Main content
International nursing honor society taps Emory University professor with top award
Media Contact
Melanie Kieve
Senior Director of Communications and Marketing
Lisa Thompson

The Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing has selected Emory University professor Lisa Thompson, PhD, MS, RN, FNP-BC, FAAN, as its Episteme Laureate Award recipient for 2023.

She will receive the award, regarded as one of nursing science's most prestigious honors, during Sigma’s 47th biennial convention in November in San Antonio, Texas, where she will also serve as a plenary speaker. Supported by the Baxter International Foundation, the award recognizes individuals and teams for highly significant research leading to nursing knowledge breakthroughs.

A professor at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Thompson is being honored for her seminal research on developing effective interventions that reduce exposures to household air pollution from cooking fires among populations with poor access to health care. She is a joint appointee in Emory’s Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health whose research and education involve the intersection of environmental health and behavior/nursing science. 

“Dr. Thompson is an outstanding scholar who has spent her career developing relationships, conducting groundbreaking research, and improving outcomes in developing countries; I’m certain many lives have been saved and improved thanks to her efforts,” said Sigma President Kenneth Dion, PhD, MSN, MBA, RN, RCSI, FAAN.

A Fellow of the American Academy of Nurses, Thompson is a member of Emory’s Network for Evaluation and Implementation Sciences. She also participates in the Emory Climate Research Initiative, which brings together faculty with diverse expertise to advance climate-related research and curricula.

Thompson received BSN, MSN, and FNP degrees from San Francisco State University and MS and PhD degrees in environmental health studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Before coming to Emory in 2017, she was on the faculty in the School of Nursing at the University of California, San Francisco. She worked for 18 years as a nurse and family nurse practitioner at La Clinica de la Raza, a community clinic in Oakland, Calif. In 2014, she began volunteering as a family nurse practitioner at the Street Level Health Project, a clinic in East Oakland providing free comprehensive medical care to primarily undocumented, uninsured patients.

“Lisa Thompson’s career has been marked by a commitment to service, whether it is in her groundbreaking scholarship, clinical experiences, educational leadership, or collaborative work,” says Linda McCauley, PhD, RN, FAAN, FRCN, dean of the Emory School of Nursing. “The result of these efforts is better, healthier lives for countless people, especially those who have lacked access to care. Sigma Theta Tau has chosen the right person to receive this prestigious honor, and we congratulate her.”

Verónica Arroyave, executive director of the Baxter International Foundation and vice president of corporate responsibility and global philanthropy at Baxter, added her congratulations. “Addressing health inequities among underserved populations is an integral focus of the Baxter International Foundation’s work,” she said. “We are honored to support Sigma in recognizing Dr. Thompson’s invaluable research and contributions to global environmental health.”

About the School of Nursing

As one of the nation's top nursing schools, the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University is committed to educating visionary nurse leaders and scholars. Home to the No. 1 master's, No. 2 BSN, and No. 6 DNP programs nationwide, the school has been recognized as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League of Nursing. The school offers undergraduate, master’s, doctoral and non-degree programs, bringing together cutting-edge resources, distinguished faculty, top clinical experiences, and access to leading health care partners to shape the future of nursing and impact the world's health and well-being. Learn more at

Recent News