During this portion of our conversation, Dr. Johnson shared how he came to be the first black physician at Duke University Hospital.
Duke Hospital sent their instructors over to Lincoln Hospital to conduct rounds with the house staff and Howard had been sending residents to Lincoln Hospital so they could get credits for internal medicine and could take the boards. Dr. Johnson entered that program, and while he was a Fellow there, a visiting group from the National Institute of Health came to conduct an inspection at Duke Hospital.
At this meeting the gentleman representing the National Institute of Health asked Dr. Johnson if he was enjoying his rotation, to which Dr. Johnson responded, “No sir, I am not,” prompting the interviewer to reply, “What’s the problem?”
Dr. Johnson explained to the interviewer that he was not allowed to rotate on the private service. The interviewer promised, “I will take care of that.”
This led to the sequence of events that brought about Dr. Eugene A. Stead’s conversation with Dr. Johnson, culminating in an offer to join the staff at Duke.