Building Trust, Bridging Gaps: Joanice Thompson’s 40-Year Mission for Communities of Color

“My Focus = My Story Before Retirement: Engaging and encouraging community members to help to build healthier communities

My Story = My Focus after Refiring: Engaging and empowering community partners and members to lead the effort in building healthier communities.

I currently have over 40 years of extensive experience in community engagement and partnership development. I have spent years planning, developing, and organizing community participation in preventive health programs. I became highly skilled in monitoring and analyzing community programs and projects progress, community viewpoints, and incorporating information into planning activities and action programs and recruitment retention for clinical trials playing a key role in establishing the first recruitment and retention shared facility at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). My experience helped me become very knowledgeable of citizen involvement and participation skills and techniques relative to program planning and evaluation.

“Our communities of color are still suffering because of the lack of trust in the system, misinformation, limited healthcare, access, and timely education. Working Together We Can Make A Difference! “

Joanice Thompson

A much-appreciated journey – working for UAB for over 35 years. Serving as Telephone Interviewer, Coordinator, Manager, and Director. All these positions led to some phase of community engagement. In addition, I come from a service-oriented family. When you come from a large family you are very familiar with engaging and being engaged. Also, I had a passion for working in healthcare and helping people.
There’s nothing like being out in the community because that’s where you learn.

When initially starting my community engagement efforts at UAB, I did not have a manual of operations that said, “follow these steps and your outcome will equal this” when engaging the community. In the absence of a clear well-defined magical model for recruiting subjects for research studies, coalitions, and preventive programs /projects especially minorities/underserved participants, I think it is safe to say I operated by trial-and-error – experimenting with various self-designed meth


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