226242 Practice, Progress, and Promise of a state Surgeon General: The Arkansas Experience

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 12:30 PM - 12:50 PM

Joseph W. Thompson, MD, MPH , Arkansas Center for Health Improvement - RWJF Center to Prevent Childhood Obesity, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR
In 2005, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R), in a merger of the Departments of Health and Human Services, formed a position of Chief Health Officer to serve as a public advocate for health. In 2007, Governor Mike Beebe (D) requested a legislative demerger of the departments through which the position was modified in name to Surgeon General and in function to explicitly serve as the cabinet level health advisor to the governor developing strategy for health policy alongside the cabinet level directors of the Departments of Health and Human Services. With legislative sanction, the position has evolved to enable strategic planning, support policy development, and provide trusted leadership for the executive branch with both the legislature and public. Serving originally as the Chief Health Officer and now as the Surgeon General, Joe Thompson, MD MPH has led state policy initiatives with successes in tobacco control, childhood obesity prevention, and expanded health insurance coverage. Currently based in an academic health policy center, the Arkansas Surgeon General draws upon the resources of the university and has become a catalyst using empirical information to advance the health agenda of the state. As a model for other states, the organization, function, and operational experience of the office may provide opportunities to advance public health.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1.Describe the factors leading to the formation of the Surgeon General post in Arkansas 2.Describe the organization and operations of the Surgeon General post in Arkansas. 3.Discuss the outcomes for the state of Arkansas of having a state-level Surgeon General.

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development, Public Health Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Surgeon General for the State of Arkansas
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.