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Incoming Mississippi state health officer looks to close health equity gap

Dan Edney
Dr. Dan Edney (L) will be replacing Dr. Thomas Dobbs (R) as Mississippi's state health officer on August 1

A new era at the Mississippi State Department of Health will begin on August 1 when Dr. Dan Edney officially steps in as state health officer.

Edney, who was named as Dr. Thomas Dobbs’ successor in late May, explained Tuesday morning that his goal as state health officer is to rid Mississippi of the title of “America’s unhealthiest state” while closing the state’s massive health equity gap.

“Unfortunately, when you look at the health of our state, we are still impacted significantly by health disparities,” Edney explained to Paul Gallo of The Gallo Show. “We’re not only 50th. We fall off the cliff to 50th.”

Per a recent study from the Commonwealth Fund, Mississippi demonstrates “relatively poor performance” for all racial and ethnic groups — especially minority groups — in terms of health outcomes, health care access, as well as quality and use of healthcare services.

“I’ve been in private practice for 31 years before coming to the health department. You can imagine that it took a lot for me to make that decision to make this change and accept this job,” Edney explained. “And the reason I did it is, as a physician, I am embarrassed and ashamed at those health disparity reports.”

He added, “I am bound and determined that we will not be 50th forever. By the end of my administration, we will be better than we are today.”

The entire interview with Edney can be watched below.

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