JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs is resigning at the end of July. He spoke about the work he’s done since starting his position in 2018 and his decision to resign.

Dobbs said his decision to resign was hard to make, stating that even though the last few years were more difficult, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) has been a great place to work. He values his experience highly.

He explained that he knew there would eventually come a time to leave. He knew he wanted to go back to working as a doctor. He believes now is a good time for new leadership within the agency.

Dobbs wasn’t expecting to have to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, but he said the agency was able to catch up quickly. He said the agency struggled with a health equity response at the start of the pandemic. However, the focus now is working on pandemic planning and health equity.

“I think in moments of frustration, I might have said a couple of things that got some people stirred up. In hindsight, there’s not a lot you can do. I would have tried harder if I could, but I just don’t know if that was possible,” said Dobbs.

He spoke about another epidemic that’s plaguing Mississippi, as well. Dobbs said HIV prevention needs to be invested in. Mississippi is number one in chlamydia and gonorrhea, which he said is “really bad.” As for syphilis, Mississippi is tied with Nevada for number one. The state is also growing in congenital syphilis.

He said there’s a lot of work to be done in those areas. He hopes he’ll have the opportunity to focus on those issues in his new role, whatever it may be.