Bayhealth director charts course for emergency medicine residency

November 21, 2022

Dean E. Johnson, MD, MS, FACEP, has always found it particularly meaningful that the Latin root word of doctor is “docere,” which means “to teach.”

It’s been his calling to help his patients understand their condition and how they can be treated, and to share his knowledge with fellow clinicians, residents and medical students. With his roles as the program director for Bayhealth’s new emergency medicine residency and an emergency medicine physician, he’s thrilled he gets to do both.

During his long emergency medicine career, Johnson has worked in EMS, fire services and hospital settings. He also has been involved in medical education for over 25 years.

“Care for critically injured and ill patients is best done by a team, and leading that team is a privilege that keeps me on my toes – always trying to improve what I know and learn from both patients and my colleagues,” Johnson said.

He came to Delaware to develop the program at Bayhealth, but also loves the attraction of Delaware’s stunning beaches and waterways, and is happy to be back in an area with beautiful seasonal changes.

“Throughout the organization, from the greetings that you receive when you walk in the main hospital door to the insightful leadership in hospital meetings, this is an organization that is deeply rooted in caring for the Delaware community. Like any other physician, I am proud to be part of that collective energy for good,” he said.

Aside from providing timely and expert care in the emergency departments at Bayhealth Kent and Sussex campuses, Johnson has had his hands full building the new program that will train future generations of emergency physicians to care for community members when they need it most. This complex work has included navigating national standard and accreditation requirements, recruiting faculty, developing curriculum and seeking candidates for the first group of emergency medicine residents.

Having achieved initial accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, Bayhealth’s emergency medicine residency program is set to launch in July 2023.

The three-year program will begin with six emergency medicine resident physicians next summer, growing each year until it reaches capacity in the third year with a total of 18 residents. As the program director, Johnson will be leading a talented team of faculty who will teach residents how to deliver cutting-edge emergency care, critical care and pre-hospital care in Bayhealth’s Level III trauma centers.

Residents will have the opportunity to build confidence in their ability to provide safe, quality trauma care, pediatric care, critical care and treatment of illnesses. As they progress through their training, they will also learn how to lead their own teams. They will benefit by working in both urban and rural facilities, and in a pediatric ICU in partnership with Nemours Children’s Hospital, Wilmington.

Bayhealth is dedicated to caring for the all-around wellness of both patients and staff, and its residents are no exception. Johnson has developed a program with the wellness of his residents in mind. He plans to have an orientation period to promote bonding among the residents and faculty, including fun activities, beach days, monthly journal club days away from the hospital and visits to faculty members’ homes. He plans to regulate working hours to make them more reasonable than some other residency programs. Vital feedback will be provided to residents in several formats on a regular basis to build confidence and ensure mastery of skills.

Johnson is eager to share his residents with the Bayhealth community.

“Medical students and residents are a bright bunch, and working with them helps us collaboratively provide the best care that we can for our patients,” he said.

Johnson and his wife have been married more than 30 years. They have four children along with several rescue cats and dogs. They enjoy spending time outside and taking walks.

For more about Bayhealth residency programs, go to


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