Coastal Plains region gets new health officer

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Monday, the Mississippi State Department of Health named Christy Sones Thornton, MD the District Health Officer for the Coastal Plains Public Health District.
According to a MSDH release, that district includes Pearl River, George, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson and Stone counties.
Thornton is also the district health officer for the Southeast Public Health District VII, which includes Convington, Forrest, Greene, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lamar, Marion, Perry and Wayne counties, the release states.
Every district has a health officer, MSDH Director of Communications Liz Sharlot said. They answer to the state health officer, which is the highest medical office in the Mississippi.
“The DHO is the chief clinician of the assigned county and supervises the physicians and nurse practitioners who work within the Department of Health,” Sharlot said. “They also serve as the hearing officers for regulations and direct disease investigations for their public health district.”
Sharlot also said the DHO reports information and investigation results to a county’s board of supervisors and the Office of Epidemiology.
Thornton is a Jackson native and has been with the MSDH since 2014. She received her associate of arts degree from Hinds Community College, bachelor of science from the University of Southern Mississippi and her medical doctorate from the University of South Alabama, the release states.
According to the release, Hornton completed her residency in internal medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina and began practicing at Methodist Healthcare, Internal Medicine Associates in Jackson. She also spent four years with the University of Southern Mississippi’s Student Health Services practicing adolescent and adult medical care and women’s health. Later, she also practiced medicine with the Southeast Mississippi Rural Healthcare Centers in Hattiesburg and Brooklyn.
“As a physician, I have been privileged to practice in settings where I can make a real difference in the lives of my patients,” Thornton said in the release. “I am fortunate to be able to continue this effort with the Mississippi State Department of Health and in our local communities.”
Thornton is also an active member of several civic organizations including, the Mississippi State Medical Association, the University of Southern Mississippi Athletic Foundation Board of Directors and the Greater Pinebelt Community Foundation Board of Directors, the release states.
“Dr. Thornton is an internal medicine physician with extensive experience in women’s health, student health, primary care, HIV care and the treatment of sexually transmitted infections,” MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs said in the release. “We are excited to put her skills and experience to work for Mississippi’s public health.”

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