First Friday Forum Takes a Look Back at the History of Health and Medicine in Jackson & Madison County

JACKSON, Tenn. – The Bicentennial Edition of First Friday Forum will continue downtown at First Methodist Church on Friday, January 7.

The bicentennial programming and event theme for January is health and medicine. James E. Ross, the President and Chief Executive Officer of West Tennessee Healthcare, will speak on the past, present and future of health and medicine in Jackson and Madison County.

First Friday will be held at First Methodist Church located at 200 South Church Street in downtown Jackson on Friday, November 5. Doors will open at 11:30 a.m., lunch will be served starting at 11:45 a.m., and programming will start at approximately 12:15 p.m.

As this is a catered event, advance tickets are required for attendance. The cut-off for purchase is 6 p.m. the Tuesday prior to the event. Tickets will not be sold at the door. Tickets are $12 per person and can be purchased using a debit or credit card at

Tickets can also be purchased by cash or check at the First Methodist business office during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday-Thursday or 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Fridays).

First Friday is sponsored by Simmons Bank.

About James E. Ross

James (JR) Ross is the President and Chief Executive Officer of West Tennessee Healthcare since May 2017. Throughout his 36 year career with the health system, he has held various positions including, Emergency Medical Technician, Surgical Intensive Care Registered Nurse, Critical Care Coordinator, Cardiac Services Manager, Director of CCU, Administrator of the West Tennessee Surgery Center, Executive Director of Physician Services, Director of Case Management/Social Services as well as Vice President of Hospital Services. In 2009, he was named Chief Operating Officer for Jackson-Madison County General Hospital, and, in April 2016, the Board of Trustees named him the acting President and Chief Executive Officer for the organization and full authority in 2017.


A native of Henderson, Tennessee, JR has been active with numerous community and civic organizations. He serves on the Executive Board of the West Tennessee Council for Boy Scouts of America, Jackson Airport Authority, and Chairman of Jackson Chamber Board of Directors. He has formerly served as a member of the Union University Foundation Board and University Board of Directors, and, in 2015, he served as the NAACP’s 2015 Freedom Fund Honorary Co-Chair. He is a member of One Jackson Action Committee, Leadership Jackson Alumni Association, Tennessee Hospital Association Diversity Council, 100 Black Men of West Tennessee, Madison County Board of Health, and WestStar Alumni Association. In 2014, Governor Bill Haslam appointed JR to the Emergency Medical Services Board of Directors for the State of TN of which he continues to serve.


Additionally, JR is active with many professional organizations including, the Tennessee Hospital Association where he serves as Past Chair of the THA Board of Directors, Tennessee Organization of Nurse Executives (TONE), American Nurses Association (ANA), American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), a Delegate to Regional Policy Board 4 of the American Hospital Association and Trustee for Englewood Baptist Church. In 2016, he was recognized as Humanitarian of the Year by the American Red Cross.


JR and his wife Cindy attend Englewood Baptist Church and have two children, Ashley and Kelsey, and two grandchildren, Weston and Maddie Kate.