St. Louis City mayor hopes newly appointed health director will increase vaccination rates

Missouri

ST. LOUIS – Though vaccination awareness has increased, the St. Louis region is seeing stagnant numbers when it comes to vaccination rates. St. Louis City Mayor Tishaura Jones is hoping a new leader with a fresh perspective will help push the city over the hump and transition into a new normal.

Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis was appointed as the new director of the Department of Health for the city of St. Louis.

Davis has an impressive background and extensive experience in both medicine and public health, especially as an infectious disease physician. In her new role, she wants to address COVID-19 and the overall health of residents moving forward. 

Jones opened a press conference by saying, “As the St. Louis region continues to struggle to increase our vaccination numbers and reduce the spread of covid-19, I am so proud to announce Dr. Mati Hlatschayo Davis as the new director of health for the city of St. Louis.”

Davis and her husband have made St. Louis their home for more than 20 years. She received her medical degree from Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine and a master’s degree in public health at Case Western Reserve University.

Davis also completed her infectious disease fellowship at the Washington University School of Medicine, a dedicated non-ACGME HIV fellowship, and a two-year dedicated sexually transmitted infections fellowship. 

During the press conference, Davis addressed vaccine confidence and access in marginalized communities. She will work hand-in-hand with Dr. Fredrick Echols, who will continue his role as the city’s health commissioner to increase mobile vaccination capacity, improving quality of life for all, increasing life expectancy in our most vulnerable, and bridge medical gaps. 

“Together, we will map a path forward that centers the health of everyone with equity, addresses gun violence, prioritizes mental health, and give St. Louis the foundation to provide all our communities the opportunity to achieve the very best quality of health,” Davis said.

Davis shared she will soon embark on a national listening tour where she will meet with other directors of health in major cities across the U.S. to learn from their expertise and see what’s being done.

She said she wants to honor the work of professionals who have gotten us this far and use her experience and fresh perspective to push our region forward. 

Davis said one of her main goals right now is to regain the trust of the community and give them confidence knowing they are receiving the most up-to-date, accurate, and science-backed information as possible. 

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