MSPHI Board of Directors

The Mississippi Public Health Institute board of directors reflect the organizations focus on health and health care issues facing Mississippians.

ClaudeBrunsonClaude D. Brunson, MD, Chairman: Dr. Claude Brunson is the Senior Advisor to the Vice Chancellor for External Affairs and Professor of Anesthesiology at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine.  He is a native of Auburn, AL where he attended the Auburn public school system and graduated from Auburn High School. Dr. Brunson received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, AL in 1983 after a four-year stint with the U.S. Navy as a Hospital Corpsman and Field Medicine Technician with the Fleet Marine Force.   He completed his medical degree at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Birmingham, AL in 1987.  He completed an internship in Internal Medicine at Baptist Medical Centers in Birmingham, AL in 1988 and a residency in Anesthesiology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.  He joined the faculty in the School of Medicine in 1991.

Dr. Brunson has been honored as the Chief Resident of his residency training program, recognition as Teacher of the Year on two occasions in the Department of Anesthesiology, and he serves on multiple committees at the Medical Center.  He is active in his specialty and served as President of the Mississippi Society of Anesthesiologists in 1998.  He now serves the Society as its State Director and is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. He has received regional and national recognition as one of “The Best Doctors in America” for multiple successive years.  He also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Mississippi State Medical Association where he chaired its Council on Legislation for six years, on its Board of Trustees for 5 years, serving as its Chairman of the Board of Trustees in 2012-2013 before becoming the organization’s President-Elect in 2013.  He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Mississippi Medical and Surgical Association (MMSA), the organization of the state’s African American physicians.  He received MMSA’s Physician of the Year Award in 2007 and 2013 and was elected to the office of President Elect in 2008 and it’s President for 2009 – 2011.  Dr. Brunson serves nationally as a consultant member of the Food and Drug Administration’s Advisory Committee on the Anesthesia and Respiratory Therapy Devices panel.  He is a member of the Health Insurance Exchange Advisory Board for the Mississippi Insurance Department and Chair of the Health Insurance Exchange Advisory Board Sub-committee representing Large Employers. Dr. Brunson serves on two Gubernatorial appointed boards:  the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure (MSBML) and the Emergency Medical Services Committee. He is the appointed physician member to the Mississippi Board of Nursing.

Dr. Brunson assumed the role as President of the Mississippi State Medical Association in August of 2014 when he became the Association’s first African American President.



Geraldine Chaney, MD, FAAP for Mississippi Public Health InstituteGeraldine Chaney, MD, FAAP: Dr. Geraldine Chaney is a pediatrician in the Jackson metropolitan area where she has practiced for over 30 years. She is owner of Capital City Children and Adolescent, PLLC and is a board certified pediatrician and Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She has served as Chief of Pediatrics for Central Mississippi Medical Center and St. Dominic Hospital. Other duties include serving as assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics for the University of Mississippi Medical Center, past member of the Mississippi State Board of Health and a four year appointment to the National Advisory Council of the National Health Service Corporation. Her awards include Physician of the Year, Distinguished Service to the Field of Medicine Award, and Director’s Award from the National Health Service Corps and Best Doctors of America Award for years 2002 through 2010.




Jean Brewer Grantham, MSN, RN, WHNP-BC for Mississippi Public Health InstituteJean Brewer Grantham, MSN, RN,WHNP-BC: Ms. Grantham is currently an Instructor in Nursing for Robert E Smith School of Nursing at Delta State University. Prior to this position she was employed by the Mississippi State Department of Health as Chief Nurse of Delta Hills Public Health District III covering a nine county area. She has over 34 years of experience as a public health nurse and is board certified as a Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner. She is an active member of the Mississippi Public Health Association (MPHA) and has served in many capacities including President of the Association for 2012. She received her Master’s of Science in Nursing from the University of Southern Mississippi where she was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau International; The Honorary Society of Nursing. Ms Grantham is a graduate of the South Central Public Health Leadership Institute (SCPHLI), Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.



John Sewell John Sewell, Board Secretary: John Sewell is Director of Communications and Marketing for Millsaps College.  A Jackson native and longtime resident, Sewell graduated from Millsaps in 1988 with a B.A. in history.

For the past ten years, Sewell directed corporate communications at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi. Sewell has been active in the Jackson community, serving on the boards of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, the American Red Cross, and the Fondren Renaissance Foundation.  Upon graduating from the College, Sewell worked in government posts in Washington, D.C. and at the state level. Later in his career, Sewell served as director of development and president of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, and remains passionate about the arts. He and his wife, Kim, live in Jackson with their three children.


marthaMarsha Thompson: Marsha Thompson is a veteran award-winning 6 p.m. news anchor and reporter at WLBT who is passionate about her work.

Marsha is a 2008 winner of the Director’s Community Leadership Award which since 1990 has celebrated those who have made significant contributions to public wellbeing and security.  Marsha was presented the award by FBI Director Robert Mueller, III in Washington.  She received the award for her work on the weekly series called, MOST WANTED.

Her latest assignment is tackling your problems as WLBT’s “3 On Your Side” Chief Investigative Reporter.

Marsha was married to the late Ed Thompson, MD, State Health Officer for the Mississippi State Department of Health. It was part of Dr. Thompson’s vision to start a public health institute in Mississippi.

IMG0155-ltVanessa Green: Vanessa Green is the Assistant Director of Finance and Operations for the Mississippi Center for Nonprofits located in Jackson, MS. The state’s only nonprofit management center. She has been employed with the Center for 14 years and has an exemplary record of leadership, workshop training and providing assistance to nonprofits. In her current capacity she oversees the Center’s financials, membership and office operations. She also assists with planning and implementing the Center training schedule. Vanessa has staffed and supervised volunteers for the Center office and annual conference for 10 years. She is also charged with assisting in the planning and organizing of the Center’s Annual State-Wide Conference as well as planning countless statewide mini-conferences, workshops and seminars.

Vanessa is a Mississippi native, a graduate of Murrah High School, Hinds Community College and most recently Holmes Community College, where she received an associate’s degree in accounting technology. Her previous employers include Allstate Insurance Company (13 years) and University Medical Center (5 years). After completing her accounting studies, Vanessa began leading QuickBooks training classes for MS Center and assisting hundreds of nonprofits state-wide with financial management issues.

In addition to her work career Vanessa has volunteered extensively holding such positions as Youth Director, Women’s Ministry Leader and Head Treasurer within her church and serving as Secretary and Treasurer for Women on the Move Social and Civic Club.

Vanessa has been married for over 30 years to Army SMG Earnest Green. They have three beautiful children and three wonderful granddaughters.


Theresa (Tessie) Smith: Tessie Smith has 30 years of experience in the public mental health field through her work at the Mississippi Department of Mental Health.  Prior to her retirement in 2012, she held positions first as a speech-language pathologist and Director of the Education Department at North Mississippi Regional Center in Oxford, then as Director of the Division of Planning and Public Information in the Bureau of Administration, and as Director of Planning in the Bureau of Community Services at the state office in Jackson.  Her primary work involved support for the Mississippi State Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council as part of development and review of the state’s plan and related reports for the federal community mental health block program. She also managed or assisted in special projects, policy and report development, with focus on projects involving communication and collaboration with multiple internal agency divisions or with external governmental and community organizations. During her tenure at the agency, she completed the State Executive Development Institute at the John C. Stennis Institute of Government and the Certified Public Manager Program through the Mississippi State Personnel Board.

Ms. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communicative Disorders, a Master of Science in Speech Pathology, and a Master of Education in Educational Administration and Supervision from the University of Mississippi, as well as a license in Speech-Language Pathology (Mississippi State Board of Health) and the Certificate of Clinical Competence, Speech-Language Pathology (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association).

She is currently enrolled in the doctoral program in Clinical Health Sciences (Systems Track) at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. 

She enjoys living in Jackson with Patrick, her husband of over 30 years.


Board Access


The next Board meeting will be on Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 11:30 am at the MSPHI office.