Dr. James E. Keeton served as UMMC’s vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine from July 2009 to February 2015. He retired in January 2017 and holds emeritus status in these roles and as professor of surgery and pediatrics.
During his tenure, Keeton oversaw planning of and secured funding for a new, state-of-the-art School of Medicine building on the UMMC campus that is allowing UMMC to expand its medical class to train more doctors for Mississippi.
Keeton was also instrumental in planning the construction of the $25 million University Heart Center, the $68 million Translational Research Center and a $23 million public-private project to create housing close to campus for students and faculty. On the immediate horizon is a major expansion of the Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital that will significantly advance pediatric health care in the state of Mississippi.
He shepherded UMMC through a $90 million, multi-year effort to implement an enterprise electronic health record that culminated in conversion from paper to computer records in a single day in June 2012.
Also under Keeton’s watch, UMMC’s liver transplant program was re-established after a 22-year hiatus, and Medical Center surgeons performed Mississippi’s first pancreas transplant.
He was named the 2014 Distinguished Medical Alumnus by his peers. The award is given to an alum who made distinctive contributions to the field of medicine.
The Columbus native is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and certified by the American Board of Urology. He and his wife, Jona (MSN 90), live in Jackson and are the proud parents of two children and grandparents to seven grandchildren.