Dr. Matt Hirschfeld Receives Ray Helfer Award
In early December, Alaska Children’s Trust awarded Dr. Matt Hirschfeld with the prestigious Ray Helfer Award. Established by the National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds and the American Academy of Pediatrics, this award is given to a pediatrician who demonstrates a significant contribution to the well-being and health of children.
“It is with great honor to see one of our own local champions, Dr. Matt Hirschfeld, receive this award,” said Trevor Storrs, Executive Director of Alaska Children’s Trust. “Dr. Hirschfeld is more than your standard pediatrician. He is an advocate, care provider, convener, leader, catalyst, mentor, and uncle.”
Dr. Hirschfeld is a second-generation pediatrician. He moved to Alaska in 2005, when he began working for the Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC). His time as a Medical Director of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the Director of Pediatric Hospital Medicine led to his partnering with Southcentral Foundation (SCF) and ANMC to build the first child development assessment unit in Alaska. In addition to his clinical work, he is a faculty member at both the University of Alaska and the University of Washington.
Dr. Hirschfeld serves as an example of SCF’s whole-person wellness approach to medicine and uniquely considers the relationship between child and parent when working with customer-owners. His approach in the exam room has extended to the public arena through his work to create the first Alaskan Ronald McDonald House, which provides housing for expectant mothers from remote Alaskan villages.
An additional significant contribution that Dr. Hirschfeld has made to children’s health in Alaska is his work addressing adverse childhood experiences, as Alaska has the highest rate of child abuse and neglect in the country. Dr. Hirschfeld also partners with both the Alaska Resilience Initiative and the Help Me Grow program to further address and stop childhood abuse and neglect.
Dr. Hirschfeld not only teaches these principles, he exemplifies them through his service as a board member at the Rasmuson Foundation, the All Alaska Pediatric Partnership, and the Council of International Neonatal Nurses, Dr. Hirschfeld dedicates his personal time to furthering the education and prevention of childhood abuses.
A lifetime spent devoted to children, with no end in sight for his mission, Dr. Hirschfeld not only exemplifies the criteria for the award but is noted as following the path the award’s namesake, Dr. Ray Helfer.
Southcentral Foundation is honored to have Dr. Hirschfeld as a part of the medical team, and congratulates him on this award.