As founder and President of Philip W. Johnston Associates, Phil Johnston consults on health and human services issues from his offices in Boston and Washington D.C. working with healthcare associations, federal and state government, academic institutions and health care industry leaders to bring better quality and more cost effective health care to all. Mr. Johnston has worked in health and human services for many years. He is a former Massachusetts legislator and Cabinet member with a strong background in both state and national issues that impact the quality and delivery of healthcare to consumers. In November 2000, Mr. Johnston was elected to a four-year term as Chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party. He was re-elected in 2004, and served until 2007.
Mr. Johnston was appointed to the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees in September 2007 by Governor Deval L. Patrick, and reappointed on October 4, 2012. He served as Chairman of the University of Massachusetts Building Authority. Additionally, he Chaired the Committee on Science, Technology, and Research, and the Compensation Committee and served as a member of several other University committees and Task Forces. Mr. Johnston served as a member of the Search Committee to appoint a new president of UMass, and led the searches for chancellors at Amherst and Worcester.
In 2004 and 2012, Mr. Johnston worked alongside national policy leaders as Vice-Chairman of the Democratic National Convention Platform Committee, advising the Democratic Party on healthcare issues. Mr. Johnston also served as Executive Director of Citizens Programs Corporation, a non-profit grant-making organization focused on health policy issues affecting the poor, homeless and uninsured from 1996-2000. In addition, Mr. Johnston is Chairman of the Massachusetts Health Policy Forum, a health policy initiative which operates in conjunction with the Heller School of Public Affairs at Brandeis University. He chaired the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation of Massachusetts from 2002 until 2019. He also served on the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Board of Directors from 1998 until 2017. He sits on the Boards of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, The Tramuto Foundation and Health eVillages. Mr. Johnston also sits on the Board of Directors of Conformis Company, an international orthopedic health firm.
Prior to founding Philip W. Johnston Associates in 1996, Mr. Johnston was a Democratic candidate for Congress in the 10th District of Massachusetts, which he lost very narrowly. In addition, he was appointed by President Clinton as New England Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where he served from 1993 until 1996. Before joining HHS, Mr. Johnston served as the director of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial in Washington, D.C., an institution dedicated to improving social justice and human rights throughout the world.
Before Mr. Johnston’s service in Washington, he was Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts under Governor Michael Dukakis from 1984-1991. As such, he was Chief Executive Officer and principal policy maker for 17 diverse and sensitive state human services agencies, including adult and juvenile corrections, parole, public welfare, child welfare, public health, mental health and retardation, medical security, disabilities and rate setting. He directed the development and implementation of dozens of major projects affecting the poor, sick, elderly and disabled persons in Massachusetts. This included the Mental Health Action Project, a five-year, $350 million initiative to reform the state’s mental health system and the drafting, enactment and operation of the state’s universal health care legislation.
Before his work as Secretary, Mr. Johnston served for five terms as state representative from the 10th Plymouth District in Massachusetts.
In 1969, Mr. Johnston founded the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps, a private, non-profit agency, which provides residential and educational services for children-at-risk and foster children throughout the state of Massachusetts.
He has taught social and human services and public administration at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree (honors in history) from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1968 and a Master’s Degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1977.