded the Sarcoid Clinic at Hopkins, and served as its director from 1962 to 1979, and again from 1981 to 1993. Johns authored more than sixty papers and book chapters on sarcoidosis, serving as president of the International Sarcoid Conference in 1984.
Dr. Johns held numerous administrative positions at Johns Hopkins, served on several boards and committees for the School of Medicine and The Johns Hopkins Hospital during the 1970s, and chaired the hospital's Quality Assurance Committee, Medical Audit Committee, and Medical Record and Review Committee. She was assistant dean and director of continuing medical education, and was named University Distinguished Professor of Medicine.
In 1979, Johns took a brief hiatus from Johns Hopkins to serve as acting president of her alma mater, Wellesley College. Beginning in 1985, she was a regentand later vice chairman of the board of regentsfor the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. From 1993 to 1994 she chaired the external review panel for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's undergraduate biological sciences education program.
As director of the Stetler Research Fund for Women Physicians, Dr. Johns worked tirelessly for women's professional development. She was co-chair of a national conference on Women Physicians in Contemporary Society in 1979, and founded a Women's Task force for Faculty Careers in Medicine at Johns Hopkins. She was director of the Johns Hopkins Women's Medical Alumnae Association three times, and was elected to its Hall of Fame in 1999 for her administrative achievements, excellence as a teacher and counselor to students and staff, and her clinical studies in sarcoidosis.
Even in her last years, Johns remained active and energetic in the university and medical community. "At the age where faculty frequently entered semi-retirement," recalled Edward D. Miller, M.D., dean and chief executive officer of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, "Carol was repeatedly sought out as a consultant, speaker, and writer of chapters and reviews on sarcoidosis. She continued to see and follow patients, teach, was actively involved in advocacy for junior faculty research and teaching, and continued her work for the development of women's careers in academic medicine."
In 1974, Carol Johns was named "Medical Woman of the Year" by the Medical College of Pennsylvania. Shortly before her death in February 2000, she was honored as a master by the American College of Physicians, its highest honor. The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences has since established the annual Carol Johns Medal to honor an outstanding faculty member.