May 04, 2021 11:45 AM

Thompson joins SFM's Salina West as medical director

Posted May 04, 2021 11:45 AM
<b>George Thompson.</b> Photo courtesy Saint Francis Ministries
George Thompson. Photo courtesy Saint Francis Ministries

Psychiatrist George Thompson brings decades of experience working with young people in residential facilities who have experienced trauma to his new role as medical director at Saint Francis Ministries’ Salina West facility.

Thompson joined the Saint Francis residential facility in April. He previously served as chief medical officer at KidsTLC in Olathe. His experience there, and also training at the world-renowned Menninger Clinic, formerly based in Topeka, uniquely prepared him to take an active role in serving children and families at Saint Francis.

“A medical director is responsible for overseeing medical treatment and ensuring it is effective,” Thompson said. “But I trained at the Menninger Clinic, and it is known for its holistic approach to care. I learned to treat the whole person – the biological aspects, but also psychological and relational and even spiritual aspects. As the medical director of the residential program, I feel it is my responsibility to make sure that children and teens are getting good treatment, and they’re getting what they need.”

Saint Francis got to know Thompson through several collaborative state committees focused on system needs with psychiatric residential treatment centers, medical necessity and prescribing practices with the most vulnerable, high-needs children. An approach that considers the child in the context of their experiences, family and community, said Cheryl Rathbun, chief clinical officer, integrates well with the way Saint Francis serves children and families.

“Dr. Thompson has the skills we need as a medical director, but more importantly, he understands that the children we serve are part of a family and a community,” she said. “Their healing and ability to see the path forward must take that interconnectedness into account. Dr Thompson’s expertise in trauma work will be an additional asset to Saint Francis.”

Trish Bryant, vice president of residentials for Saint Francis, said she is excited to welcome Thompson to support the work being done at Salina West.

“Dr. Thompson brings extensive experience in working with children and young people in a residential setting, and we’re pleased he is joining our team,” she said. “I know the staff is looking forward to his insight on care and that he will focus, as Saint Francis does, on continual improvement.”

Thompson was the director of training in the Karl Menninger School of Psychiatry and currently works as an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine where he teaches future physicians the skills and importance of competent, compassionate doctor-patient communication. He serves as treasurer of the board of directors of the DDP Institute and on the advisory board of the Polyvagal Institute.

He has also conducted research in medical education, focusing on how medical professionalism is modeled and learned. His research has won awards and has been published in Academic Medicine. His book, Polyvagal Theory and the Developing Child: Systems of Care for Strengthening Kids, Families, and Communities, will be released in November. Thompson is board certified in psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry.

Salina West is anchored by a psychiatric residential treatment facility and two qualified residential treatment programs that restore hope to children and families. Salina West provides care for children with both short- and long-term needs.