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Heather Forkey named Joy McCann Professor for Women in Medicine

UMass Medical School Communications

August 01, 2017
  Heather C. Forkey, MD

Heather C. Forkey, MD

Heather C. Forkey, MD, associate professor of pediatrics, director of the Foster Children Evaluation Service (FaCES), and chief of the Division of Child Protection for the UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center, has been named the next Joy McCann Professor for Women in Medicine, according to an announcement by Chancellor Michael F. Collins and Dean Terence R. Flotte.

“Dr. Forkey is an outstanding academic pediatrician and an inspiring leader and role model for junior faculty, fellows, residents and students in the Department of Pediatrics,” Chancellor Collins said. “Through her many career achievements and mentoring abilities, Dr. Forkey embodies all of the values that the Joy McCann Professorship wishes to be reflected in its recipients.”

Established at UMass Medical School in 2005 by an endowment from the Joy McCann Foundation, the three-year professorship identifies and rewards female faculty leadership in medical education, research, patient care and community service.

“Dr. Forkey is nationally recognized for her expertise in the health care of children in foster care, child trauma and child abuse,” said Dr. Flotte, the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor of Medical Education, executive deputy chancellor and provost and dean of the School of Medicine. “A creative and energetic leader, community partner and advocate, she works tirelessly to provide valuable guidance, education and support to the medical, education, law enforcement, juvenile justice and mental health community agencies in the region, across the state, and at the national level through the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.” 

In addition to her clinical work with child trauma survivors and children in foster care, Forkey is independently funded to research broader health and social issues of children in foster care and to address the physical and mental health needs of children who have been traumatized. She is an authority on recommendations for caring for children exposed to trauma, and is engaged in national educational initiatives and policy development with state and national partners.

Forkey has identified an area for her Joy McCann project that aligns with a growing concern within health care delivery: physician burnout, especially the issue of secondary traumatic stress for caregivers. The Joy McCann Professorship will allow her to develop an intervention to promote resilience and mitigate factors leading to burnout and secondary traumatic stress. 

Forkey’s appointment as the Joy McCann Professor will be celebrated in September during the Convocation and Investiture ceremonies .

Previous recipients of the professorship are Linda F. Weinreb, MD, professor of family medicine & community health and pediatrics (2005-2008); Patricia Franklin, MD, MBA, MPH, professor of orthopedics & physical rehabilitation (2008-2011); Julia Andrieni, MD, associate professor of medicine (2011-2014); and Tiffany Moore Simas, MD, MPH, MEd, associate professor of obstetrics & gynecology, pediatrics and psychiatry, director of the research division, and associate director of the residency program in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology (2014-2017).