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SLU Professor Recognized By AUPHA for Excellence in Health Education

by Jacob Born
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Jacob Born
Communications Specialist

Reserved for members of the media.

Kimberly R. Enard, Ph.D., associate professor in the College for Public Health and Social Justice (CPHSJ) at Saint Louis University, made history when she was named the 2024 John D. Thompson Prize Recipient by the Association of University Programs for Health Administration for her excellence in health education and administration, becoming the first African-American and the first SLU faculty member to receive this award. AUPHA first began awarding the Thompson Prize in 1991.

Kimberly Enard, smiling, wearing a black suit with a blue shirt and glasses.

Kimberly R. Enard, Ph.D., associate professor in the College for Public Health and Social Justice (CPHSJ) at Saint Louis University, becomes the first African-American and the first SLU faculty member to receive the John D. Thompson Prize Recipient by the Association of University Programs for Health Administration. File photo

“I am honored and humbled to receive the 2024 Thompson Prize from the AUPHA,” Enard said. “When you consider the legacy of the past winners, their institutions, and the indelible body of scholarship they have amassed over decades of work – to be recognized as their peer is an incredible feeling.” 

The John D. Thompson Prize recognizes faculty based on their overall contributions to the field of health administration education, including scholarly and practice-oriented research, teaching accomplishments, and other relevant experiences and achievements in areas such as curriculum and program building; student mentoring; and leadership in the health administration education field. Enard was nominated for the award by Michael Rozier, S.J., Ph.D., who has seen first-hand how she excels in all of these areas, all while also living SLU’s mission of Cura Personalis and higher purpose, greater good. 

"Dr. Enard is widely-known in the health administration education community as a creative, kind, student-focused leader,” Rozier said. “Yet I am thrilled that even more members of our profession will learn of her excellent work. We are incredibly fortunate to have someone of her caliber as a member of our faculty and leading our Master of Health Administration program."

Enard has left her mark on the academic community since joining SLU in 2014. She is director of the Master of Health Administration and Master of Science in Health Administration programs. Her leadership within CPHSJ also includes serving as Executive Director of the Heartland Center, which is the HRSA-designated location for the National Public Health Center Training Network. Enard has also served as a university Faculty Senator, a member of the Faculty Senate Academic Affairs Committee (AAC), and the AAC representative on the university Board of Trustees AAC committee. She is currently President-Elect of the CPHSJ Faculty Assembly. 

Beyond SLU, Enard is co-chair of the National Association of Health Services Executives Research and Academic Engagement committee, a fellow of the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education, and a newly minted board member of AUPHA. 

Among Enard’s most cherished roles is engaging with promising students. She has mentored undergraduate-, graduate-, and doctoral-level students as they plan their career paths in health care or public health. Enard is proud that many of her students achieve early career success in management positions at leading health systems across the United States and as scholars with work published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at national meetings. A particular point of pride has been the opportunity to support women of color who are pursuing doctoral degrees.

“As an African-American female who came up through the academic pipeline, I understand first-hand the obstacles that women face not only in earning a doctoral degree but also launching a career in academia,” Enard said. “It helps to have someone with similar lived experiences who can be a mentor and sponsor as you navigate career decisions and work-life balance. I am extremely proud of the portfolio of scholarship my students and I have created together and I know that each of them will go on to do much bigger and better things.” 

The focal point of Enard’s research has been examining and addressing health disparities. Her research aims to improve policies and practices that impact processes and outcomes of care for safety-net and historically minoritized populations. She has authored or co-authored multiple publications and presentations that report on using patient- and community-engaged approaches to improve the health system. 

Enard considers diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging across settings to be at the heart of her work. Prior to entering academia, Enard worked in the health industry as a health systems manager and in the media as a health journalist. These experiences called her to enact change from within the system. 

“When you’re a health reporter, you often speak to people who are facing life changing, life threatening scenarios and who are scared,” Enard said. “Sometimes, it was just heartbreaking to tell them about potentially life-saving therapies that they could not access because they didn’t have the right kind of insurance or had no insurance at all. Eventually, I wanted to be in a position where I could do something about it.” 

When examining all of the work Enard has done at SLU and the impact she has made on her community both in the classroom and in the field, it was an easy decision for the committee. 

“Dr. Enard is a leader in the field of health administration. She is committed to high-quality teaching, producing meaningful research, and expanding access to healthcare management education among underrepresented students,” said Christopher Louis, Chair of the 2024 Thompson Prize Selection Committee. “She is an innovator who enjoys developing and leading programs, both in-person and online, and the totality of her work spoke volumes to the Thompson Prize committee. It was also clear to us that her skill and accomplishments are only surpassed by her passion for engaging and mentoring students. Dr. Enard represents all the qualities that the Thompson Prize stands for and we are thrilled to name her as this year’s recipient.”