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APSU professor’s radiologic technology advocacy receives national attention

By: Colby Wilson April 3, 2024


Photo: Dr. Jennifer Thompson, a professor in APSU’s Department of Allied Health Sciences, leads a delegation of students exploring X-rays in Europe.

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - Dr. Jennifer Thompson, a professor in Austin Peay State University’s Department of Allied Health Sciences specializing in radiologic technology, was recently honored with several prestigious national awards and recognitions for her advocacy work and contributions to the field.

Last fall, Thompson received the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) Gold Standard Award for her advocacy efforts and student simulations with nursing, showcasing a commitment to quality, safety, patient care and the profession. Now, she’s been recognized again by a national governing body and will soon be in a leadership position that could further expand her advocacy efforts - perhaps even globally.

Recently, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT), a premier professional association for the medical imaging and radiation therapy community, awarded Thompson the ASRT Advocacy Award. Members from Louisiana, Virginia, Texas and Arkansas nominated her for her impactful advocacy work over the past year. Although her efforts in 2023 focused on the Tennessee legislative session, her message reached thousands of technologists nationwide.

“Since the 2023 legislative session, I have given lectures at state society meetings to teach how to become an advocate, navigate legislative websites and organize a legislative campaign,” Thompson said. “Multiple members have approached me to speak out on their state issues as an ‘influencer,’ which feels ridiculous to say about myself. But I’ve either been invited to or spoken at multiple society meetings on advocacy and the legislative process, so the message is getting out more and more.”

Thompson will be recognized for her achievements in June at the Annual Governance and House of Delegates meeting in Orlando. She’ll also speak at the ASRT Educational Symposium in Orlando, presenting with Austin Peay students Brisyn Dew and Meranda Foster on interprofessional simulation.

Thompson also received the Radiation Therapist Distinguished Author Award in Honor of Harold Silverman for her article “Exploring the Need for Clinical Preceptor Training in Radiation Therapy,” co-authored with Austin Peay colleagues Tim Catalano and Drs. Heather Phillips and Eleanor Jator. The $1,000 prize was donated to the ASRT Foundation.

Most recently, Thompson was appointed to the ASRT Board of Directors after being nominated and elected by her peers. She will serve alongside seven other leaders to promote the profession, with her appointment set to begin in July.

Thompson, a three-time APSU alumna, attributes her success to hard work and dedication.

“I think it shows the tenacity of being a Gov,” she said of her alma mater. “You’ve got to work hard for what you get, and people are always watching and will recognize good work. It’s been very nice to receive validation for the work I’ve done.”

Thompson found out about her ASRT board appointment while leading a delegation of Austin Peay students exploring the history of X-rays in Europe. The cohort spent 11 days on the continent, visiting Wilhelm Roentgen’s lab and museum, Siemens Healthineers, the Museum of Radiology and Marie Curie’s lab, among many other spots, and enjoyed a lab session with Fontys University students in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

As a passionate advocate for her profession who has risen to a place of influence in the national radiologic technologist community, Thompson plans to continue her efforts internationally, learning from organizations in Europe and the UK. Her goal is to unite allied health professions in advocacy, and she admires how her colleagues across the Atlantic have united behind issues that may not directly affect all branches of allied health.

“I believe there’s a tremendous opportunity for all allied health [professionals] to come together and support one another,” she said. “It’s going to take the entire profession advocating, not just for one field but for all of us in allied health.”