Linda Sagor, M.D., M.P.H.
Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Division Director of General Pediatrics, UMass Medical School
Dr. Linda Sagor, a compassionate pediatrician and ardent advocate for children, is one of central Massachusetts' leading physicians. She is committed to the care and welfare of children on multiple levels, from promoting school breakfast programs to teaching medical students about the importance of primary care. Dr. Sagor founded and directs FaCES, the Foster Children Evaluation Services Clinic, providing health assessments to facilitate excellent medical care for these vulnerable children.
Many foster children in Massachusetts are moved around from one temporary address to another, which often results in spotty health care and lost medical records. Several years ago, Massachusetts did an audit and found an alarming statistic: only 11 percent of kids in foster care were getting health care screenings. In response, Dr. Sagor, together along with Worcester Juvenile Court Judge Luis G. Perez and other concerned parties in the Worcester community, started FaCES.
With the Department of Pediatrics, the Central Region of the Department of Social Services, and the Office of Community Programs, FaCES provides foster children up to age 12 with a repository to house their medical records as well as a clinic to provide evaluations and screenings that promote consistent and streamlined health care. A key benefit of FaCES is that all information, including previous medical information and immunization records, is kept at the clinic, and a copy is sent to the child's primary care physician, who will monitor the child's health while in foster care.
"Given all the social upheaval in their life, it seems like it's our responsibility to take care of their medical needs," Dr. Sagor said.
FaCES assists foster families in other ways, such as helping foster parents deal with emotional issues, making recommendations for holidays and birthdays, and even communicating about topics such as humor and self-care.
Currently the FaCES program sees about 500 kids per year. It is expanding in Worcester and farther south with the goal of becoming a statewide program. Dr. Sagor assists the program administratively and also serves on the National Task Force on Foster Care of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Sagor feels it is a privilege to work with these children. "Children in foster care are especially touching and vulnerable," she said. "We are well aware that there is so much more to do, so we're going to keep doing it."
In addition to her devotion to children in the state's foster care system, Dr. Sagor has worked as a medical consultant for the Worcester Public School Nutrition Program promoting the Breakfast Demonstration Project, which she has called "truly a lifeline for poor families."
Dr. Sagor has been at UMass for 20 years. She is Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Division Director of General Pediatrics at UMass Medical School. She earned her M.D. and M.P.H. at Michigan State University.