MSDH appoints new State Health Officer

The Mississippi State Department of Health has a new State Health Officer.

After taking over for the retiring Dr. Mary Currier on an interim basis, Dr. Thomas E. Dobbs will now fill the role permanently. 

Dr. Dobbs is a board certified Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine physician with extensive training in public health and epidemiology. Dr. Dobbs recently joined MSDH as the Deputy State Health Officer after two years working in Laurel as a practicing physician but also as Vice President for Quality and Chief Medical Officer of South Central Regional Medical Center. 

Prior to this, 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 UMMC 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 UMMC, 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 Chair of the Mississippi State Board Health Ed D. “Tad” Barham, MD, FACR. “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.”

Dr. Dobbs knows that Mississippi has challenges, but he is ready to face those challenges head-on.

“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. “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 previously held by some of our nation’s public health leaders.”

Dr. Dobbs’ appointment came during a regularly scheduled State Board of Health meeting. Dr. Currier served in the role for 9 years before retiring in October.