New Board of Health names interim health officer

Published 3:39 pm Tuesday, July 3, 2007

It will be Dr. Ed Thompson’s job to restore confidence in the Department of Health after he was named interim state health officer Monday.

The reconstituted Board of Health unanimously chose Thompson to lead the agency after state lawmakers got rid of former health officer Dr. Brian Amy, whose term expired Saturday.

Thompson was previously state health officer from 1993 to 2002 before taking a job with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He currently works for the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Health Department has been criticized in recent years under Amy for its handling of disease outbreaks, communications with the public and restaurant inspections, among other problems.

Along with replacing Amy, the legislature also replaced the board. The new board held its first meeting Monday.

Five of the 11 members on the new board served on the old one. Dr. Luke Lampton, of Magnolia, was elected board chairman Monday, and Dr. Alfred McNair, of Ocean Springs, was selected as vice chairman.

“I’m impressed this board is committed to making the tough decisions it needs to make to bring the department back to the top in public health,” Lampton said.

State Sen. Alan Nunnelee, R-Tupelo, who called several Senate hearings on the department, praised the new board.

“The governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general have made excellent appointments,” he said. “One of the issues I think was a root cause of problems was potential conflicts of interest. Now we don’t have that issue.”

Under a new law, board members are barred from discussing matters in which they have financial interests.

Members of the new board are Lampton; McNair; Elayne Hayes-Anthony, Madison; Dr. Geraldine Chaney, Jackson; Randy Hendrix, Ovett; Dr. Ed Hill, Tupelo; Carl Nicholson Jr., Hattiesburg; Sammie Ruth Rea, Brandon; Ronnie Robertson, Greenwood; Dr. Kelly Segars, Iuka; and Ellen Williams, Senatobia.