JACKSON, Miss. – Tuesday night, State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier was honored with the 2016 Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service by the American Medical Association (AMA) at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.
The Mississippi State Medical Association (MSMA) nominated Currier late last year.
“The AMA’s Nathan Davis Award is recognized nationally as one of the most prestigious honors extended to elected officials and career government employees for outstanding endeavors that advance public health. MSMA nominated Dr. Currier to highlight her work to protect the public by requiring immunizations for school attendance. The Mississippi law is a model law that is recognized nationally as the strongest and best immunization law in America,” said MSMA President Dr. Daniel P. Edney.
Edney adds, “Dr. Currier’s leadership and dedication to this fight justly identifies her as our country’s outstanding public health official for 2016.”
Mississippi State Board of Health Chairman Dr. Lucius M. “Luke” Lampton congratulated Dr. Currier during its last quarterly board meeting. “No one in the United States is more deserving of this award than Dr. Mary Currier. She has spent the last 30 years in state service with a tireless commitment to improve the health of all Mississippians. This honor speaks not only to her exemplary leadership, but also to the impressive dedication and work of all Department of Health employees who make a positive difference each day in the lives of our citizens,”
Inaugurated in 1989, the honor bears the name of the doctor who founded the AMA in 1847. “I am extremely honored and humbled by this recognition. I believe this award really goes to all those who work together, in this state, to improve health,” said Dr. Mary Currier.”
Dr. Currier, who in January was appointed to her second term as State Health Officer, has served in numerous capacities with the state since 1984, including two terms as State Epidemiologist from 1993 to 2003 and again from 2007 to 2010.
In 2015, Dr. Currier’s stand on mandatory immunizations which only allow for medical exemptions pushed Mississippi into the national spotlight with the highest vaccination rate for kindergarten students during the 2013-2014 school year at 99.7 percent. The national average is 93.3–95 percent for the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine; the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTap); and the varicella vaccine. A senate resolution further honored the Mississippi State Department of Health.
Also during her tenure, Mississippi received a national award from the March of Dimes for successfully lowering the preterm birth rate by 11 percent since 2009, giving more babies a healthy start in life. The Virginia Apgar Award recognized states that accepted and met a challenge to lower their preterm birth rates by at least 8 percent between 2009 and 2014.
Dina Ray, Executive Director for the MS Chapter of the March of Dimes said, “Dr. Mary Currier’s leadership in Mississippi is without equal. She has made a lifelong impact on the rate of prematurity and infant mortality in our state. Where others see hurdles, Dr. Currier sees opportunity. Dr. Currier has been a valuable volunteer for the March of Dimes, and champion of our cause, as well as a tireless advocate for healthier moms and babies in Mississippi.”
A graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Medicine, Dr. Currier received her Master’s degree and preventive medicine residency training in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. Currier's Bachelor's degree is from Rice University, and she attended Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.
She is a member of the Mississippi State Medical Association, the Mississippi Public Health Association, and is the Southeast Regional Representative to the Board of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. Currier is Board certified in General Preventive Medicine and Public Health.
Only one other Mississippian has won the Dr. Nathan Davis Award. Former State Attorney General Mike Moore received the honor in 1997 for his work in achieving Mississippi’s legal settlement with national tobacco companies.
Follow MSDH by e-mail and social media at HealthyMS.com/connect.
Press Contact: MSDH Office of Communications, (601) 576-7667
Note to media: After hours or during emergencies, call 1-866-HLTHY4U (1-866-458-4948)