Dr. Kalisha Bonds Johnson is an Assistant Professor, Tenure track at Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff  School of Nursing in Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated from The University of  Tennessee at Martin with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2007. She  graduated with a Master of Science in Nursing in 2012 from Vanderbilt  University, specializing as a Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse  Practitioner. Most recently, Dr. Bonds Johnson graduated with a PhD from  Oregon Health & Science University in 2019. During her PhD program, she  was funded through several mechanisms, including the SAMHSA at American  Nurses Association Minority Fellowship Program and the Jonas Foundation as a  Veterans Healthcare Scholar. In her PhD studies, Dr. Bonds Johnson focused on  how the caregiving experiences of African American dementia dyads (i.e.,  African American persons living with dementia and their African American  family caregivers) were associated with their quality of life. Specifically,  Dr. Bonds Johnson focused on interpersonal factors such as decision making  and the relationship quality. In her postdoctoral fellowship, she advanced  this line of inquiry to focus on the decision-making processes regarding  healthcare services for African American persons living with dementia and how  these decision-making processes affect the quality of life of African  American persons living with dementia and their families. Dr. Bonds Johnson  hopes to improve health outcomes from African American persons living with  dementia and their families through the development of culturally tailored  clinical interventions.

Areas of Expertise

Caregiver Well Being
Gerontology And Elder Health
Health Disparities
Mental Health
Vulnerable Populations
Social Determinants of Health


Bonds Johnson, K., Bai, J., Waldrop, D., Paul, S., Lee, H., Lyons, K. S., Yeager, K. A. (2022).  Barriers to pain management: Incongruence in Black cancer caregiving dyads. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 63(5), 711-722. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2021.12.033

Bonds Johnson, K., Higgins, M., Epps, F., Brewster, G. S., Alexander, K., & Hepburn, K. (2023). Tele-Savvy Outcomes of Non-Hispanic Black American and White Caregivers. The Gerontologist, gnad044. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnad044

Clevenger, C. K., Clark, C., Brown, A., Villinger, T., Lyron, S., Bonds Johnson, K., & Cook, C. L. (2023). Advanced practice providers in dementia care: Optimizing all providers on the care team. Practical Neurology. 22(5), 29-33

Bonds Johnson,  K., Epps, F., Song, M., Lyons, K. S., Driessnack, M. (2021). Using poetry as  data to explore daily and formal care decision making within African American  dementia dyads. Geriatric Nursing. 42(4): 919-925. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gerinurse.2021.05.001

Brewster, G. S., Bonds, K., McLennon, S., Moss, K. O., Epps, F., & Lopez,  R. P. (2020). Missing the Mark: The Complexity of African American Dementia  Family Caregiving. Journal of Family Nursing. https://doi.org/10.1177/1074840720945329  

Bonds, K., Song, M., Whitlatch, C. J., Lyons, K. S., Kaye, J. A., & Lee,  C. S. (2020). Patterns of dyadic appraisal of decision-making involvement of  African American persons living with dementia. The Gerontologist. Advance  online publication. https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnaa086

Bonds, K., Whitlatch, C. J., Song, M., & Lyons, K. S. (2020). Factors  influencing quality of life in African American dementia dyads. Aging &  Mental Health, 10:1-8. https://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2020.1711865

Bonds, K., & Lyons, K. S. (2018). Formal service use by African American  persons with dementia and their caregivers: An integrative review. Journal of  Gerontological Nursing. 44(6):33-39. https://doi.org/10.3928/00989134-20180509-06


I  expect the students will achieve three skills after completing my course(s).  First, students will learn to collaborate with diverse groups. To be an effective  nurse, one should be able to work with patients and health care team members  of different ethnicities or racial backgrounds, sexual orientation and/or  religious affiliations to name a few. Second, students will have the ability  to apply their scientific knowledge to real-world problems. Nursing requires  the application of complex medical knowledge be applied to signs and symptoms  of patients. Third, students will improve their critical thinking skills. To  efficiently treat patients, nurses must be able to triage based on acuity,  prioritize treatments for multiple patients and make judgements about when to  seek input from other members of the healthcare team. To teach these specific  skills to the students, I plan to use active learning strategies (NRC, 2000).  Active learning promotes deeper understanding and greater retention of new  knowledge (NRC, 2000). I will foster active learning through the  encouragement of metacognition (Freeman et al., 2014) and incorporating  different learning styles (Leite, Svinicki, & Shi, 2009). I am an expert.  My role is to model for the students the complex ways of thinking so that  they can develop the same habits of mind as professionals in the nursing  field. I engaged and motivated the students during clinical instruction, and  I plan to continue this effort when I teach. I will use several active  learning techniques: short videos, small group discussions, and case studies.  I will include modern technology in my classroom. I plan to use the clicker  system, if available, if not I will have students use a related app, such as  poll everywhere. I am willing to create and/or teach an online course. I was  an online-distance learner for the first year of my PhD program. I understand  some of the challenges as a learner and would use my insights to improve the  experience for future students.


My program of  research employs innovative dyadic methods and culturally relevant frameworks  to examine how Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias caregiving occurs  within African American families prior to long-term care placement.  Specifically, my program of research focuses on daily care (e.g., activities  of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living) and formal care  (e.g., paid services usually provided by a healthcare institution) decision  making and how these decisions influence the quality of life of African  American dementia dyads (i.e., African American persons living with  Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their African American  caregivers). My long-term research goal is to become a successful and  independently funded investigator with expertise in dementia caregiving  within the African American community with a focus on answering important  questions across the dementia trajectory and identifying novel interventions  to improve the quality of life of these dyads and families.


Emerging Scholar and Professional Organization (ESPO) Chair
Gerontological Society of America

Favorite Dyadic Article of 2022
Gerontological Society of America Dyadic Research on Health and Illness Across the Adult Lifespan Interest Group

Emerging Scholar and Professional Organization (ESPO) Vice Chair
Gerontological Society of America

MFP/ANA Dr. Hattie Bessent Research Award 2021
Minority Fellowship Program at the American Nurses Association
The Dr. Hattie Bessent Research Award is in recognition of innovative nursing
research in mental health.

Emerging Scholar and Professional Organization (ESPO) Vice Chair-Elect 2021
Gerontological Society of America

Carol A. Lindeman Award 2019
Oregon Health & Science University
The Carol A. Lindeman Award bears the name of the second dean of the School of
Nursing. This award recognizes a graduate student who has demonstrated
excellence in nursing, innovative leadership, and a vision for health care.