There aren’t many duos in Arkansas more dynamic in their community than Drs. Jerrilyn and Chris Jones.
Jerrilyn — M.D., MPH — is an associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences as well as the medical director for the Office of Preparedness and Emergency Response Systems at the Arkansas Department of Health. Chris — Ph.D. — is the former director of the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub and a Democratic candidate for governor. He is considered the frontrunner to challenge the expected GOP banner carrier, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, in the November general election.
Jerrilyn, a native of Montgomery, Ala., was named to Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s Winter Task Force related to COVID and serves on the health department’s Pandemic Physicians Group. She is a former flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force who served in Afghanistan with the 75th Fighter Squadron during Operation Enduring Freedom. Her experience also includes being a first responder in the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the civil unrest in Baltimore in 2015.
A Harvard medical school graduate, she was named Arkansas First Lady Susan Hutchinson’s Woman of the Year in Public Service. Most recently, Jerrilyn was named director of the inaugural UAMS Post-Baccalaureate Program, created to increase the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds admitted to the College of Medicine.
Meanwhile, Chris, a Pine Bluff native, sports his own impressive credentials. The son of two preachers, he attended Morehouse College on a NASA Scholarship for physics and math. There, Chris obtained a bachelor’s degrees in physics and mathematics. He went on to receive two master’s degrees, in nuclear engineering and technology and policy, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he later earned a Ph.D. in urban studies and planning.
After becoming an ordained minister, he returned home to Arkansas and led the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub as the executive director and lead maker. He is a former principal at BCT Partners, served as executive director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative in Boston and as an assistant dean for graduate education at MIT.
She is a for-mer flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force who served in Afghanistan.