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Bankole A. Johnson Receives Prestigious American Society of Addiction Medicine Award

October 16, 2018 | Joanne Morrison

Bankole A. Johnson, DSc, MD

Dr. Johnson is recognized for Advancing Scientific Understanding of Alcoholism and its Prevention

Bankole Johnson, DSc, MD, the Dr. Irving J. Taylor Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), has been named to receive the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s (ASAM) R. Brinkley Smithers Distinguished Scientist Award.

The award recognizes and honors an individual who has made highly meritorious contributions in advancing the scientific understanding of alcoholism an, its prevention and treatment. The award and lecture, will be presented at ASAM’s 50th Annual Conference in April 2019.

Dr. Johnson, who also serves as Professor of Anatomy & Neurobiology, Medicine, Pharmacology, and Neurology also serves as the Director of The Brain Science Research Consortium Unit, coordinating research in brain sciences across multiple departments at the UMSOM. He has conducted extensive research on the principles of addiction from animals, the human laboratory, and clinical trials. Dr. Johnson’s primary area of research expertise is in the actions of ion channels in the brain, neuropsychopharmacology, molecular genetics, mathematics, neuroimaging and medications for the treatment of addictions.  He is also the inventor of a novel, genetically targeted treatment for alcoholism, with numerous national and global patents. This is the only medicine in the world now in Phase 3 clinical trials for the treatment of alcohol use disorder; thereby emphasizing his bench to bedside to community approach to developing new medicines.

In 2016, Dr. Johnson received a Governor’s citation for his work as Co-Chair of the Quality of Care and Workforce Development Workgroup on the Maryland Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force.

The R. Brinkley Smithers and Distinguished Scientist Award and Lecture was established by ASAM in 1995 as a lasting tribute to R. Brinkley Smithers, who influenced American alcoholism policy, theory and treatment. The award recognizes and honors an individual who has made highly meritorious contributions in advancing the scientific understanding of alcoholism and its prevention and treatment.

“This is a great honor to Dr. Johnson, the Department of Psychiatry and the School of Medicine. Throughout his career, Dr. Johnson’s contribution to the science and treatment of addiction has been invaluable, and this recognition is well-deserved,” said UMSOM Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, who is also the Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor.”

The ASAM, founded in 1954, is a professional medical society representing more than 5,500 physicians, clinicians and associated professionals in the field of addiction medicine.

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

Now in its third century, the University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as one of the fastest growing, top-tier biomedical research enterprises in the world -- with 43 academic departments, centers, institutes, and programs; and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals, including members of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and a distinguished recipient of the Albert E. Lasker Award in Medical Research.  With an operating budget of more than $1 billion, the School of Medicine works closely in partnership with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide research-intensive, academic and clinically-based care for more than 1.2 million patients each year. The School has over 2,500 students, residents, and fellows, and more than $530 million in extramural funding, with most of its academic departments highly ranked among all medical schools in the nation in research funding. As one of the seven professional schools that make up the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine has a total workforce of nearly 7,000 individuals. The combined School and Medical System (“University of Maryland Medicine”) has an annual budget of nearly $6 billion and an economic impact more than $15 billion on the state and local community. The School of Medicine faculty, which ranks as the 8th highest among public medical schools in research productivity, is an innovator in translational medicine, with 600 active patents and 24 start-up companies. The School works locally, nationally, and globally, with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world. Visit


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