JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi’s newest State Health Officer discussed his priorities and upcoming agenda during a news conference on Thursday, August 4.

Dr. Dan Edney discussed various issues including COVID-19, monkeypox, abortion and violence prevention. Edney, who was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, shared that one of his top priorities is to improve the state’s healthcare system and to eliminate health disparities for the more than 2 million people in Mississippi.

“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 these numbers, and realistically, I see very little evidence of improvement. 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,” said Edney.

Edney replaced for State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs, who resigned from his position at the end of July.

He initially joined the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) as chief medical officer and regional health officer for the Central Public Health Region in February 2021.

Watch the full news conference below: