In his years as a resident at Mass General for Children (MGfC), Shaun Fitzgerald, MD, MPH, never forgot the close-knit feeling he had on campus, whether it was caring for patients and families or interacting with colleagues in the Pediatric Residency Program. It’s what beckoned him back to the East Coast to serve as a pediatric hospitalist in Inpatient Services and the directory of the Pediatric Residency Program at MGfC after several years at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif.

Since coming back to MGfC in September 2021, Fitzgerald’s focus has been on incorporating mental health into pediatric primary care training and building systems and structures that ensure more racially just and equitable care for patients and their families.

“Shaun values an antiracist culture where everyone is valued and their voices are heard,” said Ariel Frey-Vogel, MD, MAT, associate program director of the Pediatric Residency Program and director of Child and Adolescent Services at the MGH Transgender Health Program at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). “He understands the culture of the hospital, of MGfC and of the Residency Program and has outside experience that brings new ideas and new ways of thinking.”

The last two years has brought to the forefront the importance of preparedness for pandemics. Through his work in the Pediatric Antibiotic Stewardship Program at Kaiser Permanente, Fitzgerald developed an appreciation for the real threat to public health, and specifically children’s health, that multi-drug-resistant bacteria pose. The program, led by Fitzgerald, helped form a curriculum for residents on responsible use of antibiotics, which resulted in a substantial decrease in unnecessary antibiotic use among hospitalized children. One of his goals at MGfC is to bring a similar curriculum to the hospital and empower residents to stem the tide of growing antibiotic resistant bacteria.

To many, Fitzgerald embodies compassion, dedication and empathy – qualities that he also shares with Shannon Scott-Vernaglia, MD, who served as director of the Pediatric Residency Program before Fitzgerald.

“Shaun and I worked together as residents, and he shares the same core qualities of how to relate to people and has strong interpersonal skills,” said Dan Hall, MD, chief of Pediatrics and a pediatric primary care provider at MGH Revere HealthCare Center and an associate director of the Pediatric Residency Program at MGfC. “Those are qualities you inherit from Shannon when you work under her wing.”

Fitzgerald earned his medical degree from UMass Chan Medical School and a master’s in Public Health from the University of California at Berkley. He most recently served as a pediatric hospitalist, assistant residency program director and assistant department chief at Kaiser Permanente.