Jill Johnston, PhD

Associate Professor of Population and Public Health Sciences


Health Equity Interests

The Environmental Justice Research Lab collaborates with communities to engage in community-driven epidemiology and action-oriented research


Jill Johnston, PhD is an Asoociate Professor and Director of Community Engagement in the Division of Environmental Health at University of Southern California.  Her research focuses on addressing unequal exposures to harmful contaminants that affect the health of working poor and communities of color.  Dr. Johnston engages in collaborations with grassroots organizations to conduct community-engaged action-oriented research at USC to support environmental justice. She works towards strong partnership with local organizations, community health workers (promotores), policymakers and residents to address air pollution, upstream oil and gas extraction and incompatible land use. Previously she worked as a community organizer on issues of environmental and economic justice in South Texas.  Dr. Johnston received her PhD in environmental sciences and engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied hazardous waste sites and industrial animal production. 

Research Interests

  • Disparities
  • Racial Disparities
  • Urban Health
  • Rural Health
  • Immigrant Health
  • Community Engagement
  • Community-based Participatory Research
  • Vulnerable Populations
  • Climate Change
  • Community Health
  • Cohort Studies
  • Exposures
  • Air Pollution
  • Soil Contamination
  • Environmental Monitoring Studies
  • Environmental Justice
  • Community Partnerships, Engagement, and Outreach
  • Human Health Impacts
  • EH Training and Teaching
  • Urban Oil Drilling

Courses Taught

  • Organizing and Mobilizing Communities for Public Health
  • Environmental Health, Policy and Practice


  • PhD in Environmental Sciences & Engineering; Public Policy
    at University of North Carolina
    Chapel Hill
  • BA in Earth & Environmental Sciences
    at Wesleyan University
    Middletown, CT