Oxygen Therapy

New medical director for Wound Care Services and Hyperbaric Medicine at Community Hospital: Dr. Ed Johnson

Monterey High School graduate Ed Johnson wasn't sure what he wanted to do with his life when he got to college. But he always had an interest in and an aptitude for the biological sciences.

He excelled in college and was encouraged by classmates and professors to pursue a career in medicine. So he did. He completed his undergraduate work at University of California, Santa Barbara, and was accepted to several medical schools.

Johnson chose University of California, San Francisco, and received his doctor of medicine degree in 1987. He launched his career with a family medicine residency at Natividad Medical Center and practiced in the Salinas area for about six years before joining the United States Air Force, where he became a captain.

"I just wanted to do something different, have a chance to move, try living somewhere else," says Johnson, who with his wife Lynne and their two children lived in Nevada, Texas, and Utah while he was stationed at various Air Force bases. Though they regret selling their home when they left Monterey County, the experiences, says Johnson, were priceless.

"My children have turned out to be very adaptive and flexible," Johnson says. Johnson notes that he also got to do some really "cool stuff," such as fly in F-16s with Air Force top-gun pilots.

Johnson completed a formal residency in aerospace medicine and received a master of public health degree while in the Air Force. He separated from the Air Force as a Lt. Colonel but is still in the reserves.

During his Air Force years, Johnson gained experience with hyperbaric oxygen therapy, using it to treat pilots and divers who developed "the bends." While stationed in Texas, he had the opportunity to work with hyperbaric medicine specialists who were treating not only pilots, but also patients suffering from things such as chronic wounds, burns, failing skin grafts, and treatment injuries from radiation.

In 2004, Johnson completed a fellowship in hyperbaric medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, after which he returned to California to establish a wound care and hyperbaric medicine center in Santa Barbara. This past December, he returned to the Peninsula to become medical director for Wound Care Services and Hyperbaric Medicine at Community Hospital.

Johnson says his life has been filled with constant change, but his wife has been the key to keeping him grounded. "I credit Lynne," he says, "who is formally trained as an accountant and as an exercise physiologist, for all the hard work she has invested in our sons. It's good to see them grow and learn. At the end of the day, between my work and trying to be a decent husband and father, there's not a lot of extra time. I feel very fortunate and thankful for all that I do have."