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Dr. Terry Johnsson receives Martin Luther King, Jr Lifetime Achievement Award

Awards & Recognition

Adventist Health’s Dr. Terry Johnsson was presented this week with the prestigious Martin Luther King, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award from the city of Portland. Johnsson, a Portland native, is Vice President of Mission Integration for the Pacific Northwest Region of Adventist Health responsible for inspiring health, wholeness and hope in Oregon, Washington and Hawaii. The award recognizes Terry for his commitment to helping communities triumph beyond struggles and challenges.

Johnsson was the first African American from the state of Oregon to serve as a U.S Air Force Presidential Honor Guard at the White House for three United States Presidents. His passion for service began as a teenager when he joined Adventist Health Portland’s volunteer department as the hospital’s first male candy striper. Johnsson’s commitment to improving the quality of life for others has remained his passionate focus locally, regionally and nationally.

“I am humbled, grateful and honored to be chosen for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award,” says Johnsson. “I have always been inspired by Dr. King’s example of making this world a better place for generations to come. It remains my lifelong calling.”

As a child, Johnsson suffered from an extreme case of dyslexia and was told he would never succeed in life. Johnsson beat the odds and went on to earn two undergraduate degrees, a master's degree and a doctorate degree. Most recently, Johnsson founded a non-profit high school mentoring program called Student Healthcare Leaders. His goal is to help young people identify their talents, and provide high school students an exposure to the world of healthcare.

“I am very proud of Terry's accomplishments in helping transform lives while creating healthy communities,” said Joyce Newmyer, president of Adventist Health Pacific Northwest Region. “His faith-based, heart-led approach to sacred work continues to guide and inspire us in addressing opportunities in the communities we serve.

Johnsson received the award at Portland's annual “Keep Alive the Dream” program, one of the largest community-based celebrations in the United States. The event, hosted by the World Arts Foundation, Inc., gives voice to the heritage citizens’ struggle for peace, social justice, civil rights, and human dignity.