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Former MS State Health Officer named...

Former MS State Health Officer named endowed Chair for the Study of Health Disparities at UMMC

By: Sarah Ulmer - January 26, 2024

(Photo credit: UMMC)

Former Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs has been named the Chair for the Study of Health Disparities at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC).

Dobbs was the State Health Officer during the COVID-19 pandemic. He frequently appeared alongside Governor Tate Reeves and other state officials as they navigated Mississippi through the uncertainty of the time.

Dr. Dobbs also served as the Dean of the John D. Bower School of Population Health at UMMC.

His new position was created in 2005 by the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation under Dr. Aaron Shirley who served as the Board Chair. The endowment has now reached $1.77 million.

During a ceremony on Thursday, Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs, presented Dobbs with a medal that represents his new role as endowed Chair for the Study of Health Disparities.

“When you think about health care in Mississippi, it really does not matter how you slice and dice facts and figures,” said Woodward at the ceremony. “At the end of the day, one of the common denominators that is a challenge for us is the issue of health disparities. I think there is no better person in this state to carry this medal and to have this chair.”

The endowment will enable SOPH to better address health-related social needs and increase engagement in projects that are critically important to the Jackson community but not currently funded through grant programs.

Dobbs, an Alabama native, completed his undergraduate degree in applied physics at Emory University. He went on to attend medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and finished his Internal Medicine residency at UAB as well as an Infections Diseases Fellowship at Wake Forest and UAB.

He relocated to Mississippi in 2001 with his wife, Dr. Kimberly Dobbs, who is a pulmonary and critical care physician also at UMMC.

About the Author(s)
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Sarah Ulmer

Sarah is a Mississippi native, born and raised in Madison. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she studied Communications, with an emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism. Sarah’s experience spans multiple mediums, including extensive videography with both at home and overseas, broadcasting daily news, and hosting a live radio show. In 2017, Sarah became a member of the Capitol Press Corp in Mississippi and has faithfully covered the decisions being made by leaders on some of the most important issues facing our state. Email Sarah: