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Corporate: Jessica Johns


In her position as the labor and employment attorney for CoxHealth in Springfield, Jessica Johns exerts an impact on issues directly affecting patients’ lives on a regular basis.

It’s a huge responsibility, and it’s one she loves having.

“They come to us on their worst day, and CoxHealth works hard to try to make the experience the best it can be,” said Johns, who has been with the company for 12 years.

Jessica Johns

Jessica Johns

Johns primarily handles employment matters, advises medical staff on regulatory issues and fields other questions that come up in the day-to-day operation of the health system, which she describes as being like its “own little city.”

She’s helped the system meet a wide range of goals, including helping Cox College, a private institution of nearly 900 students in Springfield, obtain separate incorporation from the health system and drafting a policy to make CoxHealth tobacco-free.

She’s particularly proud of researching and developing CoxHealth’s policy on lactation breaks for women. In addition to complying with laws surrounding breaks for nursing mothers, CoxHealth is one of few employers that does not require employees to clock out while expressing breast milk, she said.

“That was a huge initiative for the wellness of the community, our employees and their children,” Johns said. “I was very grateful CoxHealth wanted to do that.”

Johns said she always had an interest in working in the medical field because of the opportunity it afforded her to help people who need it most. She encountered such an opportunity early in her career, when she was one of the attorneys who handled guardianships for the health system. She remembers working with a man who could no longer care for his wife because of his own illness. His gratitude when they were able to secure the help his wife needed had a profound impact on Johns.

“When there are challenges happening, I try to remember how much the work we are doing is impacting people’s lives,” she said.

Outside of work, she is a volunteer for the Springfield Ballet Guild, a member of Elizabeth Ann Seton Church and a volunteer at Immaculate Conception School. Her favorite role, though, is mom to her three young children. She works part-time and devotes the rest of her time to raising them — a balancing act she calls both challenging and fun.

“Although I take calls and respond to emails on my days off, I get the majority of my job done in three days a week,” she said. “I feel blessed to work for an employer who supports my desire to raise a family and trusts me to do this job in three days a week.”

Johns’ personal motto is “full throttle,” meaning she gives her all whether she’s at work or at home.

“I do my best to try to positively impact people,” she said. “I get the opportunity to touch a lot of people’s lives at work, and I do my best to have as many win-wins as I can.”