Obituary: Deborah MacAdam Forrester

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Longtime Malibu resident Deborah “Debbie” Forrester, M.D. passed away in her home after a brief illness in mid-January. 

Longtime Malibu resident Deborah “Debbie” Forrester, M.D. passed away in her home after a brief illness in mid-January. Debbie built her home on Filaree Road in Malibu Park in the mid-1970s and lived there for the rest of her life.

Debbie was born to a military family in Portland, Maine on Aug. 3, 1937. After the nation entered World War II, they moved to Falls Church, Va. She attended Swarthmore College where she was a cheerleader, graduating with honors in biology. After earning a master’s degree in biology at UC San Francisco, she returned to Swarthmore as assistant dean of women. She matriculated to medical school at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After an internship at UCLA-Harbor General Hospital, she entered a radiology residency at USC. She completed her training at Massachusetts General Hospital and then joined their full-time faculty.

In 1969, she joined the biology department faculty at the USC School of Medicine and rose to the rank of associate professor in three departments: radiology, medicine and orthopedic surgery. She was director of the Radiology Residency Training Program from 1979 until 2003. In the course of her 45-year career at USC, she trained approximately 500 radiology residents and musculoskeletal radiology fellows. The radiology residents gave her the annual Award for Excellence in Teaching four times, and the fourth-year students at the USC School of Medicine gave her the Outstanding Teacher Award three times. In 1999, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Teaching. Debbie was first author of “The Radiology of Joint Disease,” a standard textbook in musculoskeletal radiology with three editions in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. She contributed chapters to 20 textbooks in the radiology, orthopedic surgery, and rheumatology and neurosurgery literature. Debbie also authored 44 articles for journals in the specialties of radiology, rheumatology and orthopedic surgery. She gave 175 guest lectures at a wide variety of academic institutions and professional societies. 

Debbie is survived by her son Jeffrey Forrester of Kauai, Hawaii; son Brent Forrester and granddaughter Sydney of Pacific Palisades; and brother Duncan MacAdam of Carmel. She also is survived by three stepchildren of her deceased husband John Brown: Simon, Catherine and Andrew.