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Vicki Johnson-Lawrence RTI Expert Headshot

Vicki Johnson-Lawrence

Senior Research Public Health Analyst


Postdoctoral Fellow, Geriatric Mental Health Services, University of Michigan
PhD, Epidemiologic Science, University of Michigan
MS, Biostatistics, University of Michigan
BSPH, Biostatistics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Vicki Johnson-Lawrence is a Senior Research Public Health Analyst with more than 19 years of experience in health equity research, quantitative analysis, education, and training. Dr. Johnson-Lawrence has led multiple public health initiatives aimed to improve health equity outcomes using evidence-based and trauma-informed practices. Her most recent work reached more than 3,000 residents in Flint, MI, and included community engagement activities to analyze, educate, and improve levels of stress, chronic disease, and resiliency in a population that endured a multiyear public health crisis.

Dr. Johnson-Lawrence is currently focusing on mental health and health equity projects centered on promoting prevention. She is leading new and ongoing research and evaluation work in the areas of community violence prevention; equity, bias, and trauma as context for community violence and mental health problems; and promotion of healthy relationships and safe environments among youth and adults in community settings.

Prior to joining RTI, Dr. Johnson-Lawrence was the principal researcher on health equity projects addressing chronic disease and traumatized communities at Michigan State University. Her work with ReCAST— a project completed in 2020—used community specific strategies to promote behavioral health and well-being for residents of Flint, MI. The project sought to promote skills for psychological recovery and family-based behavioral health programming, while also reducing violence in the Flint community in the wake of the Flint Water Crisis. She also led the Church Challenge in Flint, a community-based participatory multilevel intervention research study to promote wellness and blood pressure management in African American church goers amid a community disaster response. Other work included identifying universal strengths-based parenting support to enhance developmental and mental health outcomes for young children following a disaster that is compounded by chronic poverty.

Along with research designed to study and improve public health, Dr. Johnson-Lawrence served as the Flint Co-Leader for the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAAR). Her focus was to expand the reach and impact of the program by recruiting and mentoring the next generation of diverse National Institutes of Health (NIH) researchers who are engaged in research on the science and amelioration of health disparities among African American older adult populations.

Dr. Johnson-Lawrence is a member of several professional associations, including the American Public Health Association and the Gerontological Society of America. She has received several professional honors and awards, co-authored numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, and been featured in the media in recognition of her work.

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