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Former Lakeland Regional Health CEO & Lakeland YMCA Dr. Elaine Thompson Hired as Distinguished Professor

Southeastern University Press Release

We are excited to announce the hire of Dr. Elaine C. Thompson as our distinguished professor of professional practice effective August 7, 2023. Dr. Thompson most recently served as the CEO of the YMCA of West Central Florida and spent 10 years as the president and CEO of Lakeland Regional Health (LRH). 

About the Role

Dr. Thompson will be serving across the university in a variety of capacities through the creation and instruction of courses relating to bias and worldview, leadership development of SEU staff and faculty, and community education. 

“What really called me to SEU was its focus on students and its efforts to create an environment where every person in the community is equally valued. I would love to be able to help the students, staff and faculty be the very best they can be, and through that, make our surrounding community even stronger,” said Dr. Thompson.

Dr. Thompson will design and implement a curriculum that highlights the acknowledgement of biases and centers on social harmony, as well as prepares and equips students to fulfill the needs of underserved communities.

She will also work with SEU to develop various seminars and presentations that will be available to local community members on health and workplace-related topics. 

“Dr. Thompson is truly a gift to our university — she’s joining us with a wealth of occupational knowledge and experience,” said Executive Vice President Dr. Chris Owen. “I’m honored to work alongside her, and I’m confident that she will make a significant impact in the reputation and quality of graduates we produce.”

Get to Know Dr. Thompson

Before coming to SEU, Dr. Thompson worked with the YMCA of West Central Florida to stabilize its  finances and accomplish a campus transformation project. She currently serves on the YMCA of West Central Florida Board of Directors.

During her time at LRH, Dr. Thompson oversaw the $850 million revenue health system, which includes the LRH Medical Center — the fifth largest hospital in Florida — in addition to the free-standing Hollis Cancer Center, an employed physician group of 220 providers, and the ambulatory surgery center and radiology centers. She was also the president of the LRH Foundation.

Despite operating in the sixth poorest suburban county in the nation, Dr. Thompson obtained a favorable reconfirmation of fixed debt rating of A2 stable by Moody’s in 2018. She also invested $350 million into key facility improvements, improved the average age of plant from 14.3 years to 11.2 years, and operated the busiest single-site emergency department in the United States with a top 10% throughput efficiency ranking in the country since 2013.

Dr. Thompson has served as the president of Main Line Health’s Lankenau Hospital, in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, and the executive vice president and network chief operating officer of St. Luke’s Hospital and Health Network in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. 

Dr. Thompson received a Ph.D. in Biomedical Science from Drexel University, a Master of Science in Physical Therapy from Temple University, and a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania

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Carl Fish

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