The Associate Director for Equity and Minority Health is appointed by and reports to the Director of the Lurie Cancer Center. The position is responsible for the identification, development and oversight of initiatives within the Center aimed at reducing cancer morbidity and mortality in medically underserved populations, including ethnic/racial minorities, women and children. The Associate Director serves on the Executive Committee and Leadership Group, playing a critical role in establishing the strategic direction, policy and priorities of the Lurie Cancer Center. The Associate Director also works closely with the Director and other senior leadership, including the Administrative Director for the Office of Equity and Minority Health, to foster interdisciplinary and inter-programmatic collaborations aimed at combating cancer-related health disparities.
Dr. Thompson is currently the Section Head of Hematology at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago (formerly Children's Memorial Hospital), and Professor of Pediatrics at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She holds the A. Watson and Sarah Armour Endowed Chair in Childhood Cancers and Blood Diseases. Dr. Thompson received her MD degree from Tulane University in New Orleans in 1983, and an MPH in Health Services from UCLA in 1987. In 1990 she completed a three year fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and subsequently served on the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology faculty at UCLA, rising to the rank of Associate Professor. In 2001, Dr. Thompson was recruited to Northwestern and served as the Medical and Scientific Director of Hematology prior to assuming her current Section Head role.
Dr. Thompson clinical interests include hemoglobinopathies, bone marrow failure syndromes and stem cell transplantation for non-malignant disorders. Her laboratory research is focused on developmentally regulated genes in early hematopoiesis. Dr. Thompson is an investigator on NIH-funded multi-center clinical trials as well as her own institutional clinical studies in thalassemia, sickle cell disease and hemophilia. Dr. Thompson has authored or co-authored numerous publications in peer-viewed journals in her field, and is a member of multiple professional and scientific societies including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Society of Hematology, the Society for Pediatric Research, and the National Medical Association.
Dr. Thompson has served on the Board of Directors for the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), the American Cancer Society Disparity Task Force, and the Sickle Cell Disease Advisory Committee for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and is currently on the Executive Committee of the American Society of Hematology as well as the American Cancer Societyâ€”Illinois Division Cancer Disparities Research Task Force. Her awards and honors have included a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Minority Medical Faculty Development Fellowship award and an AACR Minority Scholar Award in Cancer Research. Dr. Thompson has extensive regional and national experience on advisory committees for governmental agencies as well as non-profit organizations focused on improving healthcare access and increasing workforce diversity. She is also interested in increasing representation and funding for researchers from under-represented groups, increasing minority marrow donors, and healthcare-related public policy.