The Mississippi State Department of Health announced that interim State Health Officer and former state epidemiologist Thomas E. Dobbs, MD, MPH, has been appointed Mississippi’s new State Health Officer.
Former State Health Officer Mary Currier retired Oct. 31 after almost nine years as State Health Officer. Dobbs’ appointment came during a regularly scheduled State Board of Health meeting.
“I am grateful for this opportunity to help address the health needs facing all Mississippians. Although we have many challenges, we have great people, institutions and resources in our state to meet those challenges,” said Dobbs, who spent the last two years at South Central Regional Medical Center in Laurel. “The Mississippi State Department of Health has a long, proud history as a potent force of change and as an innovator. I am humbled to step into a role previous held by some of our nation’s public health leaders.”
Dr. Dobbs is a board-certified infectious diseases and internal medicine physician with extensive training in public health and epidemiology. He recently joined MSDH as the Deputy State Health Officer after two years working in Laurel as a practicing physician and as Vice President for Quality and Chief Medical Officer of SCRMC. Prior to that, he served four years as a District Health Officer in southern Mississippi and then four years as the state epidemiologist with MSDH.
Dr. Dobbs is a graduate of Emory University and received his medical degree and his master’s degree in public health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has been active in public health research and advocacy, working globally through the Gorgas Tuberculosis Initiative in Russia and Cambodia, and in the U.S. through appointments at University Medical Center and the University of Florida (as regional clinical consultant with the Southeastern Regional TB Center). He has an appointment at the John D. Bower School of Population Health at UMC, teaching epidemiology and health policy.
“The Mississippi State Department of Health is privileged to have someone of Dr. Dobbs’ experience and caliber to lead our health department as we continue to face challenges and changes,” said D. “Tad” Barham, chairman of the Mississippi State Board of Health. “Dobbs’ knowledge of infectious diseases, his work both in the field and in the administrative arm and his community involvement will all be a great asset to the department.”