Skip Navigation

Faculty Directory

Renee M. Johnson, PhD

Deputy Director, Drug Dependence Epidemiology Training Program

Assistant Professor

Departmental Affiliation(s):

Mental Health

Center & Institute Affiliation(s):


PhD , University of North Carolina , 2004
MPH , University of North Carolina , 1998


I completed master's and doctoral degrees in the Department of Health Behavior & Health Education at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Afterward I took part in the Alonzo Smythe Yerby Postdoctoral Fellowship program, and worked with Dr. David Hemenway at the Harvard School of Public Health on suicide and firearm injury prevention among children and youth. I have received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.My current research centers on the substance use and violence among low-income, urban youth. I joined the faculty of the Department of Mental Health in August, 2013.


Honors and Awards

2010 National Institute on Drug Abuse Travel Award, to attend the Early Career Poster Session at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association

2008 Community Star Award, Given by the Grassroots Community Partners of the Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center

My research focuses on risk behaviors - including substance use and multiple types of violence - on adolescents and emerging adults. I am particularly interested in vulnerable populations, including people of color, LGBT youth, immigrants, and youth in low-income neighborhoods. I also study unintentional injury, firearm injury, and suicide prevention.

    Most Recent Publications

    Sonneville KR, Duncan DT, Johnson RM, Almeida J. Are first generation adolescents less likely to be overweight? Results from a survey of Boston youth. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. In Press.

  • Brown Q, Milam A, Smart MJ, Johnson RM, Linton SL, Furr-Holden CD, Ialongo NS. Objective and perceived neighborhood characteristics and tobacco use among young adults. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2014; 134: 65-70.

  • Siegel MB, Johnson RM, Tyagi K, Power K, Lohsen M, Ayers A, Jernigan D. Alcohol brand references in U.S. popular music, 2009-2011. Substance Use & Misuse. 2013; 14: 1475-1484.

  • Gilreath T, Astor RA, Estrada JN, Johnson RM, Benbenishty R, Unger JB. Substance use among adolescents in California: A latent class analysis. Substance Use and Misuse. 2014; 49: 116-123.

  • Green JG, Johnson RM, Dunn EC, Lindsey M, Xuan Z, Zaslavsky AM. Mental health service use among high school student exposed to interpersonal violence. Journal of School Health. 2014; 84:141-149.