“Physician of the Year’ Honors from the Child Abuse Prevention Council
A pediatrician who practices in Vacaville at the Center for Primary Care, a NorthBay Healthcare Affiliate, took home “Physician of the Year’ honors from the Child Abuse Prevention Council, a partner of the Children’s Network of Solano County.
Matthew Heeren, M.D., was one of 13 adults honored for providing quality services on behalf of abused children and their families in Solano County. Also representing NorthBay Healthcare at the April 26 awards presentation was Diane Barney, director of public relations, who received the group’s “Journalist of the Year,” honor.
Dr. Heeren was nominated by Debbie Davis, R.N., executive director of the Children’s Nurturing Project and by Christina Arrostuto, executive director of First 5 Solano.
Dr. Heeren specializes in developmental and behavioral issues with infants and children, “and is very attuned to the developmental needs of children and children with autistic spectrum disorders, as well as behavioral and mental health issues,” wrote Davis in her nomination.
She noted that Dr. Heeren has been instrumental as a partner in the inception of a countywide early childhood developmental screening effort, and is a physician champion for the Solano pediatric medical community. He works closely with the Children’s Nurturing Project staff on a 100 percent volunteer basis, and helped convince local professional groups to train provider staff in screening protocol.
He works with families to deal with autism, and recognize red flags for social emotional /behavioral issues in high-risk children.
“There is no doubt that Matt has made a positive difference in the lives of many children and their parents and has prevented abuse and neglect as well as more intesntive medical conditions as a result of his individualized interventions.”
“Dr. Matt gives selflessly of his time, expertise and energy,” wrote Arrostuto. “He regularly agrees to offer ad hoc training when needed and is always willing to act as a resource and sounding board for any issues that arise in informal and collaborative discussions among many diverse partners in the early childhood mental/developmental health community. Literally thousands of young children and their families are better off, with their developmental needs identified and met earlier and more effectively.”
Barney’s “Journalist of the Year” award came for a story she wrote about one of Dr. Heeren’s patients, Victor Wanberg, in an article in the Winter issue of Wellspring magazine titled, “The Boy Who Lived.”
The story shared how Victor entered the foster care system with many physical challenges, but with the love of his adopted parents and the support of the healthcare community, he is doing well today. In fact, he was featured on the cover of Wellspring.