Alex Johnson, PhD, CCC-SLP

Alex Johnson profile
Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs, Office of the Provost Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Office of the Provost
(617) 643-6496
Office Location: 
B34 - 2nd floor

Dr. Alex Johnson is Provost and Vice President at the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, MA. As the provost he serves as the chief academic officer, having responsibility for all of the academic programs, the faculty, and the students at the Institute. Read the Provost Blog.

He is also Professor in the MGH Institute Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders; teaches in the Master of Science in Health Professions Education (MS-HPEd); and on the faculty of the Harvard-MIT Program in Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology.

Dr. Johnson, originally from Ohio, completed his BS and Master’s degrees at Kent State University; and his PhD in Speech-Language Pathology at Case Western Reserve University.

After working clinically for several years, Johnson served as Executive Director of the Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center, a university-affiliated comprehensive center at Case Western Reserve.    

In 1988, he was appointed to launch a new division of speech-language pathology in the Department of Neurology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit Michigan. There Johnson started the clinical program that grew to a staff of 14 speech-language pathologists, developed a post-graduate specialty fellowship, and established a collaborative research program that continues today. He established several subspecialty clinics in Voice Disorders, Stuttering, Pediatric Communication Disorders, Swallowing Disorders, and Stroke rehabilitation.

His funded research, while at Henry Ford, included studies of communication changes that occurred in the earliest moments after a stroke as predictors of both language and brain recovery. He also participated in the validation of a number of outcomes measures that are now used as qualifiers for payment for speech and language rehabilitation, and was a co-investigator on the development of the Voice Handicap Index, a widely used tool in measuring recovery in persons with voice disorders, the Dysphagia Handicap Index, and the Communication Quality Scale.

In 1999, Johnson re-entered academia when he was appointed of Chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Wayne State University in Detroit. During his tenure at Wayne State the PhD program was expanded, a new Doctor of Audiology program was established, the speech-language pathology enrollment increased, the program was relocated to new facilities.    

In 2008, Johnson was appointed by President Janis Bellack to join her as first academic provost at the Institute of Health Professions.   

In 2006, Johnson served as President of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association with a membership of over 130,000 speech-language pathologists and audiologists. He is a Fellow of ASHA and has received the Honors of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (2013) which is the highest honors that the Association can bestow to “recognize individuals whose contributions have been of such excellence that they have enhanced or altered the course of the Professions.”  

Johnson is the co-editor of two textbooks and numerous peer reviewed articles and chapters. Johnson has continuing clinical and scholarly interests in medical speech-language pathology and the effects of communication and swallowing impairment of quality of health and life. His interests also include a newer focus on the teaching and scholarly enterprise in higher education, as well as interprofessional education in the health science.


Selected Publications

Johnson AF and Jacobson BH (Editors). Medical Speech-Language Pathology: A Practitioner’s Guide. 2nd Edition. New York: Thieme Medical Publishers (2007).

Silbergleit AK, Schultz L, Jacobson BH, Beardsley T, Johnson AF. The Dysphagia handicap index: development and validation. In Press. Dysphagia; Published online in March 2011

Johnson AF, Pietranton AA. Challenges for professional practice in the next decade. Seminars in Speech and Language 27:129-140 (2006).

Bowman, M., Barnett, D., Johnson. A., & Reeve, K. Language, School Functioning, and Behavior Among African American Urban Kindergartners. Merrill Palmer Quarterly, 52, 2, 46-48 (2006).

Johnson AF, Competency in service delivery for patients with dysphagia. Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia). 13, 2, June 2004.

PubMed listing of 15 Johnson publications, with abstracts.


BS, Speech and Hearing, Kent State University
MA, Speech Pathology, Kent State University
PhD, Speech-Language Pathology, Case Western Reserve University

Curriculum Vitae