Song wins John D. Thompson Prize for Young Investigators

June 5, 2020

Dr. Paula Song

Dr. Paula Song

Paula Song, PhD, associate professor and director of the residential master’s program in health policy and management at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been named the recipient of the John D. Thompson Prize for Young Investigators for 2020 by the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA).

The John D. Thompson Prize for Young Investigators was established to honor John D. Thompson, a professor of health administration education, who set teaching, commitment to learning, collegial relationships and health services research standards which are without peer. The Prize recognizes junior and mid-career faculty based on their overall contributions to the field of health administration education. This includes scholarly and practice-oriented research, teaching accomplishments and other relevant experiences, as well as achievements in areas such as curriculum and program building, student mentoring and leadership in the health administration education field.

Dr. Song, who has been with the Gillings School since 2014, has demonstrated an immense impact on the field of health administration education through her research, teaching and leadership. She teaches several health care accounting and finance courses for the Master of Healthcare Administration program, as well as for practitioners and clinical managers in major health care systems in North Carolina. Among her research, she has published four textbooks on health care finance with co-authors George Pink, PhD, and Kristin Reiter, PhD – the fourth of which will be available next month.

In addition, her work with national health administration education organizations – including AUPHA, the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) and the National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL) – have helped to advance the quality of education in the Department of Health Policy and Management and provide opportunities for students to advance their experiences and skills in the health care field.

Her efforts have been instrumental in helping the department achieve a #3 ranking among health care management programs according to U.S. News & World Report, as well as honors like the CAHME/Canon Award for Sustainability in Healthcare Management Education and Practice. She also led efforts that resulted in the Department of Health Policy and Management being among the first in the country to achieve membership in the CAHME Mentorship Circle – one of only 14 selected nationwide.

“Dr. Song has demonstrated a large impact on health administration education, excellence in health services research, superior teaching of health management and policy, and leadership in curriculum and program building, student mentoring and professional service,” said Pink in his nomination letter. “She has been a productive scholar and helped to obtain and complete a large amount of funding for research. She has made significant contributions to the health care financial management and health services research literature. She has been an educational leader at both the national and local levels. I can think of no better recipient of the 2020 Thompson Prize.”

Song will be formally recognized at an awards presentation during the AUPHA Virtual Annual Meeting on July 17.

Contact the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at

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