Mary Ellen Shields, M.D.
Mary Ellen Shields has been a leading child advocate in Whatcom County, Washington. She is a pediatrician who has not only practiced medicine, but has also been an outspoken activist on behalf of children. For over ten years, Dr. Shields was the only Whatcom County physician providing forensic exams for child sexual abuse victims and the sole steward of Best Practice related to medical evaluations of children who were sexually abused.
In her advocacy for the health and welfare of children, Dr. Shields meets frequently with legislators and testifies at legislative hearings. She is currently a member of the Advisory Committee for the Children's Administration within the Department of Social and Health Services in Washington State. She also serves on the Whatcom County Coalition for Child Advocacy Board, the Whatcom County Mental Health Board, and the Whatcom County Sexual Assault Team. In addition to participating on many community-planning groups, Dr. Shields is a long-term participant on the Whatcom County Child Protection Team.
In 1990, Dr. Shields convened a multidisciplinary team of professionals to address Whatcom County's system for responding to cases of child sexual abuse. The result was the incorporation of Brigid Collins, a Whatcom County child abuse treatment and prevention agency. Dr. Shields served as the organization's first board president and continued providing leadership through its start-up years. Today, the agency serves over 1,500 families annually with seven programs designed to treat victims and prevent child abuse.
Dr. Shields has also served as the pediatrician and consultant on staff at Sea Mar Community Health Center, devoting countless hours of her own time to meet the individual health care needs of diverse populations, including homeless, migrant, and other low-income families.
Today, Dr. Shields is serving as a Health Consultant for the Nooksack Tribe's Valley School District Center for Children and Families. The goal of this pilot project is to determine the benefits of having a pediatrician working in the school setting. Dr. Shields is specifically focusing on "Child Find" strategies as they relate to child health, and she is designing a health education plan that unifies various systems in order to meet the unique health care needs of teen parents and their children.
Dr. Shields' commitment to children is well known in Whatcom County. She is a strong advocate for coordinated community resources to successfully meet the health care needs of all children. She not only "talks the talk, but walks the walk" with every patient she sees. She is a doctor, case manager, advocate, and support person all wrapped into one.