Carriere man gets state recognition

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, December 30, 2015

PRESTIGIOUS HONOR: David Simmons poses with his award, along with his peers. Submitted photo.

PRESTIGIOUS HONOR: David Simmons poses with his award, along with his peers. Submitted photo.

Carriere resident David Simmons, nutritionist supervisor for the Mississippi State Department of Health, received the Vonda A. Webb Nutritionist of the Year award in October.

A registered dietician, Simmons was nominated for the award by his peers. Each year, the Mississippi Public Health Association gives the award to an outstanding nutritionist in Mississippi.

“It’s an honor and I hope that I continue to live up to what my peers wrote about me. It’s been a humbling experience,” Simmons said.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

This isn’t Simmons first time receiving the award. He won the award in 1994.

Simmons career with the state’s health department spans 20 years.

He worked as a nutritionist from 1987 until 1996. After taking an eight-year hiatus, Simmons returned in 2004 and currently serves as the nutritionist supervisor for the department’s Women, Infants and Children nutritional program.

Born in New Orleans, Simmons moved to Picayune when he was about 4, after his father was hired to teach at a local school.

He went on to receive a B.S. in clinical dietetics from the University of Southern Mississippi and then received a master’s degree in institution administration.

Simmons currently helps oversee the department’s WIC program. The program offers supplemental food to pregnant, breastfeeding and post-partum women, infants and children under the age of 5.

“We’re trying to help people live longer and increase whole wheat products, less fat and curtail diabetes and high blood pressure,” Simmons said. “In the WIC program, mothers that come in often have low iron, which causes problems with babies, and we want to make sure they stay healthy, so we give them an education on nutrition and a food package.”

Besides keeping members of the community healthy, Simmons has been a pastor at the Rose of Sharon Church of God in Christ in Picayune for the past 25 years.

Simmons said he owes much of his success to his wife, Frances, their two daughters and two granddaughters.