New insights on mother-to-child COVID transmission

Pediatrics chair Satyan Lakshminrusimha, neonatology chief Mark Underwood, director of maternal-fetal medicine Herman Hedriana, and chief of pediatric infectious diseases Dean Blumberg were key partners in helping define possible paths of COVID-19 transmission between mother and newborn. The research, published in the American Journal of Perinatology, outlined potential mechanisms of vertical transmission and highlighted the importance of understanding the timing and the route of infection in maternal-fetal transmission.


The UC Davis Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a level IV-designated nursery (the highest possible rating) for the Sacramento region, providing clinical care for infants throughout Northern California and conducting research on health problems facing infants, including those who are born very prematurely, are extremely ill, or require surgery.

Best Children's Hospital badge for neonatology 2020-21

Nationally ranked

Our neonatology program ranked 26th nationally in the 2020–2021 U.S. News & World Report Best Children’s Hospitals survey.

Helping rural hospitals care for mothers with opioid use disorder

Neonatologist Kara Kuhn-Riordon and her team received a $500,000 Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant to help rural maternal and infant providers care for pregnant and postpartum mothers with opioid use disorder. The project, Optimizing Pregnancy and Infant Outcomes in Drug (OPIOID) Addiction and NAS, will provide an outlet for health care providers to discuss patient cases, receive feedback from UC Davis Health clinicians and take part in ongoing education and training.

Webcam program positively impacts parents

FamilyLink, a NICU webcam program created by neonatologist Kristin Hoffman, allows off-site families to see their infants 24 hours a day through a home computer, tablet or cellphone. A recent UC Davis Health study published in Telemedicine and E-Health found that parents who used FamilyLink felt more involved in their child’s care, and that mothers were more likely to breastfeed or provide breastmilk to their babies.

Partnership brings level II NICU to Lodi

An affiliation with Adventist Health has expanded pediatric and neonatal care services at Adventist Health Lodi Memorial, and created a level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) facility at that hospital to treat preemies that need extra support from UC Davis Health specialists. The professional services agreement brings UC Davis physicians and nurses to Lodi and establishes a 24/7 instant connection to our pediatric emergency department. The arrangement is designed to increase the level of care available locally while decreasing the need for transfers to UC Davis, home to a level IV NICU for the highest-acuity cases.