The Deborah Gold, MD Champion Award is given annually to a physician volunteer who goes above and beyond in service to MAVEN Project and the safety net clinic providers we serve. We are honored to posthumously present the 2023 Champion Award to William Mackey, MD (1950-2023).
Dr. William Mackey shared his expertise to help save limbs, assist frontline providers
For nearly four years, Dr. William Mackey generously shared his wealth of experience with providers at community clinics all over the country as a MAVEN Project volunteer. After a lauded 37-year career as a vascular surgeon, his insights were invaluable to frontline providers.
“Dr. Mackey always responded right away when I needed a consult,” shared Samantha Kumpf, physician assistant at Saban Community Clinic in Los Angeles. “He provided both long, detailed instructions on the next steps in care, as well as back-up plans that considered unique patient situations and access to resources. He was incomparably helpful and prompt.”
Before retiring and joining MAVEN Project, Dr. Mackey served as Surgeon-in-Chief at Tufts Medical Center and Andrews Professor and Chair, Department of Surgery at the Tufts University School of Medicine. Triple board certified in general surgery, vascular surgery and surgical critical care; Dr. Mackey’s expertise is impossible to quantify. Through his e-consults with MAVEN Project, he has literally saved limbs.
“Working exclusively with unhoused patients, I consulted with Dr. Mackey frequently to address chronic ulcers and lower extremity infections,” noted Negeen Farmand, physician assistant at Saban Community Clinic. “One of my first cases was also my worst; a chronically homeless individual with open wounds, elephantiasis and other complicating factors. I hardly knew where to start. But Dr. Mackey walked me through step-by-step and after months of collaboration, I knew how to care for the wounds and the patient made a remarkable recovery. And it wasn’t the only time he helped me save a limb.”
Among many other distinctions, Dr. Mackey served on the editorial board of the Journal of Vascular Surgery for ten years. He is a past president of the New England Society for Vascular Surgery and of the Boston Surgical Society, all while authoring or co-authoring more than 100 published papers, book chapters or editorial commentaries.
His patient, humble nature made him a valued educator. A Professor of Surgery at Tufts University School of Medicine, over the course of his career he also served as a visiting professor at several sites in the U.S. as well as in the U.K., Greece, Israel and China. And his skills in preparing the next generation of medical professionals didn’t go unnoticed. Dr. Mackey was the 2014 recipient of the Dean’s Outstanding Mentor Award, the 2018 Distinguished Career in Teaching Award, the 2018 Distinguished Faculty Award, and the 2019 Zucker Prize for outstanding accomplishments in clinical teaching from the Tufts University School of Medicine.
“Dr. Mackey showed compassion to everyone he interacted with,” Kumpf added. “He gave great care instruction and always wanted to know how the patient was progressing. I learned so much from him, and I’m able to share much of what he taught me with other providers to help inform future care.”
It’s no surprise then, that Dr. Mackey immediately connected with MAVEN Project’s mission. His passion and dedication to the work was unsurpassed. In 2022 alone, he did more than 70 consults with and led two medical webinars for primary care providers working in safety net clinics across the country.
“It was Dr. Mackey who brought me to MAVEN Project,” said Paul Skudder, M.D., fellow vascular surgery volunteer. “When I was a medical student, Dr. Mackey was a resident. Dr. Mackey treated everyone, staff, students and especially patients, with compassion and respect. His passion for serving patients and helping other medical professionals was inspiring.”
Nationally recognized for his skills as a surgeon, he was known for putting his patients first. But it was his family where he found the greatest success. He loved spending time with his wife, children and two young grandchildren. In the free time that remained, he enjoyed skiing, hiking, traveling and watching the Red Sox.
“So much of the confidence I have in providing care today is thanks to the generosity of Dr. Mackey,” added Farmand. “He was an expert at what he did, and he always made himself available when I needed him. He was always open to video consults, and he had a knack for connecting with the patient, even over video. He was always so considerate. Patients loved him. He provided so much peace of mind for both providers and patients. Dr. Mackey really was a miracle worker.”
Here’s some of what providers have had to say about his work with MAVEN Project:
- “Fantastic consult! I feel some hope now of getting to the bottom of this patient’s problem!”
- “I absolutely see this as one of my favorite MAVENS- Precise and to the point. Thank you.”
- “Loved this topic, very well presented! One of the best presentations and so helpful for primary care.”
- “I would love for this to be a recurrent presentation, once a year!”
- “Experience of clinician appreciated, and practical, useable information.”
- “Great session, probably my favorite one yet. Very informative and relatable to our practice.”
- “I appreciated Dr. Mackey’s organized breakdown of the differential and management of each wound/ulcer type – it made it easy to follow along. It was especially helpful seeing the photo examples and hearing about exam features you observed.”
- “Please bring back Dr. Mackey for other topics. He’s amazing!”