Ava D. Thompson is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Associate Professor at The College of The Bahamas. She is a nationally recognized clinician and researcher in the areas of child and adolescent development and mental health. Dr Thompson is also a leader in psychology education and training and professionalizing the discipline.
She received her Master’s (1991) and Doctoral (1999) degrees in Clinical Psychology from Wayne State University (WSU), Detroit, Michigan. While enrolled at WSU, she completed a number of practicum/internship experiences, taught undergraduate courses and supervised graduate students in psychological assessment and therapy.
In the clinical and community arenas, Dr Thompson’s professional activities have focused on increasing children and adolescents’ access to culturally-relevant mental health services that include developing programmes for children in schools and residential facilities. In addition, she was a member of the multidisciplinary team that established the Neurodevelopmental Clinic (a national early intervention programme) and in 2005, she established The Bahamas Institute for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (BICAMH), a non-profit organization, and continues to serve as the President and Executive Director. In addition to her service as a board member and advisor to a number of children’s organizations, Dr. Thompson has trained parents, educators and other health care professionals on a range of mental health, developmental and educational issues.
At the College of The Bahamas, Dr Thompson has taught a range of courses, including Child Psychopathology, Indigenous Psychologies and Caribbean Psychology and has focused on culturally-relevant pedagogy. She has held several administrative positions (e.g., Coordinator of the Psychology Programme and Head of Department for Psychology, Sociology and Social Work), served on college-wide committees on governance and strategic planning and was Chairperson of the Task Force on Research.
Her scholarship interests reflect a macro disciplinary and national/regional development focus; current projects include historical perspectives on Bahamian and Caribbean psychology, culturally-relevant pedagogy, epidemiology of child and adolescent mental disorders, and indigenous models of mental health care.
During her ten-year tenure as President of The Bahamas Psychological Association she worked to promote the growth and professionalization of the discipline and has represented the College and the profession at regional and international meetings. Dr. Thompson served as Chair of the Conference Organizing Committee for the Caribbean Regional Conference of Psychology 2011 and is currently Co-Chair of the Caribbean Organization of Psychology Steering Committee (COPSC). She also Co-Chair of COPSC’s Psychology Education and Training Subcommittee.