Mark Jansen, M.D., vice president and chief medical officer for Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, has been recognized as a Community Star by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), and appears on their website, powerofrural.org, National Rural Health Day, November 19, and in their 2020 book.
National Rural Health Day is celebrated on the third Thursday of November. Its purpose is to shine a light on those serving the vital health needs of an estimated 57 million people living in rural America. NOSORH is the member association serving all 50 State Offices of Rural Health (SORH). SORHs provide support to rural hospitals, clinics, and other rural stakeholders in several ways, including technical assistance, funding that supports workforce development, population health management, quality improvement initiatives, and more.
The article on Dr. Jansen reads, in part:
There are excellent reasons why Dr. Mark Jansen received two nominations as this year’s Community Star. For Mellie Bridewell, chief executive officer of the Arkansas Rural Health Partnership, it’s his leadership. Thanks to his vision and generosity, Arkansas convened its first rural health summit, which spurred collaboration between all organizations focusing on rural health in the state. The gathering led to the formation of Arkansas’ first state-wide inclusive rural health organization. Bridewell shared, “His ability to quietly lead conversation to action is admirable.”
According to Naomi Sweeney, State Office of Rural Health Coordinator with the Arkansas Department of Health, and nominator number two, “Dr. Jansen is a true public servant at heart. He works tirelessly to create an atmosphere in rural Arkansas where rural citizens have access to equitable healthcare, regardless of their ZIP code.”
As COVID-19 has shown, innovation in rural primary care delivery has never been more urgent. For Dr. Jansen, although the early weeks of the pandemic were all-consuming as he helped providers navigate telehealth’s uncharted waters, he believes there is a silver lining. “The pandemic has exposed the urgent need to address social determinants of health and behavioral health in a primary care setting,” he said. Dr. Jansen embodies the Power of Rural. He has brought renewed hope that the state will now put more effort into building access to care for residents and patients in rural Arkansas.
Rural health doctor from the beginning
Dr. Jansen started his medical career as a family doctor in Arkadelphia. After 30 years, he moved to Little Rock and accepted an associate professor position with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). There he taught primary care medical residents. After six years as an educator and being named 2015 Teacher of the Year, Dr. Jansen became the inaugural recipient of the Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, George K. Mitchell, MD, Endowed Chair in Primary Care. The chair was established to advance primary care innovations. He joined Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield in 2019.