Professional News

KCH Psychologist to Publish Book on Parents’ Guide to Medical Trauma

headshot images of Meghan Marsac and Melissa Hogan
Melissa Hogan (right) reached out to Meghan Marsac about writing a book on how parents can help their children cope in medical settings.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 14, 2021) ­­ Kentucky Children’s Hospital psychologist Meghan Marsac teamed up with lawyer and mother of three Melissa Hogan to create their new book, "Afraid of the Doctor: Every Parent’s Guide to Preventing and Managing Medical Trauma." The book addresses medical trauma, how to understand it and tips for parents of ill or injured children on how to overcome it.

Marsac is a pediatric psychologist and tenured associate professor at the University of Kentucky and Kentucky Children’s Hospital with expertise in promoting adjustment and preventing post-traumatic stress in parents and their children with medical conditions. Clinically, she implements evidence-based practices to facilitate families' management of medical treatment and emotional adjustment to challenging diagnoses and medical procedures. In addition, Marsac specializes in training medical teams in the implementation of trauma-informed medical care.

Hogan was inspired by her experience after her youngest child was diagnosed with Hunter syndrome, a very rare, inherited genetic disorder caused by a missing or malfunctioning enzyme. She began to blog about what she was learning in her family’s experience with her son’s condition. The blog connected her to a community of parents around the world whose children had Hunter syndrome or other chronic conditions.

“When my son was in the early stages of seeing lots of doctors, I started to see these traumatic reactions,” Hogan said. “I did a lot of research and kept seeing it come up in our disease community and the special needs community. I thought, I've learned a lot about this, and I've learned practically how to help my son but I'm by no means an expert in this. I kept seeing Meghan's name come up, so I wrote an email one day and said hey, here's who I am and here's my experience, and I think it might be great if we wrote a book together.”

After agreeing to meet with Hogan, Marsac was excited to begin the journey of publishing this book.

“I knew Melissa's journey with her family would be able to bring a perspective that I couldn't bring as a professional," said Marsac. "I could bring in the evidence from the research on how we help families and the experiences that I've had working with families, but Melissa could really bring in this personal experience as well.”

Medical trauma happens to millions of people and can cause a variety of adverse reactions, regardless of the severity of the medical condition being treated. This is the first book written for parents with the primary goal of equipping them with the knowledge and skills to support their children through medical challenges.

“There are several chapters in the book about experiencing medical trauma as parents, and how we identify and deal with that as parents because we want to be that stalwart rock for our kids," Hogan said. "We also talk about how it’s healthy for parents to understand that it's okay to come home and go in your room and cry after these appointments, and to support yourself with self-care.”

The book will be available beginning July 16, 2021. Readers can find more information on the website here.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.