Dr. Daniel Edney began as the state’s Health Officer in August. 

Following the resignation of Dr. Thomas Dobbs, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) named Dr. Daniel Edney as the new State Health Officer for the agency.  He began his new role this week.

Before joining MSDH, Dr. Edney was in private practice in Vicksburg for more than 30 years. He received his M.D. from the University of Mississippi School of Medicine with residency in the University of Virginia’s internal medicine program. Edney also has board certifications in Internal Medicine and Addiction Medicine and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians.

Dr. Edney previously served as Deputy State Health Officer and Chief Medical Officer for MSDH.

“I really must thank Dr. Thomas Dobbs for everything he has done for the state and the agency. Certainly, for me as a friend, colleague and mentor. He has trained me to do the best job I think I’m going to be able to do. I appreciate his service very much,” said Dr. Edney.

He continued by saying that it is an honor for him to serve as the state health officer, as well as a professional challenge.

Dr. Edney said he hopes to focus on Mississippi health disparages on the whole, address the opioid epidemic among teens and college students, and provide better care for mothers and babies in Mississippi.

He emphasized the “travesty” of mothers and babies dying at the highest rates in the nation in Mississippi, which include black mothers who die at a rate that is three times higher than other groups in the U.S.

“I have felt the need to be a catalyst for change,” said Edney. “Since 1991, throughout my entire practice life, Mississippi has been at the bottom of virtually every health indicator… As a physician I’m just tired of seeing it.”

Edney said he refuses to accept the premise that it is the state’s fate to be the unhealthiest in the nation, including in that is the escalating rate of deaths to opioids being seen in teens and college students.

“It’s going to be difficult, and it’s going to be all hands on deck but I think we look at other examples in our state,” said Edney.

The new State Health Officer looked at the improvements in education and the investments made at all levels to move the needle away from the bottom.

Edny says that if Mississippi can do it in education, Mississippians can do it for health as well.