MIAMI, Fla. – Dr. Yvonne JohnsonPhillips not only is making an impact in the medical field, but on the football field and the overall community.
Her passion for volunteerism – and college football – has elevated her to leadership roles including the Orange Bowl Committee (OBC), where her work has propelled her to president and chair, becoming the first African American woman to serve in the position.
Johnson-Phillips, chief medical officer at South Miami Hospital, also became the first African American woman to serve in that position. She previously was vice chair of the OBC, and has served on the committee since 2010.
“I am honored that the members of the Orange Bowl Committee have elected me to the office of chair of this venerable organization,” said Johnson. “As a member, I have a deep respect for the longstanding history of the Orange Bowl Committee in service to the South Florida community.
“I am exceedingly proud to represent an organization that is so tangibly committed to improving the athletic, recreational and leadership development resources for the youth of our community."
“I LOVE COLLEGE FOOTBALL. AND I LOVE THIS COMMUNITY. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I SAY VERY COMMONLY IS, BEING A MEMBER OF THE ORANGE BOWL COMMITTEE IS THE MOST FUN YOU CAN HAVE AND SERVE YOUR COMMUNITY AT THE SAME TIME."
Johnson said the Orange Bowl Committee does much more than host the iconic, world-class college football bowl game.
“The committee continues to renovate neighborhood athletic fields, provide athletic showcase opportunities for high school students, offer leadership mentoring, and support athletic competitions for our differently-abled community,” she said.
"It is humbling to be in the line of leadership of the Orange Bowl Committee and our mission."
The Orange Bowl organization was formed in 1935 to pump millions of dollars into the local economy by hosting premier athletic competitions, most notably the Orange Bowl game pitting two of the top college football teams against each other.
The Orange Bowl inspires youth and young athletes by supporting academic programs and community events which help bring people together in a family environment.
The Capital One Orange Bowl game also hosts the Bowl Championship Series game to crown college football’s national champions.
Johnson-Phillips, born in New Jersey, earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard University and her medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine. She resides in Palmetto Bay with her husband Charles Phillips. Together they have six adult children.
She did her residency for internal medicine at Jackson Memorial Hospital. She has worked at South Miami Hospital for the past 20 years.
Prior to becoming chief medical officer, Johnson was the co-medical director of the Emergency Department at South Miami Hospital.
She also has served as the medical director of quality for the Baptist Health Quality Network, and was one of the founding members of the Board of Managers.
Johnson-Phillips is a clinical adjunct professor of the Florida International University’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. She has given numerous lectures on the topic of Women and Heart Disease both locally and internationally.
The OBC, however, is just one of many organizations Johnson-Phillips is involved with to help the community.
She serves on the board of directors for Special Olympics Florida, which she said is near and dear to her. As the mother of a Special Olympics athlete, Johnson-Phillips said she became a Special Olympics Unified Partner, and runs 5K races with Special Olympics athletes in the Miami Dade Special Olympics County Track and Field competitions. She and her Special Olympian partners have won Gold Medals at the State Championship in Orlando.
Johnson-Phillips also is physician philanthropy chair of the Baptist Health Foundation, serves on the board of directors of Our Pride Academy, is a member of the Greater Miami Chapter of the Links, Inc., and past vice chair of the Miami Dade Early Learning Coalition.
She has been honored several times as the “Doctor of the Day,” manning the Florida Legislative Clinic in Tallahassee. She is a member of the American College of Physicians and the National Medical Association.
She is a lifetime associate member of the South Miami Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, a member of the board of the Miami City Ballet School for several years and served as the school doctor for the ballet school’s International Summer Program.
“I love college football,” JohnsonPhillips said recently on “ESPN West Palm Tonight.” “And I love this community. One of the things that I say very commonly is, being a member of the Orange Bowl Committee is the most fun you can have and serve your community at the same time.
“To be in the leadership position (of) the engine that drives our ability to impact South Florida and our community, our youth, our partners, is very important to me.”