JACKSON, Miss. – State Health Officer Dr. Ed Thompson has been named the 2009 State Health Officer of the Year by the National Association of Local Boards of Health (NALBOH). The award is given annually in recognition of outstanding contributions of time and energy in supporting state and local public health issues. Thompson was nominated by the Mississippi State Board of Health for his leadership.
Dr. Luke Lampton, Board chairman, has called Dr. Thompson a “medical statesman.”
“No state health officer in the country deserves this award more than Ed Thompson. He has made significant contributions not only to improving the health of Mississippians, but also the health of all Americans,” said Dr. Lampton. “The entire Board joins me in expressing our pleasure that Dr. Thompson has received this distinctive national honor, and they also join me in thanking him for his exemplary leadership of our department.”
Thompson has been State Health Officer since 2007, having previously served in that position from 1993 to 2002. During that time, the Mississippi State Department of Health achieved the highest immunization rates in the country, lowered TB case rates below the national average for the first time in 30 years, and pushed the state’s syphilis rate below the national average for the first time since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began keeping records.
Lampton also praised Thompson for his most recent accomplishments. “Since his return in 2007, he has spearheaded construction for the new Public Health Lab, restored field staff and nurses to pre-2002 levels, and reconstituted the Epidemiology and Field Services divisions as strong units.”
Under his leadership MSDH also received accolades for the agency’s response to swine flu and Hurricane Gustav. The agency has also renewed efforts to decrease TB rates and infant mortality rates in Mississippi, including innovative pilot programs MIME (Metropolitan Infant Mortality Elimination) and DIME (Delta Infant Mortality Elimination) designed to reduce the state’s infant mortality numbers.
Thompson has also served with distinction at the CDC in Atlanta and as Chair of Preventive Medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
The presentation of the award was made during the organization’s annual conference in Philadelphia, PA.
NALBOH represents the grassroots foundation of public health in America, and is dedicated to preparing and strengthening boards of health, empowering them to promote and protect the health of their communities through education, training and technical assistance.