Momo’s Story—Pursuit of a PhD

Momo’s Story—Pursuit of a PhD


by Jennifer L. Hipple, Communications Specialist

Momo and Alex

To know Momo Johnson is to be inspired by him. Momo has worked at Hammer for 18 years. He is a fulltime Direct Support Professional (DSP) at our Jersey home and also picks up shifts at our First Avenue home. On Sundays, although it’s his day off, Momo goes back to Jersey to help with activities and take one of the individuals we serve to play hockey. With the support of Hammer education grants, Momo is also working on his PhD—which he does at night.

When asked if he ever sleeps, Momo smiles and says his PhD in public health and epidemiology will enable him to help more people who are either pre-diabetic or living with diabetes. His area of study and his dissertation is on type 2 diabetes among African immigrants and refugees. “It will also benefit Hammer,” Momo says. “With the population of residents we have, I believe that in each of the Hammer homes you’ll find one or two people suffering from the disease. Upon completion of my PhD and while doing research, I can be helpful to Hammer.”

Momo also did his master’s work, online through Walden University, with support from Hammer’s education grants. “I’ve used them a couple of times,” he says. “I just applied for my next grant.” The grants allow Momo, and other Hammer employees, to continue their education while working fulltime.

“This (education) is not to earn a higher salary but to help people,” he says. “When I was studying African culture, I started focusing on diet and diabetes. It is a bad disease. It can make you go blind. It affects almost all parts of your body. If you recognize it and catch it when you’re borderline, and obey the rules, it’s possible to ‘get out,’” he says, “start exercising, modify your diet.”

Momo and Doug

Momo says it will take him five years to finish his PhD. He is grateful for the education grants he has received, made possible by Hammer’s donors to our education fund. He encourages others to make use of them. “What you are learning, you’re not just learning for yourself, but you’ll share your knowledge with other people. With my education, my hope is not to leave Hammer, but to help people who are pre-diabetic or have diabetes,” he says.

“I praise God and pray for those people who are making the money available (for the grants),” Momo says. “Thank you.”

If you would like to learn more about supporting our education grants program, please contact Ellen Timmerman-Borer at 952-277-2433 or ellen.tborer@hammer.org

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  1. Jeanne Ottman NER

    Momo-You sound amazing! Good luck in all your future ventures.

  2. Ben macken

    Awesome dsp


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