UWM alumna impacts millions by guiding Puerto Rico’s public health response

As a member of the Puerto Rican Governor’s Scientific Advisory Board and leader at Ponce Health Sciences University, Kenira Thompson (’98 MS Experimental Psychology, ’01 PhD Experimental Psychology) has impacted the lives of millions of people she’s never met. After Hurricane Maria struck in 2017, she brought U.S. doctors and supplies, and set up a field medical station. Then, as COVID-19 hit, Thompson helped set up the first on-site COVID-19 testing facility and freezer farm for the Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By creating this facility, the island’s main vaccine storage and distribution hub, 2.7 million people were able to be vaccinated. Thompson also serves on the steering committee for the Group on Research Advancement and Development of the Association of American Medical Colleges. Thompson received the distinguished alumni achievement award at the 2022 UWM Alumni Association Awards.