Past President – Tanya Funchess

Tanya Funchess photoTanya T. Funchess DHA, MPH, MSM is Assistant Professor of Public Health in the College of Nursing and School of Health Professions, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS

Dr. Funchess is serving as Immediate Past-President for MPHA for 2024, as well as the Chair of the Health and Racial Equity Committee. Funchess has been an assistant professor with USM since 2018 and has been affiliated with MPHA for more than 15 years and active with the organization for five. She also served in various leadership roles at the Mississippi State Department of Health for 17 years.

Born and raised in Magee, MS, Dr. Funchess graduated from Magee High School and earned her associate degree in general business from Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson, Miss., before enrolling at USM. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from USM in 1986, a master’s degree in management from Belhaven University in 2003, a master’s degree in public health from USM in 2005 and a doctorate in health administration from the University of Phoenix, Ariz., in 2012.

After graduating from USM in 1986, Funchess worked as a retail manager for a company called Shoe City in Georgia and Virginia before later returning to Magee. After 13 years with the company, she decided to branch out of retail and took a position with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, where a fellow employee informed her of an open position at the Mississippi State Department of Health as branch director of the Tobacco Nurse Program. There, she oversaw 52 registered nurses in 52 school districts across Mississippi who were responsible for teaching tobacco education in their school districts. In addition to her work with USM and MDHA, Funchess has also served as director of MSDH’s Chronic Disease Bureau, which oversees Mississippi’s diabetes, heart and cancer programs. She also served as assistant director for the Office of Tobacco and as director for the Office of Health Disparity Elimination. Funchess
Funchess and her husband, Chaucer Funchess, have been married for 23 years and have a 16-year-old son named Chanse Funchess.