Dana E. Johnson, M.D., Ph.D., Research Fellow

Dr. Johnson is a Professor of Pediatrics and member of the Divisions of Neonatology and Global Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota, where he co-founded the International Adoption Clinic in 1986, the first academic program focused on understanding the medical needs of adopted children. He has reviewed the medical records of over 20,000 children and counseled potential adoptive parents based on those reviews. His research centers on the short- and long-term effects of early social, medical and nutritional deprivation on child well-being.


Dr. Johnson’s scholarly works include co-editing Adoption Medicine, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. He has received the Distinguished Service Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Joint Council for International Children’s Services, the Friend of Children Award from the North American Council on Adoptable Children and the Harry Holt Award from Holt International. He serves on the Boards of the National Council for Adoption, Half the Sky Foundation and SPOON Foundation, the Editorial Board of Adoptive Families and on the Advisory Boards of the Rudd Adoption Research Program and Both Ends Burning.


His current projects include investigating the physiological links between stress, growth, pubertal development and cognitive abilities through the Bucharest Early Intervention Project, the first randomized, controlled study of foster vs. institutional care. This work affirms the critical importance of a permanent, nurturing family to normal child development. Dr. Johnson has a son adopted from India, two daughters by birth and three step-daughters.