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Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield recently granted $1 million to a University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences program in honor of Dr. Mahlon O. Maris (center).

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield recently granted $1 million to a University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences program in honor of Dr. Mahlon O. Maris for his nearly 50 years of quality health care.

The grant was awarded to the UAMS Institute for Digital Health & Innovation, which is designed to eliminate health care disparities in Arkansas and abroad through digital health and healthcare innovations which embrace technology that improves the access to and the quality of clinical care, education, and research.

Previously known as the Center for Distance Health, the new institute will utilize technologies in UAMS’ clinical, educational and research missions, with the aim of improving health and well-being.

Maris, a long-time member of the Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Board of Directors, earned his undergraduate degree from Hendrix University, his medical degree from UAMS and served his internship at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi.

During the Vietnam War, he served as the commanding officer of a surgical team at a hospital in Vinh Long, Republic of South Vietnam. He received a Bronze Star for Meritorious Service and a Bronze Star for Valor, as well as the Vietnamese National Health Medal.

Maris served as a family physician in Harrison for 40 years. He also established satellite clinics in Jasper and Lead Hill, both considered medically underserved communities.

Now retired, Maris continues to serve as a medicolegal consultant and nursing home medical director.

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