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Meet the Executive Director

Barbara George Johnson

Barbara JohnsonBarbara George Johnson has over 20 years of experience in the health care arena. Barbara earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Technology from Cornell University and an MPH from Columbia University School of Public Health. She spent many years working in health care where she concentrated on Maternal and Child Health issues. First, as a Public Health Adviser for the Department of Health in New York City where she worked with infants born at-risk for developmental delays due to exposure to drugs. Later, as the Director for the Family Life Institute of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey where she focused her efforts on teen pregnancy prevention, reproductive freedom, and HIV/AIDS prevention and education. Barbara also created the Newark Kids Initiative project for the Newark Health Department, a program that focused on healthcare and social services for children exposed to domestic violence. In addition she has participated in many task forces on HIV/AIDS including the Newark Prevention Marketing Initiative which was a task force created by the Centers for Disease Control to address the increase of HIV/AIDS in Newark.

Additionally, Barbara earned a Law degree from Rutgers-Newark Law School and was the first Legislative Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey. In this capacity, she made her mark as a grassroots organizer and successfully chaired and led the Family Equality Coalition to its victorious passage of Domestic Partnership legislation. Barbara recently worked as a senior associate at MBI GluckShaw one of Trenton’s most prominent lobbying firms where she was responsible for several renowned health care clients including the New Jersey Primary Care Association, New Jersey Council of Teaching Hospitals and the Academy of Pediatrics-New Jersey Chapter. She worked on both federal and state legislation and regulations enabling her to develop relationships with both federal and state legislators. Her work at GluckShaw lead to legislative victories including passage of legislation appropriating $40 million of permanent funding for the state’s Federally Qualified Health Centers and working with stake holders to study and encourage legislation such as the Family Care Act which expanded coverage of children eligible for health insurance under the state health plan.

Barbara also served as principal of GOVCONNECTIONS, LLC a company she created to provide government relations, community relations and health care consulting services to urban communities.

Currently, Barbara holds the title of Executive Director for the John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy (JSWIPP) where she manages the activities of the New Jersey Urban Mayors Association. She also oversees the six policy centers housed at JSWIPP. Included in her portfolio at JSWIPP is the Center for Health Policy Development which focuses on a broad range of issues from medical electronic records systems regulations/ intra and inter state implementation, childhood obesity reduction and reduction of health disparities.

Barbara has spent her career in a tireless effort to strengthen the position and preserve the dignity of women and children in our society. To this end she has served on the boards of Healthy Mothers/Healthy Babies of Essex; The Black Infant Mortality Reduction Center and My Daughter’s Keeper. She is a project specialist for the Women’s Policy Institute of the Women’s Fund of New Jersey and an Ambassador to the United States Hispanic Advocacy Association. Barbara is an active participant of the Public Affairs Committee of the March of Dimes, New Jersey Chapter. She is also member of the Bipartisan Coalition for Women Appointments, Convening Committee. And a member of the Steering Committee for “Run Sister Run” under the Ready to Run Initiative of The Center for American Women and Politics, Eagleton Institute, Rutgers University.