Edward B. Johns
Professor of Public Health, Emeritus
When Ned Johns died on December 3, 2001, UCLA lost one of its most devoted scholars. Ed Johns, or “Ned” as he is more commonly referred to, was born in Salt Lake City on May 15, 1910 and received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University in 1932. He continued his academic pursuits at Stanford, completing his master’s and doctoral degrees in 1934 and 1943 respectively. He was an instructor and assistant professor at the University of Oregon from 1939 to 1941, and joined the faculty at Stanford as an assistant professor from 1941 to 1942. Ned was one of the first professors to join the newly designated School of Public Health at the University of California in 1947, where he quickly was promoted to full professor in 1955. He was the first professor in the School to head the health education program in the Division of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education.
Ned’s record of contributions to UCLA, both to the campus as a whole and to the School of Public Health, is outstanding. Of the many positions he held in the School, community and profession, perhaps the most challenging was his service as Assistant Dean of Student Affairs from 1973 to 1976. His administrative talents and intimate knowledge of the details of departmental operations made him the right-hand man of successive department chairs. Throughout his long career, the national and international public health education professional organizations counted on Ned's energy, efficiency and good sense in a great variety of roles. These include the chairmanship of the Joint Committee on Health Problems in Education with the National Education Association and the American Medical Association from 1965 to 1966. He was a member of the Health in School Committee for the Los Angeles Metro Welfare Planning Council from 1943 until his retirement in 1976. He was Director of the School Health Evaluation Study for Los Angeles from 1954 to 1959. Ned also served as an international consultant for the World Health Organization.
Ned was a Fellow in the American School Health Association and served as past chairman of the Research Council and received the Distinguished Service Award from this association in 1964. He was the chairperson of the American Public Health Association’s School Health Education Section and was vice-president of the American Association of Health and Physical Education and Recreation (A.A.H.P.E.R.) and chairman of their Curriculum Committee, Health Education Division from 1961 to 1967. In 1963, he received the Honorary Award for Distinguished Service from A.A.H.P.E.R. Ned was a member of the Royal Society of Health and the Society for Public Health Education, Delta Kappa and Sigma Delta Psi. He was editor of the Journal of School Health and Research Quarterly from 1964 to 1967.
Ned was a prolific writer and published numerous scholarly scientific articles and a major reference book for the college student and consumer of health education. The book, titled Health for Effective Living: a Basis Health Education Book for College Students and the Consumer, was originally published in 1962, with three additional editions in 1966, 1970, and 1975. Ned played a crucial role in the development of the Division of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, beginning with his arrival at UCLA. Not long after he joined the faculty, Ned played a critical role in defining the vision of the Division and eventually the Department of Community Health Sciences.
Aside from his professional career, Ned and his wife Bertha enjoyed a very active social life and had many good friends. They and their daughter Judy attended Stanford’s University Centennial Celebration in 1991 (Ned had three degrees from Stanford, Mrs. Johns was formerly Administrative Assistant to Stanford’s Controller, and Judy received her A.B. from Stanford). Ned also enjoyed his regular Friday golf game with his Kiwanis group in Laguna Hills.
Donald E. Morisky