Dr. Joe Thompson

Surgeon General for the State of Arkansas; Director, Arkansas Center for Health Improvement

Dr. Joe Thompson’s work is centered at the intersection of clinical care, public health and health policy. He is responsible for developing health policy, research activities and collaborative programs that promote better health and health care in Arkansas. Dr. Thompson works closely with the Governor’s office, the Arkansas legislature and public and private organizations across the state on relevant health policy topics.

Dr. Thompson has led vanguard efforts in planning and implementing health care financing reform, tobacco- and obesity-related health promotion and disease prevention programs. He was the lead architect of the Tobacco Settlement Act of 2000 and instituted the Arkansas Health Insurance Roundtable. Under his leadership, ACHI helped pass the Clean Indoor Air Act of 2006, documented the state’s success in halting progress of the childhood obesity epidemic, and helped implement ARHealthNetworks, Arkansas’s health care benefits waiver for low-income workers.

Dr. Thompson has been at the forefront of both Arkansas’s leading-edge efforts against childhood obesity and in national efforts to reverse childhood obesity as the former Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Center to Prevent Childhood Obesity. He currently serves on the Arkansas Board of Health and is past President of the Arkansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Nationally, Dr. Thompson serves on the board of the Campaign to End Obesity and of AcademyHealth, as well as serving on Institute of Medicine’s standing committee on childhood obesity. He is author of numerous articles and publications that reflect his research interests in the areas of health and health care including access, quality and finance.