Washburn Shops 223
PhD Cornell University 1989
MS Cornell University 1986
BS University of Michigan, 1983

I enjoy teaching at WPI because students bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to their learning; I am also inspired by their optimism. My teaching also reflects topics that motivate me:  detailed process design in our Industrial Engineering program, exploring the implications of operational excellence in our graduate programs, and advancing health care systems. 

My research explores the impact of lean improvement methods in healthcare settings, as well as applying work systems and modeling approaches to design more effective healthcare delivery processes. I am also interested in the opportunities that information technologies create for operational decision making and continuous improvement. Recent projects include evaluating lean as an implementation strategy for a suicide safety planning intervention, examining innovation and logistics models for mobile integrated health systems, and the effects of implementing organization-wide electronic health record systems on primary care delivery.

I am a founding member of the Healthcare Delivery Institute (HDI), and currently serve on the Faculty Steering Committee.  My research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the New England Veterans Engineering Resource Center.

Visit Digital WPI to view student projects and research advised by Professor Johnson.

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG 3: Good Health & Well-Being

SDG 3: Good Health & Well-Being - Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

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SDG 4: Quality Education

SDG 4: Quality Education - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

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SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

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SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

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Scholarly Work

Professor Johnson publishes research focused on improving health systems delivery, leveraging information technologies and industrial engineering techniques including work systems frameworks and lean six sigma methods.

Featured works:

Boudreaux ED, Haskins BL, Larkin C, Pelletier L, Johnson S, Stanley S, Brown G, Mattocks K, Ma Y. "Emergency department safety assessment and follow-up evaluation 2: An implementation trial to improve suicide prevention." Contemporary Clinical Trials, 95, 106075, 2020.

Zhu, Q., S. A. Johnson, J. Sarkis, “Lean Six Sigma and Environmental Sustainability: A Hospital Perspective", Supply Chain Forum: an International Journal, 19(1), 25-41, 2018.

Ozkaynak, M., S. A. Johnson, B. Tulu, J. L. Donvan, A. O. Kanaan, Rose, A., “Exploring the Effect of Complex Patients on Care Delivery Tasks”, International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, 28(5), 494-509, 2015.

Tulu, B., A. Trapp, D. Strong, S. Johnson, M. Hoque, J. Trudel, and L Garber, “An analysis of patient portal utilization: What can we learn about online patient behavior by examining portal click data?”, Health Systems, 25 September 2015; doi: 10.1057/hs.2015.5.

Strong, Diane M., Olga Volkoff, Sharon A. Johnson, Lori R. Pelletier, Bengisu Tulu, Isa Bar-On, John Trudel, and Lawrence Garber. "A theory of organization-EHR affordance actualization." Journal of the association for information systems 15, no. 2 (2014): 2.

Professional Highlights & Honors
Chairman’s Exemplary Faculty Prize, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 2019

First Place in the American Society of Engineering Education IE Division Best Paper Award, 2003

President, Health Systems Engineering Alliance (HSEA), 2014 - 2015

President, Lean Systems Division, Institute of Industrial Engineers, 2015 - 2016