Education: Ava D. Thompson earned a PhD in Clinical Psychology, with a Minor in Industrial & Organisational Psychology from Wayne State University (Detroit, Michigan). Her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology is from the same institution. Dr. Thompson completed her undergraduate education at Loras College (Dubuque, Iowa) after matriculating from the College of The Bahamas with an Associate’s Degree in Psychology.
Current Positions: She is currently an Associate Professor in Psychology at the University of The Bahamas, where she has served as a full-time faculty member since 2000. Her teaching focus include child and adolescent well-being, diversity in psychology, global psychology and human rights and has resulted in the development of multiple indigenous courses.
Dr. Thompson is also a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and the Founding Executive Director of The Bahamas Institute for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (since 2004), where she continues to provide clinical services while supervising early career professionals, collaborating with professionals in other disciplines, conducting research, and managing project development and evaluation.
Past Positions: At the University of The Bahamas, Dr. Thompson has held several administrative positions, including Head of Department for Psychology, Sociology & Social Work (2006 – 2008) and Coordinator of the Psychology Programme (2000 – 2005; 2016 – 2020). She coordinated the development of the country’s first Bachelor’s Programme in Psychology that was launched in 2005. Dr. Thompson has served on the Institutional Review Board and was a Senator in the University’s inaugural Academic Senate. In addition to serving on other institution-wide committees on governance and strategic planning, she was Chairperson of the Task Force on Research, served on national committees (e.g., Urban Renewal Committee, Ministry of Education Special Committee, UNESCO National Committee), and represented the University internationally.
Scholarship: Recent and current scholarship include cultural diversity in psychology, integration of human rights into Psychology Education and Training (PET), COVID-19 & Psychology Organisations and global psychology. She has served as a reviewer for multiple journals and is currently a member of editorial review boards of several journals, including the Caribbean Journal of Psychology, Interamerican Journal of Psychology (IJP) and Frontiers in Psychology. Dr. Thompson has also conducted research for government ministries and agencies in The Bahamas.
Psychology Associations Engagement: Dr. Thompson worked with colleagues to re-establish The Bahamas Psychological Association and served as president from 2000 – 2010 and Past-President for 6 years (2011 – 2017). Since that time, Dr. Thompson has served as Co-Chair of BPA’s Professional Practice Standards Committee and worked to advance licensure in the country, including representing BPA on the Health Professions Council (2017 – present). In 2019, she began writing grants for BPA, was appointed Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Project Coordinator and represented the organisation on the National Technical Working group at the Ministry of Health.
She represented BPA in the region from 2006 – 2010 to develop Caribbean Guidelines for Psychosocial Practitioners in HIV Care. Dr. Thompson also chaired the 2011 inaugural Caribbean Regional Conference of Psychology (CRCP) and then co-chaired the Steering Committee to establish a Caribbean organisation of psychology before becoming the Founding President of the Caribbean Alliance of National Psychological Association (CANPA; 2013 – 2014) and then serving as Past-President for four years (2014 – 2018. Since CANPA’s inception, she has served as Co-Chair of the Psychology Education & Training Committee (2013 – present) and as Chair of the Presidents & Elders Council (2018 – present), she is a member of the Executive Council
As BPA’s first delegate to the IUPsyS General Assembly in 2012, Dr. Thompson was elected to the Executive Committee (2012 – 2016) and was re-elected for a second term (2016 – 2020+). During her tenure, she served on the Capacity Building Committee, served as Liaison to the Latin American Congress of Psychology (2015), represented the Union at the UN, chaired the Presidential Task Force to the United Nations and actively participated in strategic planning activities. Dr. Thompson’s continued role as an IUPsyS representative (e. g., Standing Committee on Gender Equality in Science – 2021+) complemented her early role in co-facilitating ICP capacity building workshops in Cape Town (2012) and Yokohama (2016).