Speaker Profile

Dr. Joe Thompson

Joseph W. Thompson, MD, MPH

President & CEO, Arkansas Center for Health Improvement; Professor of Medicine and Public Health, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Joe Thompson, MD, 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, Dr. 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 the organization in its current efforts to address emerging and legacy health issues through individual choice and influential policy.

With funding through a National Science Foundation Engines Development Award, Dr. Thompson is leading a diverse, multistate partnership in the Mississippi Delta regions of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana to develop a proposal for an innovative initiative to transform one of the most disenfranchised areas of the country into a thriving, diversified, and integrated economic driver. He is also the co-principal investigator on a first-of-its-kind medical marijuana study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, to assess the impact of medical marijuana on Arkansans.

Dr. 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 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. He 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.