A sampling of recent major achievements and developments from UC Davis Health. For more listings and news, please visit our website, follow us on social media, or subscribe to UC Davis Health System news feeds with an RSS reader.

New University of California consortium

New University of California consortium building

The University of California’s five academic cancer centers, including the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, have formed the UC Cancer Consortium to better address the state’s most pressing cancer-related problems and opportunities. The centers, which all hold the highest designation possible from the National Cancer Institute, will undertake collaborative projects in precision medicine, clinical trials, population health science, data practices and political engagement. Despite steady declines in cancer rates, the disease is soon expected to become California’s leading cause of death.

Fred Meyers, M.D., M.A.C.P.

Meyers appointed to governor’s precision medicine committee

Fred Meyers, M.D., M.A.C.P., has been appointed to the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Precision Medicine, a new group of experts that will contribute to the state’s continuing efforts to use advanced computing and technology to better understand, treat and prevent disease. The group will advise on emerging policies in areas such as the economic impact and sustainability of precision medicine-based treatments. Meyers is associate dean for Precision Medicine and a professor of internal medicine/hematology-oncology at the UC Davis School of Medicine.

Excellence in Life Award logo badge

UC Davis Medical Center receives excellence in life support award

The Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) has granted its Gold Level ELSO Award for Excellence in Life Support to UC Davis Medical Center and its extracorporeal life support program, which provides lifesaving aid for failing organ systems in infants, children and adults. The award recognizes centers worldwide that demonstrate an exceptional commitment to evidence-based processes and quality measures, staff training and continuing education, patient satisfaction and ongoing clinical care.

Bulldog patient for spina bifida therapy

A major step toward curing spina bifida

Two English bulldogs were the first patients to be successfully treated with a unique therapy, developed at UC Davis, to preserve lower-limb function in children with spina bifida. While dogs with the birth defect frequently have little control of their hind quarters, sibling puppies Darla and Spanky were able to walk, run and play at their post-op checkup last year. Their procedure — completed by veterinary neurosurgeon Beverly Sturges, using techniques developed by fetal surgeon Diana Farmer and a treatment developed by stem cell scientists Aijun Wang and Dori Borjesson — represents a major collaboration between the schools of medicine and veterinary medicine to cure spina bifida. With additional evaluation and approvals, researchers hope to test the therapy in human and canine clinical trials.

For UC Davis Children’s Hospital highlights, visit children.ucdavis.edu/annualreport.

Amsterdam honored as one of nation’s top cardiologists

Ezra A. Amsterdam

Nationally recognized heart disease expert Ezra A. Amsterdam, M.D., has appeared in a Forbes magazine list of top cardiologists. Throughout more than 40 years at UC Davis, the distinguished professor of cardiovascular medicine has served as a leader in managing acute coronary syndromes, published more than 800 articles and 12 books, helped to develop national professional guidelines, and received multiple teaching honors. The article, “27 Top Cardiologists, Picked By Big Data,” appeared online in December.

American College of Surgeons dedicates scientific forum to Farmer

Diana Farmer, M.D.

The Scientific Forum of the 2017 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons was dedicated to Diana Farmer, M.D., chair of the UC Davis Department of Surgery and chief surgeon of UC Davis Children’s Hospital. The honor recognized Farmer’s leadership in academic surgery, research and education and her ongoing participation in the forum, which is a platform for surgeon scientists of all career levels to share their research before a national audience.

UC Davis and NEC Society launch major probiotics project

Mark Underwood, M.A.S., M.D.

UC Davis neonatologists played a key role in launching a nationwide effort to better address one of the most pressing concerns in the care of neonates, necrotizing enterocolitis or NEC. The nonprofit NEC Society’s first-of-its-kind Multi-NICU Probiotic Quality Improvement Project will examine routine administration of probiotics to very low birthweight infants at risk for the relatively common intestinal disease, which has case-fatality rates of 20 to 30 percent. Mark Underwood, M.A.S., M.D., chief of neonatology at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, is a member of the NEC scientific advisory committee.

UC Davis Children’s Hospital receives 2018 Women’s Choice Award

UC Davis Children’s Hospital has been named as a Best Children’s Hospital and Best Children’s Hospital for Emergency Care by the Women’s Choice Award, founded by the former publisher of Working Woman and Working Mother magazines. The designation is based on self-reported data and judged on a point system that considers staffing levels and availability of specific services and capabilities.

2018 Women’s Choice Award

Lakshminrusimha Named New Chair of Pediatrics

Satyan Lakshminrusimha, M.D.

Satyan Lakshminrusimha, M.D., an internationally recognized neonatologist and physician-scientist, has been named chair of the Department of Pediatrics in the UC Davis School of Medicine. He also serves as medical director of UC Davis Children’s Hospital. Lakshminrusimha joins UC Davis from the University of Buffalo, where he was chief of neonatology, vice chair of pediatrics and director of the Center for Development Biology of the Lung. He is regularly invited to speak nationally and internationally, co-edits the open-access journal Maternal Health, Neonatology Perinatology and is an active member of American Academy of Pediatrics and American Board of Pediatrics committees.

Jerant new chair of family medicine

Anthony Jerant, M.D.

Anthony Jerant, M.D., a physician-leader known for his extensive commitment to patient and family-centered care, has been named chair of the UC Davis Department of Family and Community Medicine. The department trains nearly 50 residents each year and is highly active in research to support informed decision-making for patients, providers and policymakers. Jerant is considered one of UC Davis’ most honored medical educators, and researches improvements to patient-physician communications, mental health care in primary care settings, chronic disease management and preventive services.

Farwell new chair of otolaryngology

Gregory Farwell, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Gregory Farwell, M.D., F.A.C.S., a renowned head and neck surgeon who led the world’s second documented voicebox transplant procedure at UC Davis, has been appointed chair of the university’s Department of Otolaryngology. Farwell previously served as the department’s vice chair and as director of head and neck oncology and microvascular surgery. Farwell’s clinical practice centers on head and neck malignancies, with extensive focus on improving functional outcomes with microvascular organ replacement and rehabilitation. His research interests include evaluating tissue during robotic surgery and the otential use of dogs to detect tumors.

Guralnick New Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education

Susan Guralnick, M.D.

Pediatrician Susan Guralnick, M.D., a longstanding national leader in medical education, has been appointed associate dean for graduate medical education at the UC Davis School of Medicine. She joins UC Davis from NYU Winthrop University Hospital, where she led GME, instructed residents and maintained a primary care practice. Guralnick chairs the National Resident Matching Program, the ACGME Transitional Year Residency Review Committee and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Pediatric Education. She has served as president of the Association of Pediatric Program Directors and co-chair of the AAP PediaLink Resident and Program Director Centers Planning Group.

Jain new associate dean of students

Sharad Jain, M.D.

Sharad Jain, M.D., an internist and thought leader in medical education, has been appointed associate dean of students at the UC Davis School of Medicine. Jain joins UC Davis following 20 years at UCSF, where he served as a professor and director of the UCSF/San Francisco General Hospital primary care residency. At UC Davis he will provide leadership, support and innovation for the development and implementation of all student affairs programs, including the Office of Student Learning and Educational Resources, the Student Mentoring Program, Office of Student Wellness, and all student affairs-related administrative units.

Venugopal New Association Dean for Continuing Medical Education

Sandhya Venugopal, M.D.

Cardiovascular specialist Sandhya Venugopal, M.D., has been appointed associate dean for continuing medical education at the UC Davis School of Medicine. The associate clinical professor joined UC Davis in 2006 and has launched a congenital heart disease clinic, developed innovative simulation-based curriculum and received several appointments and awards. She will oversee creation and implementation of CME and lead the vision to integrate interprofessional CME between the schools of health and other health professions.