Portrait of Jenny Herron
Jenny C. Herron, director of physician and community relations at UMMC Grenada stands before the hospital's main entrance.
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People of the U: Jenny Herron

Published on Wednesday, January 22, 2020

By: Cynthia Wall

Helping provide care for her family and friends is one force that drives Jenny Herron, director of physician and community relations at UMMC Grenada.

At Grenada she works to provide the community with information about services, especially new ones, the hospital offers, and the physicians who provide them.

“I grew up in Batesville and went to high school there and later to Northwest Mississippi Community College,” she said. “It really drives home personally when you watch your community hospital struggle and you see your friends and neighbors not have access to the same services they could get in Jackson.”

Since the University of Mississippi Medical Center and Grenada Lakes Medical Center joined forces in 2014, services have consistently expanded. Her role is to help prepare for the new service, help new physicians become acclimated and let the community know what’s available.

“It makes me work harder to expand services,” she said of telling her community about new programs. “I know they’re choosing quality health care when they choose UMMC Grenada. It makes me work harder to try to make these doctors happy in this location, so they’re there for my family, my friends and my community.”

Lately, her efforts have focused on making area residents aware of new cancer and urology services available at Grenada. Specialists from UMMC have clinics each week, enabling area residents to get much of their care, including many chemotherapies, at Grenada instead of driving to Jackson.

At Grenada, she’s considered a jack of all trades. For example, Herron was involved in the planning process that brought cancer services to Grenada.

As tasks appear, Grenada administrators may turn to her for help, whether with on-boarding new physicians, or figuring out where to have a ribbon cutting.

“I firmly believe her job description reads, ‘Everything as needed,’” said Debra Beavers, UMMC Grenada manager of quality assurance and performance improvement. “If a new initiative, process or program is considered she is frequently the first person thought of to help lay the ground work.”

“I mean, ‘Give it to Jenny. She’ll eat anything,’” Beavers said referencing an old, popular cereal commercial.

Scott Whittemore, UMMC Grenada said Herron’s work helps address needs UMMC Grenada can fill in the community.

“She has been instrumental in organizing activities and events that make sure the community of Grenada is aware of all of the positive strides UMMC is making to bring a higher level of healthcare to this area of the state,” he said.

Outside work, Herron lives on a farm “with chickens and sheep and dogs and cats” as well as her husband and daughter. A son is in Memphis. 

A favored pastime is listening to audio books on her way to and from work. Favorites? If it’s written she may read it. “Fiction, non-fiction, whatever,” she said.

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