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Behavioral Science




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Photo of Mitzi SchumacherMitzi M. Schumacher, Ph.D.

(Ohio State University, 1986)

129 Medical Behavioral Science Building
Phone: (859) 323-6075

Research Description

As a psychologist trained in social cognition, Dr. Johnson’s primary research interest is cognitive aging. Specifically, she studies older adult’s decision-making performance and preferences in medical settings.  She is also interested in broader psychosocial issues relevant to health and aging, such as those that confront Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. Finally, her involvement in medical education and background in research method and design has led to other interests in a variety of research settings and program evaluations.

2012 Accomplishments

Overall, the bulk of Dr. Schumacher’s efforts in the last year focused on teaching in the required courses for medical and dental students rather than research or service.  Not only was she the preceptor for her assigned ICM group for first year medical students, but she also served as a preceptor meeting with Dr. Nash’s ICM group while she was on medical leave.  Her ratings as a preceptor in her group were all above the course mean (3.89 versus 3.69) and she averaged 5479 words across 7 students in her written feedback, well above the course mean of 3433 words.  Similarly, their open-ended comments were very positive with one student commenting that she “genuinely cared” about them and “encourages us all to speak our minds” as well as “had a lot of knowledge about behavioral tendencies” and “knew when to be serious and when to let the student take over the discussion”.  In the CDE 824 for second year dental students, she played a much more active role, splitting the lectures with Dr. Nash as well as all the portfolio feedback and examination grading. Evaluations for 2012 are not yet available.  In addition, her teaching efforts included three graduate student dissertation defenses, two as outside examiner.  Blending her teaching efforts with her research efforts, she made two presentations about ICM at the Southern Group for Educational Affairs of the AAMC that were well received.  She also made two presentations based on her work in decision-making processes of the elderly at the national meetings of the Gerontological Society of America.  One of these was quite an honor since it was an invited commentary as an expert in the field.  After completing data collection and analyses on a pilot study, she also submitted an R03 to NIA/NIH  which will be reviewed in February.   Finally, she contributed significant service to the university by serving on the Health Care Clinical Sciences Area Committee -- becoming it’s chair in the second year of her service and by serving on the Senate Hearing Panel – a committee that has never met in the history of the university until last spring when it was convened to review the case of Dr. Smart and recommended his dismissal.  Surprisingly, both of the committees required considerable time, the first because it reviews twice the number of dossiers of any other area committee and it reviews all the new job descriptions generated by any medical or health sciences department; the second because they were charged with reviewing all the evidence and hearing from the investigating committees in a matter that spanned almost ten years in order to resolve a suspension of over two years.  Last year her professional development culminated in the completion of her mediation training, leaving her observation and supervision for certification.   Given the focus on her efforts on teaching, it was a very busy and productive year.

Representative Publications  (formerly as Johnson)

Johnson, M.M.S., & Drungle, S.C. (2000). Purchasing over-the-counter medications: The impact of age differences in information processing. Experimental Aging Research, 26, 245-261.

Wackerbarth, S.B., & Johnson, M.M.S. (1999). Predictors of driving cessation, independent living, and power of attorney decisions by dementia patients and caregivers. American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 14, 1-6.

Johnson, M.M.S., & Drungle, S.C. (2000).  Purchasing over-the-couonter medications:  The impact of age differences in information processing.  Experimental Aging Research, 26, 245-261.

Stephens, E. & Johnson, M.M.S. (2000).  Dr. Mom and Other Influences on Age Differences in OTC Medication Purchases.  Journal of Applied Gerontology, 19, 441-459.

Berg, C.A., Johnson, M.M.S., Meegan, S.P., Strough, J. (2003).  Collaborative problem-solving interactions in young and old married couples.  Discourse Processes, 35(1), 33-58.

Johnson, M., & Ryan, M. (2002).  Influence of the method of OTC information presentation on older adult decision-making.  Journal of Pharmaceutical Marketing, 15(4).

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