Upstate News

August 17, 2007
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Dr. Wanda Thompson named associate senior vice president

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Wanda M. Thompson, Ph.D., will join the Office of the President as associate senior vice president at SUNY Upstate Medical University, effective Aug. 20.

Thompson was the deputy executive commissioner for System Support Services at the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) in Austin, Texas. At SUNY Upstate, she will provide leadership and direction in the development of institutional planning.

“Dr. Thompson brings exceptional strength in strategic thinking and in administration,” said SUNY Upstate President David R. Smith, M.D. “She has an exemplary record in making operations run smoothly. Her appointment coincides with the launch of our strategic plan and she will play a major role in moving us forward.”

Among her responsibilities at SUNY Upstate, Thompson will oversee a variety of integrative operations including library services, public relations and communications. In addition, she will work closely with agencies in Albany, N.Y., and Washington, D.C., representing SUNY Upstate on Medicare and Medicaid issues as well as on public health policy.

As HHSC deputy commissioner since 2004, Thompson centralized administrative services and oversaw a $45 million budget and 600 employees. Her direct reports included the directors of Civil Rights, Human Resources, Business and Regional Services, and the Ombudsman Office. For the past three years, she oversaw a mandated consolidation of 12 Health and Human Service agencies into five organizations.

“It was a challenge to bring so many people and functions together, but the results were rewarding,” she said. “Now that the changes have been implemented, it seemed like a good time to make a move.”

That move, to higher education, is one she has long considered. “I particularly like what this university stands for—and that it brings such an important mission to the community.” She added that her husband, Bruce, and daughter, Veronica, are looking forward to living in a new part of the country. “Central New York is appealing,” she says, “with changing seasons and a deep sense of history.”

Prior to her post at the HHSC, Thompson served for eight years at the Texas Department of Health, including as the associate commissioner for Operational Support (2002-2004) and chief of staff to the commissioner.

A resident of Manlius, Thompson earned a doctorate of philosophy in education administration at the University of Texas at Austin in 1998 and a master’s degree in public affairs at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs in 1986. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Millsaps College and is certified by the Society for Human Resource Management.

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