When you cut through the accomplishments, the years in medical practice, the service to his country in war zones, the terms in the state legislature, and producing legislation that virtually made pill mills a thing of the past, Terry Johnson is just a hometown boy at heart.
“When I matriculated at Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine back in the late 80s, I was very fortunate to be there,” Johnson said. “That was a moon shot for me. Being a Southern Ohio kid, I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. I had a history degree and I took some pre-med classes at Shawnee State and applied to medical school. I come from that to being recognized as a distinguished alumnus of the college. It’s just an exceptional thing.”
Johnson is the latest recipient of the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine Medal of Merit, which he received at the 2017 Ohio Osteopathic Symposium on Friday, April 21, in Columbus.
“That school has produced thousands and thousands of wonderful doctors and they’re doing great things in the state of Ohio, and for them to say that I stand out amongst the best and brightest of those, it really takes my breath away,” Johnson said.
Johnson distinguished himself as a member of the military as well.
“I never really expected to be in the military. I wanted to be when I was a kid,” Johnson told the Daily Times. “The thing that really opened the door was being in medical practice. To me, a direct commissioned officer in the Ohio Army National Guard opened all the doors in the military that I possibly could have ever expected.”
The Medal of Merit is the highest honor awarded by the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine to graduates who have excelled and achieved distinction in their chosen field of medicine through commitment and exemplary leadership.
Johnson is a 1991 graduate of the school who is a family physician and a clinical professor at the college. He was recognized for his work in not only medicine but education and politics as well, particularly his work on bringing the opiate epidemic to the forefront in the Ohio Legislature. He is previously the recipient of the 2014 Phillip’s Medal of Public Service, the 2011 American Osteopathic Foundation Physician of the Year.
“I never sat back and planned any of the things I’ve done,” Johnson said. “What I’ve done is try to put as much of God in my heart as I possibly can and then follow my heart.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewisPDT.