Clay Johnston, M.D., PhD

Clay Johnston, M.D., PhD


Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX USA

[As a leader], my role is to design this place so that it will succeed without me. It’s a weird thing to say, but that’s the goal, to get the whole system working so that I am less and less important over time.


By Roadtrip Nation

Clay Johnston, M.D., PhD


My road in life took a while to figure out.
Born and raised in Colorado.
Comes from a long line of doctors, so he grew up with the expectation that he would also become a doctor.
In college, he rebelled against this expectation and decided to drop out of his pre-med program and spend nine months in Italy studying architecture and design.
Eventually, he switched back to medicine and attended Harvard Medical School after he realized he was more passionate about science and helping people.
Completed his residency at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) where he specialized in neurology and later received his PhD in epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley.
Worked at UCSF for over 20 years where he rose in the academic ranks to become Professor of Neurology and Epidemiology and directed the Stroke Service.
He now serves as the inaugural Dean of the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin, where he is working to build an inclusive and innovative health education program.
Clay has authored more than 300 publications in scientific journals and has won several national awards—he is best known for his work on the prevention and treatment of strokes.
Keep following my journey



I lead a brand new medical school that teaches students, does research, and takes care of people.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Helping People

Day to Day

On average days, I meet with a lot of students to discuss improving curriculum, I work on setting up new models of care, and I talk to community leaders about best practices and spreading the word about our school.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for middle school students

Start preparing for medical school now if that's what you want to do. Study and work really hard.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:



The Noise I Shed

From Family:

"Why bother with architecture? Just be a doctor."

Interviewed By

Room to Grow

Room to Grow

Texas high schoolers choose their education focus