UMass Medical School has created the Warren J. Ferguson Scholarship to honor its namesake’s contributions to the field of criminal justice health. The scholarship was announced March 16 at the Academic & Health Policy Conference on Correctional Health, which Dr. Ferguson co-founded 10 years ago.
“He has been the engine behind this opportunity for bringing together thought leaders and innovators in this field to share ideas and knowledge,” Commonwealth Medicine Executive Vice Chancellor Joyce A. Murphy said of Ferguson. “His vision and passion led to the establishment of the Academic Consortium on Criminal Justice Health (ACCJH) – which aims to further advance the science and practice of health care for those within the criminal justice system.”
Ferguson is director of academic programs for UMass Medical School’s Health and Criminal Justice Program and chair of ACCJH. He is also professor and vice chair of UMass Medical School’s Department of Family Medicine & Community Health.
Supported by ACCJH and UMass Medical School, the conference provides an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed forum on correctional health care and health policy for researchers, clinicians, administrators, educators and policymakers. Participants come from more than 100 academic and correctional institutions across the globe.
The scholarship will support the conference attendance of an up-and-coming student or junior investigator who is pursuing a career in criminal justice health. Criteria and an application process for the scholarship will be developed over the next few weeks.
Throughout his 30-plus year career, Ferguson has demonstrated a deep commitment to developing the next generation of talent to improve healthcare outcomes for vulnerable populations, including those who are or have been incarcerated. He actively supports criminal justice health students and junior investigators with guidance, mentorship, and an academic home.
An esteemed speaker on correctional health, Ferguson has been outspoken on the link between health and incarceration, most importantly the high number of inmates with mental health needs and substance abuse disorder. He touched upon that topic again when he presented the conference keynote address, “Mass Incarceration and Our Nation’s Health—Maximizing our Impact.”