Reflections on 20 Years of Public Health at AUA

3 min read

YEREVAN, Armenia – On March 20, 2014, the American University of Armenia (AUA) School of Public Health (AUA SPH) hosted Dr. Michael Thompson for a seminar entitled “Reflections on 20 Years of Public Health at AUA: Parallels between Quality Assurance in Healthcare and Accreditation in Public Health Education.”

During the session, he first presented parallels in purpose, language, and evolution between hospital quality assurance and the accreditation of public health training, drawing linkages to the ongoing mission and efforts of the AUA School of Public Health. In doing so, Dr. Thompson also presented the history of the founding of the College of Health Sciences (now School of Public Health) that started 20 years ago, and shared many inspiring memories. He concluded the talk highlighting the overall impact and recognition of AUA SPH locally and internationally, providing recommendations for its next 20 years of development.

Over 70 Master of Public Health (MPH) students, alumni, and faculty, as well as representatives of the public health community, were present during the inspirational seminar. Several MPH alumni and students shared their experiences in the program and asked questions. AUA Director of Administration Anahit Ordyan, who was among AUA’s first students, shared her impressions that reflected the excitement in the audience: “What was particularly important was the dedication and belonging that was conveyed to those present. No doubt, each of the students and alumni will continue to see his or her responsibility to come back, to share, and to discuss opportunities for new developments. The pictures taken at the event will remind us of the emotional, mind, and soul-enriching two hours.”

Dr. Thompson continues to be closely involved with AUA SPH. He is an ongoing member of SPH faculty and contributes to the research projects as both a consultant and mentor. It is clear that Dr. Thompson has a deep ongoing commitment to not only AUA but also to improving the health of the people of Armenia.

Dr. Thompson is an Associate Professor of Public Health Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he coordinates their CEPH-accredited Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) degree program and their CAHME-accredited Master of Health administration (MHA) Program. His involvement with AUA began in 1994 with the planning of the graduate certificate in public health (now Master of Public Health program). His first visit to Armenia was in March 1995 to help launch the program. From 2000-2005, Dr. Thompson was with AUA on a full-time basis, serving as the Associate Director of the MPH Program, the Director of the Center for Health Services Research and Development, and the Interim Vice President of AUA. Dr. Thompson holds a master’s degree in emergency health services administration (1988) from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a Doctor of Public Health degree in Health Policy and Management (health services research and evaluation) from Johns Hopkins (2002) based on research conducted in Armenia at CHSR. Dr. Thompson’s research agenda is focused on providing the evidence base for vulnerable communities to collaborate in identifying and addressing their challenges. As such, he has tackled issues ranging from blindness prevention to dental public health to tobacco control to hospital quality assurance and community-based tuberculosis control, with efforts focused on reproductive or maternal child health, self-rated health, and public health workforce development. In addition to helping launch the AUA and UNC Charlotte public health programs, Dr. Thompson has consulted on the establishment or improvement of graduate public health programs in Lebanon, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.

To view a video recording of the event, please click here. To view the Dr. Thomson’s PowerPoint presentation, please click here.

The AUA School of Public Health works actively to improve the health of the populace and health services in Armenia and the region through interdisciplinary education and development of public health professionals and others to be leaders in public health, health services research and evaluation, and health care delivery and management.


Dr. Thompson speaking to members of the AUA community and the public about the AUA School of Public Health.



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