Dr. Arthur I. Johnson takes his personal credo from the 1950s television series “Davy Crockett:” “Be sure you’re right, then go ahead.”
He credits that little ditty with helping him land his promotion as Cedars-Sinai’s new chief of staff.
“One of the reasons I was elected is because I’m seen as both fair and someone who will not hesitate to make a decision and speak my mind,” Johnson said.
Johnson has worked at Cedars-Sinai since 1975 holding various titles, including clinical chief of obstetrics/gynecology, secretary, treasurer and vice chief of staff. Now, as chief of staff, Johnson is responsible for setting quality standards.
“I’m very interested in improving the quality of care our patients receive,” said Johnson. That job has become more challenging lately because funds for delivering care have been reduced, he said.
In addition, Johnson says he wants the interests of the medical staff to be adequately represented on the board. Johnson also plans to improve ethnic diversity in Cedar’s health care system.
“Though I was elected primarily because of my commitment … there is also an extra dimension that I bring as an ethnic minority,” he said.
Aside from a medical degree, Johnson holds a master’s degree in public health. He chose to serve his ob/gyn residency at the UCLA Center for the Health Sciences, in part so he could earn his master’s at the UCLA School of Public Health.
He became interested in public health after working as a general practitioner in a community health center that catered to lower income groups. It was there that he realized the importance of doctors being able to “apply business and management procedures to medical care.”
After completing his residency, Johnson applied his knowledge of business principles to health care delivery by working for the Ross Loos Medical Group, a health care organization. He now uses his public health expertise while serving on the executive committee of the board of the Los Angeles Free Clinic.