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Several pictures of doctors who are featured on the Local Legends web site

MEET LOCAL LEGEND: Barbara Starks Favazza, M.D.

Picture of Barbara Starks Favazza
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Barbara Starks Favazza, M.D.

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"First and foremost a clinician," is how Barbara Starks Favazza describes herself, modestly avoiding mentioning her path-finding role during the Civil Rights Movement as the first African-American female to earn a degree in medicine, in 1966, from the University of Virginia.

Having gone from her native Warrenton, Virginia, in the early 1960s to earn her B.A. degree at Pennsylvania's Beaver College (now Arcadia University), Favazza was used to making her mark in new environments, however challenging.

Known for her devotion as a clinician to serving those with severe emotional and behavioral disturbances, especially young children and adolescents, she is regarded as a pillar of Missouri's mental health establishment, having served in a variety of clinical and teaching positions over more than 30 years of a distinguished, multi-faceted career in psychiatry.

In 1971, after completing a residency in psychiatry and a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical Center, she began her career as a child psychiatrist with the Contra Costa County Hospital, in Martinez, California. For the next two years, she treated children and their families, served as a psychiatric consultant to the hospital's clinical social workers and pediatricians, supervised staff psychiatrists and began to teach psychiatry.

She left California in 1973 for Missouri to become child psychiatrist at the Mid- Missouri Mental Health Center, in Columbia, the first in a series of posts over the years in which she would develop a reputation as one of the foremost mental health practitioners in her now adopted state.

After two years of busy clinical practice, as well as consulting, teaching, Supervising and mentoring medical students and psychiatric residents, it was time for family: "I resigned to become a full-time parent," she smiles.

Returning to full-time professional duties in 1980, she was appointed clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Missouri Department of Psychiatry, specializing in children's emotional needs. As Director of the department's residency training program in child psychiatry, from 1985-87, she held administrative responsibility for recruitment, education and faculty-resident liaison. Famed for her "my door is always open" policy, Favazza has long been in demand as a supervisor and mentor to generations of medical trainees and young professionals.

A Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and active member of both the American Association of University Women and the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, she is a prominent member of the State of Missouri Children's Service Commission Subcommittee on Mental Health.

Previously, as a member of the Missouri State Mental Health Commission appointed by the governor in the mid-197s, she had extensive contact with, and made many substantial contributions to Missouri's many local legislative bodies, and mental health organizations and facilities. Favazza retired from clinical practice in 2004.

In addition to the many contributions she was able to make to her fellow Missourians over her distinguished career, she declares, "One of the joys of my life has been the opportunity to rear two outstanding children, who are professionals in the fields of medicine and law, and whose continuing contributions to society and to their professions will enrich the lives of many!"



First African-American female to receive a doctor of medicine degree from the University of Virginia Medical School, Charlottesville, VA


Completes residency in general psychiatry and, following, a fellowship in child psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, MI


Certified in psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology


Appointed Child Psychiatrist, Mid-Missouri Mental Health Center, Columbia, MO


Appoint clinical assistant professor of child psychiatry, University of Missouri Department of Psychiatry

1982-84; 1986-2003

Serves as child psychiatrist, Mid-Missouri Mental Health Center, Columbia, provided psychiatric evaluation and treatment to children 6-18 years of age and their families


Becomes director, Residency Training Program, and director, child psychiatry outpatient clinic, University of Missouri Health Science Center, Department of Psychiatry


Appointed clinical associate professor of child psychiatry, University of Missouri, Department of Psychiatry




University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA



Sub Specialty

Child Psychiatry