Tick program gets new leader

Richard Johnson is passing the torch to Patrick Roden-Reynolds at the tick program. — MV Times File Photo

Patrick Roden-Reynolds will take the reins from Richard “Dick” Johnson at the Martha’s Vineyard Tick-borne Illness Reduction Initiative.

Johnson is the long-time director of the Tick Program, a Dukes County initiative sponsored by the boards of health of the six Island towns. He has been studying ticks on the Island, and working to reduce the incidence of tick-borne illnesses, since 2011.

“I have been, for the last few years, trying to retire again. Or at least to step back from the day-to-day work of the tick program,” Johnson said. 

Through a grant from the Massachusetts association of boards of health, the program was able to hire new year-round staff — including Patrick Roden-Reynolds, the program’s new wildlife and public health biologist.

Roden-Reynolds holds a master’s degree in natural resource management from the University of Maryland. He previously worked as an agricultural technician for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and as a research technician for the Illinois Natural History Survey.

Select board member Arthur Smadbeck welcomed Roden-Reynolds and thanked Johnson.

“Thank you for everything you’ve done in the past and everything you continue to do, Dick,” Smadbeck said. “Maybe one day we’ll get ahead of it, but right now it’s a struggle just to keep even.”

Johnson thanked the board for their support over the years and said he’d still be on the Island.


  1. Dick Johnson has been a stalwart, generous tick sleuth who knows the family Argasidae inside and out. He helped me personally on two occasions for which I and my family are most grateful. Enjoy that time off, Dick!

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