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New education fund honors founding chair of UMass Chan’s dermatology department

Fund aims to promote more equitable access to the specialty 

Dr. Maloney, McLean and Goldberg
From left, Mary Maloney, MD, founding chair of the dermatology department at UMass Chan, Riley McLean, MD, assistant professor of dermatology, and Dori Goldberg, MD, director of procedural dermatology and fellowship assistant professor of dermatology.

As a pioneering surgeon, tireless patient advocate and deeply dedicated teacher and mentor, Mary Maloney, MD, founding chair of the dermatology department at UMass Chan Medical School, has inspired a generation of dermatologists and made a profound impact on the field. Now, an endowed fund established in Dr. Maloney’s name will help to advance dermatology training for medical students beyond UMass Chan who might otherwise have limited educational opportunities in the specialty.

Arriving at UMass Chan as professor of medicine in 1999, Dr. Maloney is credited with fighting tirelessly for dermatology at the Medical School, eventually guiding the specialty from division to department. On the clinical side, she is widely recognized as a leading expert in Mohs surgery, considered the gold standard for treating high risk skin cancers. A prominent advocate for skin cancer prevention, she has notably spoken out on the alarming research linking indoor tanning beds to melanoma. Dermatologists fortunate enough to train under Dr. Maloney credit much of their clinical expertise, capacity for compassionate care and overall success as physicians directly back to her ongoing influence.  

As one of her final acts before stepping down as department chair in 2020, Dr. Maloney established a diversity and inclusion committee in dermatology to actively promote equity and inclusion both within the department and the wider field. Dermatology persists as one of the least diverse specialties in the field of medicine, second only to orthopedics. According to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), in 2020, 65 of the 796 applicants for dermatology residencies were Black or African American, and only 39 were Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish origin.

When Dr. Maloney recently left the Medical School and relocated to Vermont, where she continues to practice dermatology, department faculty members fundraised to establish an endowed fund in her name. Given her advocacy for diversity and inclusion, the Mary E. Maloney, MD, Education Fund will support students from other medical schools with limited access to dermatology education and mentoring and/or limited financial resources. The initial plan is to offer financial support to students as they rotate at the UMass Chan Department of Dermatology through the Diversity for Health Care, Innovation and Medicine Summer Learning Opportunity.

“As a department, we wanted to attach Mary’s name to something of high value that would exist in perpetuity. Mary has always been a champion of diversity, so establishing a fund to support students with limited access to dermatology education seemed like the perfect way to honor her legacy,” said Riley McLean, MD, assistant professor of dermatology.

The Maloney Fund will bolster the efforts of the Diversity for Health Care, Innovation and Medicine program, which launched in 2022. Through this initiative, visiting students are immersed in hands-on clinical rotations across multiple departments, including dermatology. Zion Eberhart, a student at the Morehouse School of Medicine who is interested in dermatology, helped set the program into motion. While attending monthly information sessions run by UMass Chan dermatology faculty, she asked if they might be able to expand the program.

All three students from the inaugural program who rotated in dermatology are still interested in pursuing the specialty and continue to receive mentorship from UMass Chan faculty. The plan is that going forward, future “Maloney Scholars” will receive support from the fund as they explore dermatology as a possible specialty—a fitting tribute to a passionate medical educator.