Edney shares goals as new state health officer

Published 9:02 am Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Mississippi’s newest State Health Officer, Dr. Dan Edney, discussed his priorities and upcoming agenda during a press briefing on Thursday, August 4.

On May 25, 2022 Mississippi State Department of Health announced that Edney would be taking the appointed position of State Health Officer for the MSDH, effective Aug. 1, 2022.

Edney replaced former State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs, who resigned at the end of July. Prior to becoming the health officer, Edney was Deputy State Health Officer and was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta.

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“I’ve loved being a physician in Mississippi. I was born in Mississippi, grew up in the Mississippi Delta, had my education in Mississippi, medical school at The University of Mississippi,” said Edney. “It took a lot to get me away from the practice that I love and the patients that I love but this is a unique challenge, and I felt the calling to do it. Now, as I leave private practice, I’m very excited to engage in my new public practice and to look after the healthcare issues and certainly public health issues of 2.9 million patients or population of our state,” he said.

During a press briefing held on Aug. 4, Edney discussed the various issues hanging over the state. He addressed the monkeypox outbreak, which in Mississippi jumped to four confirmed cases as of last week (6,617 confirmed in the U.S.). He also addressed COVID-19, abortion and violence prevention. One of Edney’s, top priorities is to improve Mississippi’s healthcare system along with eliminating health disparities for the more than 2 million people in Mississippi. Also in Edney’s priorities, he wants to make sure every Mississippian has access to healthcare and ensure Mississippians are educated with the necessary health tools such as check-ups, screenings, and health literature.

“I’m embarrassed as a physician that my service to west Mississippi and the south Delta has not moved the needle. I am embarrassed that we continue with these numbers, and realistically, I see very little evidence of improvement,” said Edney.  “We have improved in some years that I will share, but we are pretty much where we have always been. I just don’t believe that’s where we need to stay or where we have to stay.”