Susan Johnson, Ph.D., is one of Lowcountry Land Trust’s newest board members and has represented MUSC on our Business Leadership Council since 2015. Susan currently serves as the Director of Health Promotion at the Medical University of South Carolina. We are excited to have her as an official member of our board and look forward to her continued assistance and guidance in our conservation efforts. To formally introduce Susan to the LLT community, we decided to ask her a few questions about her passion for conservation.
What inspired you to join LLT’s Board of Trustees?
I have been representing MUSC on the LLT Business Leadership Council since 2015, so I was familiar with the organization, board, and staff. Through my service on the council, I had opportunities to participate in Flourish, Soul of the Lowcountry events and meet many stakeholders and supporters and build relationships. So, when I was asked by Stan Gray to consider joining the board, I jumped at the chance to be a part of this amazing organization. It’s such an honor to serve, and I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and contributing in meaningful ways to support the mission of the LLT.
Are you a member of any other environmental groups, boards, or organizations?
In addition to LLT, I am a current board member of the Bee Cause and the MUSC Arboretum. I also represent MUSC on the Sustain SC Corporate Membership Network, the Carolinas Heat Health Coalition, and planning committees for PowerPlantSC and the SC7 Expedition. I previously served on the East Cooper Land Trust and was an appointed member of the Southeastern Ecological Institute.
What activities do you enjoy in the Lowcountry outdoors?
One of my favorite activities is kayaking, I love being out on the water and being able to explore places inaccessible by any other means. It really provides a level of solitude, peace, and connection to nature that is hard to find. I also love to hike, camp, bike, trail run, and enjoy our beaches.
Why is land conservation important to you?
I grew up in the country and have always had a love of the outdoors. My father was a geography professor and I used to go on field trips with his class, learning about land planning, conservation, and environmental science. So, I guess it was instilled in me at an early age and throughout my career, I’ve looked for ways to engage in projects and services related to conservation, especially in my current role as Director of Health Promotion at MUSC. There is growing evidence that access to the natural environment improves health and well-being, prevent disease, and helps people recover from illness. In addition, time spent in nature also contributes to social and community well-being by connecting us to each other and the larger world. As the connections between people and their environment are strengthened, both become healthier, more resilient, and more vibrant. Conserved landscapes depend on people for their continued health; just as people depend on healthy nature for their quality of life.
Susan Johnson, Ph.D. is the Director of Health Promotion at the Medical University of South Carolina. She received her undergraduate degree from UNC Charlotte, a master’s degree from The Citadel, and a Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina. She is also founder and CEO of Vimcity, LLC, a worksite wellness firm, and co-founder and director of the Charleston Healthy Business Challenge. Prior to joining MUSC, Dr. Johnson held faculty appointments at Duke University and Charleston Southern and served as an adjunct professor at The Citadel. In her current position, she provides leadership in the development of a comprehensive and collaborative approach to promoting health to students, employees, patients, and the external community and holds a faculty appointment in the College of Health Professions.
Dr. Johnson has conducted numerous presentations and speaking engagements at the local, state, and national levels and dedicates her time and talents to community organizations and projects related to well-being, sustainability, and conservation. She currently serves as a board member for the Bee Cause, the MUSC Arboretum, and the Lowcountry Land Trust. She also serves as an appointed member of Trident Technical College Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts Advisory Committee, The Citadel School of Science and Mathematics Advisory Council, Lowcountry Land Trust Business Leadership Council, Carolinas Heat Health Coalition, Sustains SC Corporate Membership Network, City of Charleston Wellness Advisory Committee, SC Veterans Affairs Stakeholders Committee, and PowerPlantSC and SC7 Expedition planning committees. Her work at MUSC has also been recognized through multiple prevention awards and publications, both locally and nationally.
Susan currently resides in Mount Pleasant with her two daughters and in her spare time she enjoys kayaking, running, hiking, and camping in the beautiful South Carolina Lowcountry.