Owensboro Health's One Health Medical Group Welcomes Willie Mae Jackson, MD To Behavioral Health Services
Willie Mae Jackson, MD
The mind is a puzzle, and Dr. Willie Mae Jackson wants to piece it together.
As a child, Willie Mae Jackson was fascinated by medicine, especially after repeated brushes with doctors who were caring for her.
“I got into medicine because as a child, I had asthma and went to the doctor all of the time. I was given a Fisher Price doctor's kit by one of the pediatricians and I was sold,” Dr. Jackson said. “I knew I wanted to be a doctor because they helped me to get better, were very nice, had the coolest gadgets and the white coat. I saw the respect and appreciation that they received because of the help they gave to everyone else.”
Growing up, Dr. Jackson said her ambitions in medicine were shaped by the harsh realities of her environment.
“By the time I was in the eighth or ninth grade, raised in the inner city of Chicago, I saw lots of things,” Dr. Jackson said. “I saw mental illness, addiction, people dealing with depression. I knew I wanted to be in a specialty where I could help people get better mentally and emotionally.”
Dr. Jackson earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She also holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Roosevelt University in Chicago and completed her medical degree at Ross University. She has also completed residency and internship at the University of Louisville.
A forensic psychiatry fellowship at Northwestern University in Chicago followed and there Dr. Jackson got to study under the clinician who would ultimately become her mentor, Dr. Helen Morrison, who was one of the psychiatrists to examine and testify in Gacy’s trial (Gacy was ultimately convicted of 33 murders and executed by the state of Illinois in 1994).
Dr. Jackson said she doesn’t expect to see anything quite like that in Owensboro, but her skills in civil and criminal aspects of psychiatry are things she’d like to offer.
“The one thing about it that I love is it has two major components, civil forensic psychiatry and criminal forensic psychiatry,” Dr. Jackson said. “In forensic psychiatry, we're an interface with the justice system. My role is to be an evaluator. You put on a different hat in forensic psychiatry than in clinical adult psychiatry. In the civil aspects of forensic psychiatry, I'm also able to work with licensing and medical boards, various organizations to determine if someone is emotionally sound enough to return to their job.”
Dr. Jackson previously worked at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital as a temporary provider, but liked it so much she ultimately chose to return permanently and will practice at Behavioral Health Services.
“One of the things I love is the range of services the hospital provides for patients. There are so many different resources available and the staff is so willing to go out of their way to help the patient,” Dr. Jackson said. “The institution itself, the hospital is gorgeous. It's beautiful, very modern. It also is easy for me to connect patients to different specialties in the hospital. I don't feel like I have to wait a long time for patients to get the services they need outside what I provide.”
And Dr. Jackson said she really enjoys the personal touch people have in Owensboro.
“Here at Owensboro, people are just so nice and ask you how you're doing, from patients to staff, even when you're walking in the hospital,” Dr. Jackson said. “It really helps when you start your day and you feel like you're in a place where people are welcoming, friendly and willing to help if you need anything.”
Dr. Jackson is engaged to her fiancé, who is an artist and graphic designer from Louisville. They have a three-month-old son together, in addition to her husband’s two daughters. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, including comic books, and spending time with her family.