Thompson, 45, has served as the Chief Health Officer of Arkansas since 2005, but under Act 384 of 2007, the Arkansas legislature abolished that position and created the post of Surgeon General. He will continue to serve as director of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, which supports public- and private-sector efforts to improve health.
“Arkansas’s Surgeon General will be the pre-eminent champion for health education in our state,” Beebe said. “Joe has long been a leader in the tireless effort to improve the health and health care of our people and is a natural fit to be the first Arkansan to hold this position.”
Thompson is board-certified in both pediatrics and preventative medicine, and maintains a pediatric practice at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. He also serves on the faculty at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Thompson is one of the architects of the state’s Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Act, which led to Arkansas becoming one of only a handful of states to dedicate all funds from the Master Settlement Agreement to health-related programs.
Thompson is a graduate of Hendrix college in Conway, received his medical degree from UAMS, and earned a Master of Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina.