Published on September 29, 2021

NMHS CEO Announces Chief Strategy, Health Equity and Inclusion Officer

Dr. Ormella CummingsTupelo, Mississippi – Ormella Cummings, Ph.D., is now serving as the Chief Strategy, Health Equity and Inclusion Officer for North Mississippi Health Services.

“Dr. Ormella Cummings’ job title has been amended to reflect NMHS’ enhanced focus on health equity and inclusion.  In addition to supporting our strategic planning efforts, Dr. Cummings has led our system’s effort to better integrate learnings from assessments of community health needs into our strategic plans,” said NMHS President and Chief Executive Officer Shane Spees. “Addressing community health needs directly relates to our mission ‘to continuously improve the health of the people of our region.’” 

Spees added, “As we know from experience and research, health needs throughout the communities we serve are more dependent on factors other than access to and delivery of health care.  Fortunately, many health conditions can be avoided or reversed if all determinants of health are addressed.  Access to and delivery of clinical care determines 20% of an individual’s health, whereas, social and economic factors as well as our physical environment, such as nutrition, housing, transportation, physical activity, education and income level, make up the other 80% that determines an individual’s health.  Our COVID-19 experience has shown that health disparities, mostly driven by social/economic factors and physical environment, are a reality and very likely determine whether an individual will become severely ill or possibly die from a clinical event such as COVID-19.  We must address these determinants of health if we are to remain true to our mission.”

Dr. Cummings will lead NMHS efforts in partnership with various community organizations to “close the gaps” created by these health disparities.  “We recognize that our health system cannot provide everything to everyone, but we can lead and organize communitywide efforts to improve ALL determinants of health, not just our clinical care,” Spees said. “Why us?  Our mission “to continuously improve the health of the people of our region” depends on it!”

Dr. Cummings joined NMHS in 2004. She has a Ph.D. in educational and counseling psychology from the University of Mississippi. Her certifications include designations as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and as a Certified Professional Coach through the International Coach Federation and Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching.

To learn more about the NMHS health improvement goals, plans and community partners, visit

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