“Reverence for life” were words Dr. Arthur Maimon lived by. They were also the words emblazoned in bronze on the façade of Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Haiti, where Maimon periodically spent two months at a time over the course of 30 years.
He would temporarily close his private practice in Rockford, Illinois, venture to the island nation, and serve the patients of a hospital founded by Larry Mellon and his wife Gwen, named for Albert Schweitzer, both of whom were inspirations to Maimon, two among many who shaped the doctor and the man Maimon had become.
Both his interest in medicine and his own personal respect for the nursing profession were borne out of his teenage years, when he lived with his aunt and uncle — a nurse and a physician. The young Maimon watched as they ran a clinic out of their home, nurse and doctor together, to care for the local populations of Flint and Flushing, Michigan.
Maimon attended medical school, but was soon deployed by the Air Force to serve in the Korean War. Upon his return in 1952, he conducted research on infectious disease at Warren Air Force Base following Floyd Denny, MD, who would later become a physician at UNC.
After Maimon was discharged, he established his private practice in Rockford, where he— much like his aunt and uncle— served the local community. He ran the practice for more than 30 years, and it was during this time that Maimon began making his frequent trips to Haiti to practice medicine alongside Dr. Mellon and visiting American physicians.
Upon his retirement in the late 1980s, Maimon came to Chapel Hill.. He was invited frequently to rounds out of the courtesy, friendship, and professional camaraderie that he had established among friends and colleagues alike.
Maimon also continued his trips to Haiti in his retirement, this time bringing young physicians with him to encourage their career development and teach clinical medicine by example.
Chapel Hill is also where Maimon met his future wife, Betty Faucette, BSN ’98, who completed her nursing degree at the UNC School of Nursing.
Thus, it was out of a combined love and respect for his wife and the countless nurses who had worked alongside the doctor throughout his career that Maimon decided to establish the Arthur C. Maimon Trust at the School of Nursing.
“In his practice, which was patient-centered care, he relied heavily upon his nursing staff,” said Faucette. “They were the key to his practice, and the key to the quality of care his patients received.”
The fund will provide aid to doctoral candidates who are conducting research relating to the fields of neurological nursing or stroke diagnosis and care.
One recipient will be chosen each year, with hope that the funding will help lay the foundation for a long career in nursing research and clinical care.
“My hope would be that some of percentage of the award’s recipients will join nursing faculties or serve in leadership roles in nursing,” she said. “He strongly believed in the collaborative relationship between physicians and nurses.” As doctoral students will continuously benefit from the characteristic demonstration of generosity that defined Maimon, today Faucette, along with the School of Nursing, will continue to revere the man, his life, and his career.
For more information about Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti, please visit www.hashaiti.org.