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Friends of Children's Hospital celebrates 25 years of giving

Friends of Children's Hospital celebrates 25 years of giving

When Dr. Owen "Bev" Evans found out he would become chairman of the pediatrics department at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, he negotiated for just three things - the department's first computer, its first printer to go with it and permission to create a Friends of Children's Hospital fundraising group.

The computer and printer are long gone. But Friends of Children's Hospital just celebrated its 25th birthday.

Sara Ray, chairman of the Friends board, said the board members who have served over the years are what made this milestone possible. As a community leader, Ray has worked with many charitable organizations.  But, she says, this board of directors is truly unique.

"We really are a working board, because we have so few employees," she said. "Friends would not have become the organization it is today without the strength of the board members. They are hands-on and involved in every aspect of the organization.  And, most importantly, the interests of the patients and families of Batson Children's Hospital are the guiding force behind their efforts and decisions."

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Dan Jones will join UMMC to help lead obesity research efforts

Dan Jones will join UMMC to help lead obesity research efforts

For over two years, Dr. John Hall has conducted a national search for the right person to lead the development of clinical obesity research programs at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

He interviewed five high-profile scientists, but the search stalled.  Then it occurred to him that the person whom he describes as "uniquely qualified" to fill the role was closer than he could have ever imagined:  University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones. 

Hall, the Arthur Guyton Professor and Chair of Physiology and Biophysics and director of the Mississippi Center for Obesity Research (MCOR), announced today that Jones will join the Medical Center faculty next fall as the MCOR's director of clinical and population sciences.  

In that role, Jones will be asked to tackle Mississippi's most pernicious and consequential health problem, one that costs the state an estimated $1 billion in annual direct health-care expense.  And yet the science of obesity is still poorly understood, and the means of preventing it or safely treating it have proven largely ineffective. 

An internal medicine physician by training and a tenured professor at UMMC, Jones is currently on leave from his position as UM chancellor and will officially end his tenure after six years at the helm when his contract expires Sept. 14.  He will join UMMC on Sept. 15, Hall said.

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Front and Center: Dean "Miranda" James

Dr. Dean James distinctly remembers what he said the day his editor called. He may have set a record for consecutive OMGs - an understandable reaction from a writer who has just made it to the best-seller list of The New York Times. 

That was five years ago, and it was only the beginning for the associate professor of academic information services, whose daytime job is in the Rowland Medical Library, and whose after-hours pen name is Miranda James, creator of the mystery series, "A Cat in the Stacks." 

James, whose Ph.D. from Rice University is in medieval history and who speaks four languages - five, counting "feline" - also speaks to a large number of readers who wallow in the adventures of widowed librarian Charlie Harris and his Maine coon cat, Diesel. 

"Miranda seems to have struck a chord, especially the cat," said James, a Grenada native who worked in Houston, Texas, for 33 years before joining UMMC seven months ago. 

Cats are intimate with a genre that boasts Rita Mae Brown, famous for such works as "The Litter of the Law." 

Unlike Brown's cat, Mrs. Murphy, Diesel is more of a companion than a gumshoe throughout his owner's exploits in amateur sleuthery, beginning with the first, "Murder Past Due" (Berkley Prime Crime). 

"Diesel is sensitive to people's moods, though," said James, whose real-life companions are a female calico named Pippa, and Toby, a gray-and-white "big galoot of a cat." 

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Front and Center: Dean

Invited speakers, faculty exchange highlight week's events

Invited speakers, faculty exchange highlight week's events

Several presentations by leading scientists and experts and a faculty scholarship exchange top the agenda for the upcoming week at the Medical Center.  

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