Monica Johnson is an award-winning speaker and the Founder/ Executive Director of HEROES (Helping Everyone Receive Ongoing Effective Support). Monica is focused on improving the physical, economic, and social health of people impacted by HIV/AIDS in rural Louisiana.
Her journey began with a 1985 letter informing Johnson, who was then attending Monroe's Northeast Louisiana University, that the person whose blood she received during a hospital stay the previous year had died of AIDS. Four years later, Monica learned she was pregnant and her son, Vaurice, was born HIV+ in 1990. He died three years and six months of age from HIV/AIDS complications.
Through these experiences, Monica quickly learned about the absence of services, and the prevalence of stigma, surrounding HIV in rural Louisiana. After hearing ‘No’ one too many times, HEROES began in 1995 when Monica was determined to turn all of those into ‘Yes’.
HEROES programs including:
- TIME (Teens In Motivation Education): Programming on STD prevention education for African-American teenage girls
- MBSU (Mind, Body, and Soul University): A treatment education service for persons living with HIV infection
Monica’s work has been featured in POZ magazine, The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource, the books A Positive Life, and the documentaries A Blaze of Light and deepsouth.
Monica sits on the National Minority AIDS Council Board of Directors. Previously, Monica served on ground-breaking boards and committees including The Wellproject, Community Advisory Board the Louisiana Governor’s Commission on HIV/AIDS, LSU Community Advisory Committee, and the Region VIII Community Planning Group and GO-CARE. She serves as an advisor for a host of HIV/AIDS conferences across the United States.
Monica is the recipient of the 2002 Angel Award, The Sapphire Award, The AKA Community Leaders Award, The 17th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Award, and The Dr. Estelita Quimosing AIDS Leadership Award and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2017 Health Equity Award.