Dr. Julie Johnson
Regional Medical Director, HealthPartners Medical Group
Turn Surviving Into Thriving
Medicine is a career that chose me and not the other way around. I didn’t grow up wanting to be a doctor. It just wasn’t something a small-town girl from North Dakota dreamed of or aspired to. But life has a way of helping you find your passion.
For the past 25 years, I’ve had the privilege of sharing in the lives of the patients that seek my care. I’ve witnessed both joys and heartaches, new life and death, runny noses, worried well, and those that are facing significant health issues. Through it all, it’s not always the knowledge that heals, but it’s the compassion, validation, reassurance, and often just listening that allows the connection to be made. This connection has the ability to touch body, soul, and spirit with healing.
My journey as a physician started where I grew up in North Dakota. During my final year of training at NDSU in pharmacy, I knew that I wanted to better understand the "why" behind the "what" and go beyond just the education aspect of care. With a great leap of faith, I applied to University of North Dakota School of Medicine and earned my medical degree.
With another leap of faith, I left my home state to move to Michigan and train in suburban Detroit. A bit of a culture shock for this small-town girl, but I came into my own in the 5 years I spent there in residency. I developed a post residency fellowship for Family Physicians doing obstetrics and trained Family Medicine residents. They often taught me more than I taught them.
Following my soon to be husband to Nebraska, I embarked on what it means to be a true family physician working in a small-town hospital. I cared for entire families and often multiple generations. I spent those five years practicing in the ER, hospital, and clinic and experienced all I had dreamed of when I chose family medicine as a specialty. What delighted me the most was also what fed my soul, helping mothers bring a new life into their families.
In 2002, my husband and I had the opportunity to move closer to family as we began to contemplate starting our own. This led to my current position at HealthPartners Central Minnesota Clinics. For the past 12 years I have been the Regional Medical Director for HealthPartners Medical Group.
As I’ve watched the changes in medicine that have transformed how we deliver care, it’s given me a new passion. I will always need the one-on-one connection with patients, but the system that supports that relationship with patients, can be a barrier. In my current role, I have the opportunity to influence how we structure the care we provide to meet the quadruple aim of providing exceptional patient experience, high quality medical care at the lowest cost while providing an environment where the givers of care can thrive.
I’ve been blessed for the last 19 years to be married to a man who brings adventure to my life in unexpected ways. He brings out the best in me and our two daughters. As a family we love to spend time on land where the girls train their horses in dressage and in the water where we all love to SCUBA dive. When I do have some time alone, I love biking, reading ͞fluff͟ novels, and napping!