Joseph W. Thompson, MD, MPH
President & CEO, Arkansas Center for Health Improvement
Professor of Pediatrics and Public Health, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Dr. Joe Thompson works at the intersection of clinical care, public health and health policy. A nationally recognized leader in the quality and financing of health care, the improvement of public health, and the strategic response to threats to public health, Thompson strives to advance science within the context of political and economic reality.
As president and CEO of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, he leads that organization in its current efforts to address emerging and legacy health issues through individual choice and influential policy. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Thompson and ACHI have been assisting in Arkansas’s response to the public health emergency, an effort that includes collecting and analyzing local data on the pandemic and disseminating vital information to decision-makers across the state. The COVID-19 impact on low income communities and communities of color accentuate the impact of social inequities and the need for changes heralded by Thompson.
Thompson has led vanguard state and national efforts in planning and implementing healthcare financing reform, health promotion and disease prevention efforts focusing on health threats from tobacco and obesity, and emergency response efforts during periods of crisis. He worked with Arkansas’s executive and legislative leadership and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on healthcare financing innovation through novel Medicaid expansion strategies and their evaluation. He currently leads the Arkansas Healthcare Transparency Initiative, overseeing the linked integration of health data from the public and private sectors to improve health system access, quality and cost.
H was the inaugural surgeon general of Arkansas, serving for 10 years in the administrations of Mike Huckabee (R) and Mike Beebe (D), and has more than 35 years of experience on state and national corporate and public boards. Previously, he was the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s first Child and Adolescent Health Scholar, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar, and assistant vice president of the National Committee for Quality Assurance. He is a professor of pediatrics and public health at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
Thompson earned his medical degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.