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$500,000 from Aflac to jumpstart MCOR staffing
J. Dave Butler, left, Mississippi Aflac sales coordinator, Sarah Nelson, community volunteer, and Dr. James Keeton, vice chancellor for health affairs, quack up during the presentation of a $500,000 donation by the insurance company to the Mississippi Center for Obesity Research.

The supplemental insurance company Aflac is supporting the work of the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Mississippi Center for Obesity Research through a $500,000 gift.

Mississippi Aflac sales coordinator J. Dave Butler presented the gift to Dr. James Keeton, vice chancellor for health affairs. It will support Dr. John E. Hall, MCOR director, in building a team of basic, clinical and population scientists specializing in obesity, diabetes and related research.
Aflac representatives even presented Keeton with a second gift: a necktie patterned with the company’s signature duck.

“We owe a major debt of gratitude to our friends at Aflac for this generous commitment,” Keeton said. “It’s clear Aflac’s executives understand the disease burden and the economic toll that obesity is having – and will continue to have – on Mississippi and our nation.

“It is through the support of partners like Aflac that we’ll be successful in our goal of addressing the obesity crisis.”

Founded at UMMC in 2010, the Mississippi Center for Obesity Research, or MCOR, seeks to unravel the complex web of hows and whys surrounding obesity and its connections to other diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and hypertension.

Deeper understanding of the mechanisms behind appetite, metabolism, weight gain and maintenance could lead to better treatments and ways to prevent obesity. A multidisciplinary team can translate laboratory results into clinical uses that improve the health of patients, or take clinical observations and population-study findings into research labs for more detailed analysis.

To learn more about the Mississippi Center for Obesity Research, visit To consider a gift to help MCOR, contact Susan Hollandsworth, (601) 815-7469 or

Jack Mazurak 


Online gifts for the 2024 calendar year should be made no later than noon on December 31, 2024.  Checks by mail will need to be postmarked by December 31 to be counted in the 2024 calendar year.