Crystal Watkins Johansson, M.D., Ph.D.

Director Memory Clinic in Neuropsychiatry
Sheppard Pratt Health System
Assistant Professor
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine


Crystal Watkins Johansson has been a high achiever almost her entire life.

She never missed a day of class while attending public schools in Baltimore city and Baltimore County and was the first African-American student government president of Dulaney High School in Cockeysville.

She went on to become the first female Meyerhoff Scholar from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County to earn a medical degree and doctorate and one of only three African-American women to earn a doctorate in molecular and cellular neuroscience from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Her thesis work was featured on the cover of the Wall Street Journal and led to a patented discovery and proposed clinical trial for diabetic nerve disorders.

During her career in medicine, she has been honored by publications ranging from The Daily Record newspaper to Essence magazine and organizations including the Greater Baltimore Committee and the American Psychiatric Association.

Since 2011, Johansson has been an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins and director of the Memory Clinic in Neuropsychiatry at Sheppard Pratt Health System since 2014 and has worked as a clinician, researcher and educator.

“I love being a ‘triple threat’ as they call it because of my hands-on patient care, brain imaging research on psychosis in dementia patients and mentoring and educating of future generations of psychiatrists and mental health providers,” she said.

She also has positioned herself as an advocate for the city in which she was born, one who is especially interested in closing Baltimore’s socio-economic divide.

“Education is one key to bridging health disparities,” she said. “I strive to close the gap by making a positive impact as a role model and empowering the next generation to reach their educational goals.”

To that end, she has co-founded a literacy program for young students, and worked to teach adolescents about preventing teen pregnancy.

This is a winner profile from The Daily Record's 2019 Health Care Heroes awards. Information for this profile was sourced from the honoree's application for the award.

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