Dr. Hays graduated cum laude with an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Mississippi in Oxford. He then earned his medical degree from the University of Mississippi School of Medicine. During his medical school years, he also completed clerkships at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Harvard Medical School, and the Mayo Medical School. After finishing his internal medicine residency at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, Dr. Hays completed his cardiology fellowship at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He is board certified in cardiology and interventional cardiology.

He is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, and the Society of Coronary Angiography and Interventions. He is also a member of the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology and the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography. He serves as a delegate to the American Medical Association, secretary to the Mississippi State Medical Association, and past president of the Central Medical Society. He is a past award receipt of the Dr. James Waites leadership award.

Dr. Hays currently serves as the Chairman of the Governor's Task Force on Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, the Governor's Appointee to the Mississippi Tobacco Control Advisory Council, and the Lt. Governor's Appointee to the board of directors of the Healthcare Trust Fund. He is a past recipient of the Pat Yarbrough Outstanding Individual Volunteer award from the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership and immediate past chair of the Greater Jackson Chamber.

A member of First Baptist Church Jackson, he is a deacon and Sunday school teacher. He is a past board member of Mission First, a nonprofit inner-city mission, health, and legal clinic. He is an advocate for child exercise and obesity prevention and serves on the board of "You Gotta Move!", a nonprofit organization which created an exercise DVD for public school youth. He also currently serves on the board of Jackson Preparatory School.

He and his wife, Elizabeth, have two sons.

J. Clay Hays, Jr. , M.D.

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