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NJ Medical School Dean Receives Desmond Tutu Excellence Award

African Healthcare Charity Non-Profit "Trains of Hope" Honors Dean Robert Johnson
Robert Johnson
Robert L. Johnson YouTube

NEW YORK, NY—On November 30, the dean of the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) was honored on November 30 by the American Friends of Phelophepa Train (AFTP), a charity that raises money to provide healthcare in rural South Africa using medical trains.

Dean Robert L. Johnson is a 1968 graduate of Alfred University in New York, and received his MD from NJMS in 1972.

Dean Johnson was appointed as the eighth dean of NJMS on March 16, 2011, before the school merged with Rutgers.  Located in Newark, NJMS was previously part of the University of Medicine & Dentistry of NJ (UMDNJ).

Previously, he was a professor of pediatrics, and the Director of the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at NJMS.

He also served as the President of the NJ Board of Medical Examiners, as member of the National Council of the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Institute of Health AIDS Research Council.

He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, serving on an advisory committee for the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Currently, he also chairs the NJ Governors Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, and other blood related pathogens.

His accomplishments and responsibilities are evidently well deserved as means of his involvement in so many important tasks.

He became an expert in adolescent health and family strengthening and is a well known spokesman for the issue.

His intellect does not stop at medicine, however.  He is also an accomplished author.

"The Race Trap," Johnson's book. which deals with the dynamics of race in the workplace and Strength for Their Journey, which is a guide to black parents in raising their teenagers in our society.

Aside from his medical success, he also chairs the Board of Deacons at Union Baptist Church in Orange, New Jersey.

The dean was honored for his expertise and accomplishments at a benefit gala held at Guastavino’s on November 30 in New York City.  He was given the Desmond Tutu Phelophepa Achievement Award for Excellence.

One of the Phelophepa Trains that travels across rural South Africa

AFTP began with Archbishop Desmond and Leah Tutu as prime supporters of the train, subscribing to the fundamental belief that everyone should receive good, clean healthcare (phelophepa).

The organization's trains serve as mobile clinics for general health, pharmacy, education, dentistry and psychiatry.

“Our staff provides basic health care to hard-to-reach residents in South African where the ratio of medical care is one doctor to every 5,000 citizens,” says Executive Vice President Cathe Kruger.

Since their launch in 2002, they have organized annual fundraiser galas and events to honor the businesses and leaders who strive to provide health care to those who need it most.

In thirteen years, the organization has provided health care to 16.5 million South Africans traveling thousands of miles with the train.

The funds raised will go to a third medical train, "Phelophepa III," which will serve as a mobile surgical facility beginning in 2018, and adding cars to the first two trains to begin surgeries.