Jansen Invested in Blue Cross Chair for Primary Care

By Benjamin Waldrum

The chair was established with a $1 million grant to UAMS in 2015 from Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield. It honors Mitchell — a UAMS graduate and Arkansas Blue Cross board member and retired president who led the health insurance company for nearly 20 years.

The endowment calls for the chair holder to focus on innovations to meet the Triple Aim of health system reform — better patient experience, improving the health of the population and decreasing the cost of care — through the incorporation of team-based care, health promotion, health literacy and population health strategies into primary care settings. It is a UAMS-wide chair with a chair holder to be appointed on a three-year, rotating basis.


George K. Mitchell, M.D., for whom the chair is named, thanked UAMS and Arkansas Blue Cross for “equipping me with the education I needed to prepare me for a career based on helping others.”

“I am deeply honored to receive this chair,” said Jansen, an associate professor in the College of Medicine Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. “As the inaugural chair holder, I will work diligently to honor the intent, scope and mission of this endowment while helping our institution meet the Triple Aim.”

Jansen was presented with a commemorative medallion by UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D., and UAMS College of Medicine Dean Pope L. Moseley, M.D.

An endowed chair is the highest academic honor a university can bestow on its faculty. A chair can honor the memory of a loved one or may honor a person’s accomplishments. An endowed chair is supported with donations of $1 million or more, with the chair holder using the interest proceeds for research, teaching or service activities.

Speakers at the event included Stephanie Gardner, Pharm.D., Ed.D., UAMS provost and chief academic officer; Mark White, president and CEO of Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield; Mitchell, for whom the chair is named; Anne Jansen Broadwater, Jansen’s sister; and G. Richard Smith, M.D., UAMS professor of psychiatry, internal medicine and public health.

“Dr. Jansen’s commitment to provide access to specialty care to underserved and rural areas in Arkansas and embrace the concepts of the Triple Aim made him an ideal selection to be the inaugural holder of this chair,” Gardner said. “Creating these partnerships and collaborations is a critical element to improving patient outcomes in Arkansas.”

Jansen joined UAMS in 2013, and was selected as primary care medical director for the Center for Healthcare Enhancement and Development, which explores ways for UAMS to support and work with hospitals and clinics throughout the state to provide better care for Arkansans. Jansen also serves as UAMS’ medical director of Regional Programs as well as the medical director of Physician Relations & Strategic Development.

“Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield has honored me in such a lasting and meaningful way — endowing a chair at UAMS to focus on better health care for Arkansans,” said Mitchell. “These two organizations, UAMS and Arkansas Blue Cross, have meant so much to me and my life, equipping me with the education I needed to prepare me for a career based on helping others.”

Mitchell, who graduated with honors from the UAMS College of Medicine in 1956, was president and chief executive officer of Arkansas Blue Cross from 1975 until his 1993 retirement. Prior to joining Arkansas Blue Cross as medical director in 1968, he was a co-founder and senior partner of the Little Rock Diagnostic Clinic. He served on the Arkansas Blue Cross board from 1964 to 1968 and from 1986 to the present. He also is a Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas board member.


Jansen discusses the state of primary care in rural Arkansas.

“Mark has a true instinct for healing,” Broadwater said of her brother. “He has a bedside manner that would make Marcus Welby jealous, and a gift for explaining complicated medical concerns in a way patients can understand. It’s fitting that he’s back as a teacher at UAMS.”

“You have the right man and the right doctor to hold this chair,” Smith said. “He embodies the best of primary care doctors for all our trainees, patients and their families.”

After thanking the Mitchells, his own family and those in attendance, Jansen stepped away from the podium to give an informal talk on the state of primary care in rural Arkansas.

“Imagine us all as pickup trucks: we all see ourselves as new, shiny and cruising down the road,” he said, before gesturing to a picture showing the “reality” of an older, more weathered model. “The question we must face is, how do we get someone who changes their oil every 3,000 miles to attend to their health care with that same passion?”

Jansen pledged to address the shortage of primary care providers in the more rural parts of Arkansas, using telemedicine technology to deliver specialty care to rural areas and to serve as a platform for information sharing and medical education.

Jansen is a 1981 graduate of UAMS. He completed his family practice residency with the University of Oklahoma, Tulsa Medical College in 1984. He and his wife, Cynthia, moved to their single-physician practice in Arkadelphia that same year. He later became senior partner of Arkadelphia Medical Clinic, a multi-provider group. Jansen practiced for 29 years in Arkadelphia before joining the UAMS faculty.

“Being in Arkadelphia for 29 years gave me the opportunity to understand the relationships that are both professional and personal,” Jansen said. “We have to figure out a way to share those values with those who are coming behind us.”

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report recognized UAMS Medical Center as a Best Hospital for 2021-22; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide for the third year; and named five areas as high performing — colon cancer surgery, diabetes, hip replacement, knee replacement and stroke. UAMS has 3,047 students, 873 medical residents and fellows, and six dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 11,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.