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Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Funds Nursing Professorship


JONESBORO — Local and regional executives of Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield presented a grant of $250,000 to the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Arkansas State University Wednesday morning in the atrium of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Health Sciences. The contribution will create the Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Endowed Nursing Professorship in Rural Health.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our School of Nursing, especially with the ability to focus on rural health,” stated Dr. Susan Hanrahan, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions. “In fact, this will benefit the entire college with the unlimited possibilities for collaboration and interprofessional work that might occur. We are very grateful for this donation.”

Representing Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield at the check presentation ceremony were President and CEO Mark White; Board Member Ben Owens; Northeast Arkansas Regional Executive Bill Brown; Group Marketing Representative Dave Ferguson; Executive Director of Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas Patrick O'Sullivan and Regional Operations Manager Michele Legrid.

“Arkansas Blue Cross is committed to helping Arkansans have access to quality health care where and when they need it — at the hospital bedside, in the clinic setting or in the community,” said White. “And with a large percentage of Arkansans living in rural areas with special health and economic needs, we know that having skilled, knowledgeable health professionals is critical to the care of our residents. The Arkansas Blue Cross Endowed Professorship in Rural Health will be used to help secure top faculty who are forward thinkers — the kind of faculty that will educate, engage and inspire nursing and other health professions students to work toward ways to meet the needs of Arkansans through innovative care and access options.”

“One of the core commitments of our university is service to our region and state,” Chancellor Tim Hudson said. “Working with Arkansas Blue Cross to expand our ability to educate the next generations of nurses is important for our ability to address the growing need for expanded health care in Arkansas.”

Founded in 1948, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is the largest health insurer in Arkansas. Arkansas Blue Cross and its affiliates have more than 2,500 employees. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is comprised of 37 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans that collectively provide health care coverage for 100 million — nearly one in three — Americans.

The College of Nursing and Health Professions has more than 8,600 alumni and currently enrolls over 1,700 students in its various professional undergraduate and graduate majors. The college offers day, night, and weekend degree programs and delivers courses through distributed learning technologies.

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