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Physicians, businessman join Methodist Rehab Board of Trustees

Published on May 22, 2023

Dan Jones, M.D.

Marion Wofford, M.D.

Ben Walton

Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson recently named Dr. Dan Jones, Dr. Marion R. Wofford and businessman Ben Walton to its Board of Trustees.

Dan Jones, M.D. served as the 16th chancellor of the University of Mississippi from 2009-2015. Before serving as chancellor, he served the university as vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the University of Mississippi School of Medicine. He has a long association with the university, first as a medical student beginning in 1971, a resident in internal medicine, then as a School of Medicine faculty member beginning in 1992.

His time in leadership of the University of Mississippi Medical Center was marked by rapid growth in the health system, budget and enrollments in the five schools on that campus. Under his leadership as chancellor, UM undertook a major initiative to promote diversity and experienced a major construction boom, including new academic, residential and athletics facilities. During his tenure as chancellor, enrollment surged more than 26 percent and private giving to the university hit record highs, topping $100 million for four consecutive years including a record $138 million dollars in fiscal 2015. One of Jones' passions is volunteer service, and he led UM faculty, staff and students to contribute thousands of hours to causes across the Oxford community, the state and around the world.

A native Mississippian, Jones graduated from Mississippi College in 1971. After earning his medical degree and completing his residency in internal medicine at UMMC in 1978, he had a private medical practice in Laurel. Then, he and his family moved to South Korea in 1985, where he served as a medical missionary for seven years to fulfill a passion for health care service to underserved populations. Following his work in South Korea, while serving the University of Mississippi in various capacities for more than 25 years, he has served as a medical education consultant to medical schools in North Korea.

His research activities have focused on prevention of cardiovascular disease and racial and economic disparities in health outcomes. He was the first principle investigator for the landmark Jackson Heart Study, a National Institutes of Health sponsored population study focused on identifying causes of disparate rates of heart disease in African Americans.

Active in the American Heart Association, Jones was the 2007-2008 national president and for years has served as a national spokesperson on high blood pressure. He also represented the AHA on national guideline writing groups for high blood pressure and high cholesterol and for heart and stroke prevention including JNC 7, JNC 8, and the 2017 ACC/AHA Blood Pressure Management Guidelines and the 2018 ACC/AHA Guideline on Lipid Management.

A master of the American College of Physicians, he is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and is designated as a specialist in clinical hypertension by the American Society of Hypertension Specialists. Jones was named one of the "Best Doctors in America" from 1996 to 2008 and is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha National Honor Medical Society.

Active in church and community organizations, his work in racial reconciliation, including service as chair of the board for the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, has been recognized with the Mississippi Center for Justice 2015 Champions of Justice Award and as one of two honorees at the 2016 Jackson Friendship Ball. He is married to the former Lydia Channell of Jackson and has two children and six grandchildren.

Marion Wofford, M.D. is a professor of medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the daughter of Dr. Jesse Wofford, one of MRC’s founders. She has served over 20 years on the board of the Wilson Research Foundation, the fund-raising arm of MRC, and is currently that board’s vice chairwoman.

Following her 1978 graduation from Millsaps College, Dr. Wofford spent 10 years teaching Jackson Preparatory high school students and leading them on summer wilderness expeditions.

She then earned her medical degree from UMMC and a master’s degree from the Harvard School of Public Health. She joined the UMMC Department of Medicine faculty in 1997.

A practicing clinician and educator, Dr. Wofford works with medical students and Internal Medicine residents in the Department of Medicine. Her research interests are the areas of obesity hypertension and lifestyle interventions to improve blood pressure control.

Dr. Wofford is a Fellow of the American Heart Association, the American College of Physicians and the American Society of Hypertension. She is married to Robert Hester, PhD, also a member of the faculty at UMMC.

Ben Walton is a founder and principal with Solidus Capital Solutions-MS, LLC and NT Capital Solutions, LLC, both focusing on growth businesses in Mississippi. He was a founding partner and president and CEO of the Mississippi Angel Fund, L.P. which invested in a number of Mississippi companies and has extensive experience with the management and growth of private equity, venture capital and real estate investment trusts.

He is a founder of AutoZone, Inc. and was an officer of AutoZone and Malone & Hyde, Inc. during their successful privatization via a management buyout with KKR & Co. and the later sale of Malone & Hyde to focus on AutoZone's growth.

He then was senior vice president of the Eastover Group of Companies during their restructuring to become EastGroup Properties, Inc. and Parkway Properties, Inc. Walton later was chief financial officer of a family office with partnerships he co-originated. These included outside investors, with investments in private equity, venture capital and distressed investments in the United States and Europe. Direct investments in the office included the startup of Diversified Trust Company in Memphis. He is an organizer of First Commercial Bank in Jackson and a board member and chairman of the Investment and Finance Committee of the Methodist Foundation of Mississippi.

Walton received a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University, summa cum laude, and a master of business administration from Harvard Business School.