Family Ties

Dr. Johns II and Dr. Johns III

We think of past and present members of our department as part of our family. For father and son Michael M.E. Johns II, M.D., and Michael M. Johns III, M.D., these family ties are thick as blood.

Dr. Michael M.E. Johns II

Dr. Johns II grew up in Detroit, Michigan. He originally planned to be a priest and attended seminary through his senior year of high school but left to attend Wayne State University. There he chose to pursue a career in medicine.

Dr. Johns II applied to two medical schools: Wayne State University and the University of Michigan. “Michigan accepted me, followed by Wayne. But Michigan accepted me first, so I thought, ‘Alright, I’ll go to Ann Arbor. It sounds like a fun place to be."

It wasn’t until his senior year of medical school that Dr. Johns II chose to pursue otolaryngology. “Dr. Frank Ritter gave me a chance to work in his research lab. I learned a lot about otolaryngology and was able to meet everyone. It was an exciting specialty, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. But most importantly, the department had spectacular teachers and role models.”

When applying for residency, Dr. Johns II and his wife considered programs across the country. “When it came down to it, we thought, ‘None are better than Michigan, so let’s just stay home." And they did. Dr. Johns II reflects fondly on his residency training. “We had great clinical experiences and great teachers. It was just the best.”

Following residency, Dr. Johns II served as assistant chief of the Otolaryngology Service at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. In 1977, he joined the Department of Otolaryngology and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of Virginia Medical Center. In 1984, Dr. Johns was recruited to Johns Hopkins as professor and chair of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, a department he built into one of the country's largest and most prestigious. As Associate Dean for Clinical Practice, he reorganized the faculty practice plan and planned and developed the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center. He is internationally recognized for his work and his studies of head and neck cancer treatment outcomes. Today Dr. Johns is Chancellor at Emory University. 

“I can look back now, and I know what good is. And Michigan wasn’t good – it was spectacular."

Dr. Michael M. Johns III

“It comes down to role modeling,” Dr. Johns III says, when asked how his father’s career impacted his own. “He was very happy and engaged. He enjoyed his work.”

It took a few economic classes and a college job with Continental Bank before Dr. Johns III decided to go into the family business. He attended the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where his father was dean and his sister was also a student. 

“I went into medical school with an open mind. I was engaged with each specialty I encountered, but at the end, I went with my gut and chose otolaryngology."

Like his father, Dr. Johns III hoped to complete his residency training at U-M. “Michigan is, in my opinion, the most outstanding otolaryngology program in the county." He was thrilled to match here. “I was ecstatic, jumping up and down!”

Dr. Johns III graduated from medical school in 1996. His father, who was dean at that time, hooded him at his graduation ceremony.

Like his father, Dr. Johns III is confident that he received superlative training during his residency at U-M. He chose to sub-specialize in laryngology and care of the professional voice, thanks in part to the mentorship he received from Dr. Hogikyan. “I watched him do amazing things,” Dr. Johns III says. “I was fascinated by his ability to restore function to his patients.”

Dr. Johns III completed his residency in 2002 and went on to complete a laryngology fellowship at Vanderbilt Medical Center in 2003. Today, Dr. Johns III is the founder and director of the Emory Voice Center, a multidisciplinary center for comprehensive care of patients with voice disorders.

When Drs. Johns II and Johns III aren’t working, they enjoy golfing and spending time with Dr. Johns’ III three young children.