Dr. Edward Simmer, MD, MPH was recently named the new director of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).
“We are grateful to the Senate for confirming Dr. Simmer to the helm of South Carolina’s public health and environmental agency during the state’s unprecedented COVID-19 response,” said Mark Elam, chairman of the S.C. Board of Health and Environmental Control. “Dr. Simmer brings with him a wealth of executive management and in-the-field medical experience through his more than 30-year naval career. His decision to continue his legacy of service with South Carolina reflects the core values of DHEC and its team of dedicated and talented employees. He is well positioned to provide the steady and able leadership needed to address the challenges of today and tomorrow.”
Dr. Simmer was selected in December by the Board to serve as the agency’s leader following a nationwide search.
“It is an honor to be called on to serve the state that I proudly call home during this unparalleled moment in the history of our state and nation,” Dr. Simmer said. “DHEC’s mission to protect and promote the health of the public and the environment on behalf of all South Carolinians is something I take very seriously. From the frontlines to our living rooms, COVID-19 has challenged us all. We have made sacrifices and lost loved ones. However, together, with agency staff and our many partners, I am confident that we will get through this and come back stronger than before. I look forward to serving alongside DHEC’s incredible team of employees and am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work.”
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Simmer most recently served as a Captain in the U.S. Navy, where he held increasing leadership positions, including as the Chief Medical Officer for the TRICARE Health Plan and Commanding Officer and CEO at the Naval Hospital in Oak Harbor, WA. He brings with him over 25 years of extensive clinical leadership and team-building experience with a strong track record of transforming large health care systems.
He received his Doctor of Medicine from Saint Louis University and holds a Master of Public Health, with a focus on epidemiology, from the Eastern Virginia Medical School/Old Dominion University Consortium as well as a bachelor of arts from Hiram College. In addition, Dr. Simmer is Board Certified in General and Forensic Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and has an Administrative Psychiatry Certification from the American Psychiatric Association.
Pictured – Dr. Edward Simmer, MD, Director of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) receives his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I’m happy to have received my second COVID-19 vaccine to finish the series and get protected,” said Dr. Simmer, DHEC Director. “Sadly, there’s a lot of vaccine misinformation out there that causes some people to be unsure about getting a vaccine. I encourage people to get vaccine facts from trusted sources like the CDC and DHEC. The vaccine is very safe and has been given to millions of people with little adverse effects. I encourage everyone to get this safe and effective vaccine as soon as they’re eligible. We’re not going to beat COVID-19 until people do that.”