Johnna Frierson

Johnna Frierson

Asst. Dean, Graduate & Postdoctoral Diversity & Inclusion/Asst. Professor of the Practice of Medical Education at Duke University School of Medicine

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Johnna M. Frierson, Ph.D., a native of Rock Hill, SC, received her bachelor’s degree in Biology at Furman University, and Ph.D. in Microbiology & Immunology at Vanderbilt University. Currently, her interests and expertise lie in examining and identifying solutions to challenges at the intersection of STEM, education, and equity. Dr. Frierson translates this expertise into developing innovative programs and initiatives to enhance the recruitment and retention of students from underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds, support student development, and expand community outreach to inspire the next generation of STEM scholars. Bringing almost a decade of experience as an administrator at both public and private institutions, she has a demonstrated track record of developing successful diversity recruitment and educational initiatives, spearheading cross-campus, and inter-institutional partnerships, and implementing impactful mentoring programs for students from groups historically excluded in STEM. She has obtained funding from a variety of sources to support her programmatic efforts including donor-funded gifts and grants through the Burroughs Welcome Fund and the National Science Foundation. Her passion and work have drawn notice nationally as Dr. Frierson has been interviewed by The New York Times, featured in Science magazine, and identified as one of “1000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America” by Cell Mentor.

In her current role as the Assistant Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Diversity and Inclusion at Duke University School of Medicine, she is responsible for building and leading the IDEALS (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Advancement, and Leadership in the Sciences) office to support diversity and inclusion initiatives for graduate students and postdoctoral appointees working in biomedical research. Dr. Frierson and her team develop and implement professional development activities, and academic and wellness programs and partner with basic science departmental faculty and leaders to cultivate an equitable and supportive community for Ph.D. students and postdoctoral appointees.

Johanna Frierson '05 is also President of Raleigh/Durham FAN Club.