UC Davis Health | University of California, Davishttps://health.ucdavis.edu UC Davis Health is charged with discovering and sharing knowledge and providing the highest quality care to our community. Our ultimate goal is to advance health both in our local community and around the globe. 202009_congenital-heart-patient-receives-continued-care-from-heart-nurse-through-the-years Tue, 29 Sep 2020 07:00:00 GMT Congenital heart patient receives continued care from heart nurse through the years <p>Born with only three functioning heart chambers instead of four, Amanda had health challenges from her very first day of life. But pediatric heart nurse Barb Goebel has helped shepherd her care into adulthood.</p> Born with only three functioning heart chambers instead of four, Amanda Kwok had health challenges from her very first day of life.

“I found out two months before her birth about her heart defect in an ultrasound. I received a lot of love and support from my family and friends and Amanda had a lot of people praying for her. This helped me get through stressful times and stay positive,” said Linda Underwood, Amanda’s mother, who is a nurse.

With less oxygenated blood flow, Amanda’s lips, hands and feet were sometimes purple, and she would tire easily. Amanda had her first open-heart procedure, the Glenn shunt, at six months old. Her second open-heart procedure, the Fontan procedure, was at 2 years old. The surgeries, which took place at a Bay Area hospital, helped rebuild parts of her heart and improve blood flow throughout her body.  

The family moved from the Bay Area to Lincoln when Amanda was 6 years old and discovered that Barb Goebel, one of Linda’s friends from nursing school, was a pediatric cardiology nurse at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

“It was a wonderful surprise,” Underwood said. “Barb is an excellent nurse and has been such a support over the years. We’ve been very impressed with all of the care Amanda has had over the years at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.”

For more than 15 years, Goebel has assisted the family through Amanda’s checkups, procedures and appointments.  

Linda Underwood and Barb Goebel during nursing school.

“Amanda is a lovely young lady. It’s so nice to see our complex heart kids grow up to be nice functioning young adults,” Goebel said. “As we continue to advance in the field of congenital heart defects (CHD), both surgically and medically, we will continue to see more children like Amanda with complex forms of CHD who are thriving well into adulthood.”

Amanda is now 23 years old and a college graduate with a business degree. She continues to receive care from pediatric cardiologist Jay Yeh and the UC Davis Pediatric Cardiology team. She takes daily heart medication and continues to get routine tests and procedures to evaluate her cardiovascular health.

“I’ve had a great experience. Everyone knows what they are doing and they are good at explaining everything so you know what to expect,” Amanda Kwok said.

202009_new-grant-will-help-rural-hospitals-care-for-moms-with-opioid-use-disorder- Mon, 28 Sep 2020 07:00:00 GMT New grant will help rural hospitals care for moms with opioid use disorder <p>UC Davis Health will help rural maternal and infant health care providers care for pregnant and post-partum mothers with opioid use disorder and their infants.</p> A UC Davis Health team was awarded a $500,000 grant by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to develop and share best practices with rural maternal and infant health care providers. The goal is to help pregnant and post-partum mothers with opioid use disorder (OUD) and their infants, who may develop neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). The three-year grant starts this month.  

Through the project, titled “Optimizing Pregnancy and Infant Outcomes in Drug (OPIOID) Addiction and NAS,” UC Davis Health physicians will provide education and training so health care teams in rural hospitals can treat and care for patients in their communities.  

“This program aims to put evidence-based best practices into effect in rural hospitals to keep moms and babies together in their home communities,” said Kara Kuhn-Riordon, who is the grant’s co-primary investigator and a neonatologist at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. “Traditionally these moms and babies are transferred to tertiary care facilities like UC Davis Medical Center because their rural care providers and hospitals can lack the necessary knowledge, resources or comfort it takes to care for them.”

By keeping moms and babies together, patient families are less likely to experience stress and financial burdens and could potentially benefit from early parent-child bonding and breastfeeding success.

UC Davis Health will provide an outlet for health care providers in rural community hospitals to discuss patient cases, receive feedback from UC Davis Health clinicians and receive ongoing curriculum, including topics such as reducing stigma and bias.

“We look forward to improving the experiences of moms and babies in rural Northern California and giving them the care they need in their own communities,” Kuhn-Riordon said.

202009_spina-bifida-surgery-plus-stem-cells-before-birth-could-improve-outcomes Thu, 24 Sep 2020 07:00:00 GMT Spina bifida: Surgery plus stem cells before birth could improve outcomes (video) <p>A UC Davis Health fetal surgeon and a stem cell scientist have received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to test a one-of-a-kind spina bifida treatment that combines surgery with stem cells.</p>
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A UC Davis Health fetal surgeon and a stem cell scientist have received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to test a groundbreaking spina bifida treatment that combines surgery with stem cells. The one-of-a-kind treatment, delivered while the baby is still in the mother’s womb, could improve outcomes for children with the birth defect.

The new treatment is a unique combination of surgery and a stem cell “patch” provided while the baby is still in the womb. (Click for larger image.) Illustrations copyright UC Regents and Zina Deretsky.

Spina bifida occurs when spinal tissue improperly fuses during the early stages of pregnancy, leading to a range of lifelong cognitive, mobility, urinary and bowel disabilities. It affects about 1,500 to 2,000 children each year in the U.S.

The new treatment was developed by Diana Farmer, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Surgery, surgeon-in-chief of UC Davis Children’s Hospital and an expert in prenatal treatment of pediatric conditions. Her chief collaborator on this work is Aijun Wang, an associate professor of surgery and biomedical engineering and leader in developing cellular therapies that promote tissue regeneration.

Answers fueled by collaboration

Fetal surgeon Diana Farmer has been on the path to curing spina bifida throughout her career.

Farmer and Wang have been working for years to prepare for human clinical trials. Their preliminary work proved that prenatal surgery combined with a specific type of stem cells (human placenta-derived mesenchymal stromal cells, or PMSCs), if held in place with a biomaterial scaffold, helped lambs with spina bifida walk without noticeable disability. It is believed that the stem cells work to repair and restore spinal tissue, beyond what surgery can accomplish alone.

When the team refined their prenatal surgery and stem cells technique for canines, the treatment also improved the mobility of dogs with spina bifida that were treated by UC Davis veterinary medicine experts.

Now, once clinical trials funding is obtained, Farmer and Wang will recruit pregnant women whose babies have been diagnosed with spina bifida to test this combined surgery and stem cell procedure. The clinical trial is expected to begin in January or February of 2021.

A surgeon driven to find a cure

Farmer’s career has been defined by her passion for finding a cure for spina bifida. As a leader of the MOMS trial, she proved that in utero surgery to repair the spinal cord injury reduced the neurological deficits of spina bifida. Many children in the study, however, still required wheelchairs or leg braces.

She recruited Wang specifically to help take that work to the next level. Together, they launched the UC Davis Health Surgical Bioengineering Laboratory to find ways to use stem cells to advance the effectiveness of surgery and improve functional outcomes for patients.

Farmer’s chief collaborator on this work is stem cell scientist Aijun Wang.

She also launched the UC Davis Children’s Hospital Fetal Care and Treatment Center (with pediatric surgeon Shinjiro Hirose) and UC Davis Children’s Surgery Center to provide comprehensive diagnostic, medical and surgical solutions for fetal, newborn and pediatric conditions. These centers are where clinical trial participants will be treated.  Follow-up care will take place at UC Davis Children’s Hospital and Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California.

Farmer and Wang’s work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and Shriners Hospitals.

More information about UC Davis Health — including its children’s hospital, fetal care center, surgical services and stem cell research program — is at health.ucdavis.edu.

Related stories and resources

Spina bifida MOMS trial
Prenatal stem cell treatment improves mobility issues caused by spina bifida
Spina bifida patient healthy, happy after fetal surgery
Stem cell treatment for children helps dogs first
UC Davis Health and Shriners Hospital partner to provide expertise to spina bifida patients
Researchers seeking a cure for spina bifida get a step closer to their goal
Alex’s story
Learn about spina bifida (information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

202009_multiple-surgeries-at-uc-davis-childrens-hospital-save-preemies-life Thu, 24 Sep 2020 07:00:00 GMT Multiple surgeries at UC Davis Children’s Hospital save preemie’s life <p>Life-threatening condition is no match for Alfredo Moran-Arias and his UC Davis doctors.</p> Ruby Moran was 20 weeks pregnant when she was involved in a head-on collision. Although she and her unborn baby survived the car accident, weeks later, pregnancy complications would turn their world on its head.

“It all happened so fast,” Moran said. “I was so scared.”

Moran’s baby was not due until November, but Alfredo Moran-Arias was born at UC Davis Children’s Hospital on Aug. 18, 2019. He weighed a little over 2 pounds when he was delivered at 27 weeks gestation and was admitted to the UC Davis Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

“As a new mom, you imagine the birth of your child and how it’s going to go,” Moran said. “I did not picture this.”

Moran got more troubling news a week into Alfredo’s NICU stay. Alfredo had Necrotizing Enterocolitis or NEC.

“We had never heard of NEC so initially, we didn’t know about the prognosis,” Moran said. “When we found out, we were terrified.”

Necrotizing enterocolitis is mostly seen in very preterm newborn infants although rarely, it can be seen in term babies as well. It’s a serious illness that causes inflammation and tissue death in the intestines. This combination can destroy sections of the intestine leading to perforation or rupture. This makes bacteria inside the intestinal tract leak into the blood stream and sometimes out into the abdominal cavity. 

Born two months early, baby Alfredo was diagnosed with NEC, a life-threatening condition.

“When inflammation of the intestines leads to tissue death, the segments of dead intestine have to be surgically removed and in these cases an ostomy - an opening (stoma) from an area inside the body to the outside - is required,” said Mark Underwood, chief of neonatology at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. “NEC is a common cause of death in very preterm babies like Alfredo. Those who survive sometimes require more than one surgery and can have long-term challenges with growth and development.”

But with the help of doctors and nurses in the UC Davis NICU and skilled pediatric surgeons who operated seven times – most recently, last month – Alfredo has beaten the odds so far.

“He’s a fighter and hasn’t given up,” Moran said. “I am so proud of him and am blessed he is still here with us.”

 “I can’t thank UC Davis Children’s Hospital enough. My son is doing so well,” Moran said. “It really is the best hospital and the people are amazing. They made us feel like family and kept us all smiling and full of hope.”

Related Links:

Constantly connected: A webcam for every NICU bed

Being there when you can't

202009_pandemic-prompts-local-family-to-pay-it-forward Thu, 24 Sep 2020 07:00:00 GMT Pandemic prompts local family to pay it forward <p>The Martino's honor their son's memory with a donation to UC Davis Children's Hospital Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department.</p><p>&nbsp;</p> When COVID-19 shut down schools and businesses in March, Jodi Martino scrambled to help her four kids adjust to remote learning. Albeit challenging, Martino could not help but think of what other kids were facing. Not just students, but pediatric patients hospitalized at UC Davis Children's Hospital.

“Our son, Matteo, died unexpectedly in his sleep at our home, with no prior health issues," Martino said. "At the time, I was working in marketing at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, knee-deep in stories of children impacted by the child life and facility dog programs."

When the pandemic hit, Martino knew there was no more important time than now for the social and mental health support child life specialists and canine team members provide. The Martinos wanted to support sick children facing life-threatening health challenges and give them comfort, especially since policy restrictions mean they are isolated in their rooms.

That's when Jodi and her husband, Dan, turned to Matteo’s Dream Fund. Established in their son's memory more than a decade ago, thousands of dollars have been raised for children’s hospitals. 

"Our hope was to make their hospital stay a little less scary and more comfortable, as we were living the flip side of shock, disbelief and grief,” Jodi Martino said.

Now, with a bustling household and two loving canines, the family decided to make its final Dream Fund gift to the UC Davis Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department’s facility dog program. They recently delivered the donation to the child life team and its three resident dogs: Huggie, Paloma and Zeebee. 

“We wish we would have had a chance to fight whatever it was that took Matteo's life and work with the amazing child life specialists. But we never had that chance," Martino said. "This was our way of paying it forward." 

Canine Companions for Independence provides the facility dogs free of charge so the Martino family contribution will help the hospital provide for the facility dogs' care. The donation will help with the costs of medical visits, grooming, food, bedding and toys.  

UC Davis Children's Hospital's facility dog program is a popular one with patients and families and is always in need of contributions to keep the dogs fit and healthy. To give directly, click here

202009_deftones-raises-funds-for-uc-davis-childrens-hospital-through-adopt-a-dot-campaign Wed, 23 Sep 2020 07:00:00 GMT Deftones raises funds for UC Davis Children’s Hospital through Adopt-a-Dot campaign <p>The Grammy Award-winning band Deftones has launched a philanthropic campaign called &lsquo;Adopt-a-Dot&rsquo; based on their forthcoming album, Ohms. All proceeds will benefit UC Davis Children&rsquo;s Hospital and Live Nation&rsquo;s &lsquo;Crew Nation,&rsquo; a global relief fund for live music crews who have been impacted by COVID-19. Donations can be made at Deftones.com/Adopt.</p> The Grammy Award-winning band Deftones has launched a philanthropic campaign called ‘Adopt-a-Dot’ based on their forthcoming album, Ohms. The cover art, created by Frank Maddocks, features thousands of pixelated dots, and fans can make a charitable donation for one, or multiple dots.

All proceeds will benefit UC Davis Children’s Hospital and Live Nation’s ‘Crew Nation,’ a global relief fund for live music crews who have been impacted by COVID-19. Donations can be made at Deftones.com/Adopt.

There are 12,995 dots available and each dot is $20. Once a donor adopts their dot(s), they can upload their photo to the site and be a part of the album cover for these two special causes. Ohms is set for release this Friday, Sept. 25, via Warner Records / Reprise.

"Congrats to the Deftones, Sacramento’s band! We are honored and proud they have selected to support UC Davis Children’s Hospital, Sacramento’s only nationally ranked academic hospital for children. Money raised will fund music therapy for our hospitalized kids," said Judie Boehmer, executive director of patient care services at UC Davis Children's Hospital. 

‘Adopt a Dot’ comes on the heels of Deftones’ recently released song and video “Genesis” and  the previously released video for the title track to  “Ohms.” 


"(The) Ohms album art is an iconic rendering of a suspended, chance moment in time. As with Deftones music and lyrics, the definitive meaning of the imagery invites and relies on interpretation from the viewer. From a dreamy gaze above, to sadness, hope, despair, optimism and a longing for connection, the emotions conveyed are endless and infinitely evolving." - Frank Maddocks, Creative Director, Deftones

202009_how-to-celebrate-halloween-safely-during-the-covid-19-pandemic Tue, 22 Sep 2020 07:00:00 GMT How to celebrate Halloween safely during the COVID-19 pandemic <p>Halloween can still be spooktacular with a little planning and imagination. UC Davis chief of pediatric infectious diseases Dean Blumberg offers families guidance and ideas that will keep the spirit of the season alive during the COVID-19 pandemic.</p>
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Halloween can still be spooktacular with a little planning and imagination. Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Children's Hospital, offers families guidance and ideas that will keep the spirit of the season alive during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What are the basic rules that families should follow to keep their kids safe during Halloween?

The two most important things families can do to keep their kids safe is masking and social distancing. All families -  but especially individuals who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 - should stay home and avoid large gatherings. Other basic rules are as follows:

  • Continue washing hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Remember to clean your hands before touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoid sharing food or candy.
  • Please stay home if you have any symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, headache, sore throat, fatigue, body aches, new loss of taste or smell, congestion, runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with your elbow "Dracula style" when coughing or sneezing.

 What are some safe ways that families can celebrate Halloween safely?

Invite your child's friends to a virtual party with activities such as a costume contest, pumpkin carving and more.

  • The safest way is to have a virtual Halloween party! Invite your child's friends to a virtual party where you can even host activities such as a costume contest, dance party, pumpkin carving, or caramel apple decorating.
  • As pediatricians, we recommend eating candy in moderation. Instead of trick or treating, you can have a family game night or virtual game night with friends where your child can earn candy.
  • Alternatively, have your children go on a scavenger hunt for candy and other fun knick-knacks around the house or set up a glow-in-the-dark hunt in the backyard, by hiding glow bracelets inside small candy bags.
  • Instead of going to a crowded public haunted house, try creating one in your own home! Your kids can help you decorate the house with pumpkins, ghosts made of pillowcases, and witch hats made of paper. Use pipe cleaners and string to hang spiders around the house.
  • If your kids are older or love scary movies, kick back at home and watch Netflix or share ghost stories.
  • If you decide to go trick-or-treating, wear a mask outdoors or near people who do not live in your household. Travel in small groups and avoid large gatherings.
  • If you are providing candy to trick-or-treaters, avoid having a giant bowl that multiple kids reach into. It's safer to have an adult hand out the candy individually.
  • For trunk-or-treat events, make sure that the cars are parked more than six feet apart. Social distancing during these events is also key!
  • Talk with your neighbors about "reverse trick-or-treating": instead of having the kids go door to door, let the candy come to you! Kids can stand in their front yard showing off their cool costumes, while adults drive by and throw candy into their yard. 
  • Search your local area for some drive-through Halloween events like contactless haunted houses or drive-in movies.

Will a costume mask keep my child safe from COVID-19?

A mask that covers your child's nose and mouth and has two or more layers will provide the best protection from COVID-19. Masks with vents or other holes in them do not provide enough protection. Try decorating a cloth mask to match your child's costume.

In addition to wearing a proper mask, it is important to stay at least six feet away from people who do not live in your household. Do NOT put a mask on children under 2 years old, someone who has difficulty breathing, or someone who cannot remove the mask themselves. Check out mask guidelines on the CDC website for more information.

Related links

CDC guidelines on Halloween 2020

COVID-19 and Halloween safety tips - American Academy of Pediatrics 

202009_wraparound-program-receives-966049-to-help-youth-injured-by-violence- Fri, 18 Sep 2020 07:00:00 GMT Wraparound program receives $966,049 to help youth injured by violence <p>The Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) has awarded UC Davis Health&rsquo;s Wraparound Violence Intervention Program $966,049 in funding to combat violence in the Sacramento area. The program is designed to support victims of violence and reduce the likelihood of subsequent violence involvement and re-injury through intensive, relationship-based, individualized community case management services.</p> The Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC)  awarded UC Davis Health’s Wraparound Violence Intervention Program $966,049 in funding this month to combat violence in the Sacramento area. The program is designed to support victims of violence and reduce the likelihood of subsequent violence involvement and re-injury through intensive, relationship-based, individualized community case management services. 

The award comes as the Wraparound program has seen a nearly 20% increase in violence-related injuries since May, compared with the same time period last year.

The BSCC California Violence Intervention and Prevention (CalVIP) Grant is designed to help communities that are disproportionately impacted by violence through support programs that reduce and stop violence. The award is for a period of about three years, beginning next month.

Since March 2018, the Wraparound program’s nationally certified violence intervention specialists have been providing evidence-based services to facilitate recovery for adolescent and young adult patients of UC Davis Health who have been injured by violence.

Wraparound’s unique position within the trauma center allows the program to serve as a point of entry for violently injured youth and young adults into a coordinated system of violence intervention and community-based recovery support services in Sacramento.

“The CalVIP Grant gives us the ability to hire the additional staff needed to offer program services to all eligible patients, expand our provision of culturally affirming professional mental health support for violently injured youth, and rigorously evaluate program effectiveness,” said Christy Adams, trauma prevention and outreach coordinator.

The BSCC received 74 proposals seeking $78 million. A total of $30 million was awarded to 18 cities and 14 community-based organizations, including the Wraparound program.

The BSCC is a multi-disciplinary agency that offers technical support and training to local corrections departments and administers millions of dollars in rehabilitative grants.

202009_nicu-mom-becomes-nicu-nurse- Wed, 16 Sep 2020 07:00:00 GMT NICU mom becomes NICU nurse <p>After her daughter spent 80 days in the NICU, Jennifer Swenson decided to spend her life giving back to other families as a neonatal nurse.</p> Nursing was never on Jennifer Swenson’s radar. She came from a family of nurses but pursued a career as a corrections officer in Ohio. For more than 15 years, she moved up the ranks to the position of sergeant, working in a state prison with more than 600 inmates.

She had just completed law school and passed the bar exam, with the hopes of becoming a corrections attorney, when she became pregnant with her first child. Life changed.

Swenson started retaining water and began having puffiness in her face and hands. She soon gained 70 pounds of fluid and was diagnosed with preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome, a life-threatening pregnancy complication that almost took her life. To save Swenson, doctors needed to deliver her daughter early.

Baby Audrey was born at 28 weeks and two days. She was only 1 pound, 14 ounces.

“It was very scary. I wasn’t a nurse and I hadn’t had babies before, but the nurses at the bedside in the NICU brought so much hope,” Swenson said. “I would call in the middle of the night when I couldn’t be there and talk to the nurse about how she was doing. The nurses gave us reassurance and explained everything in detail. They used terms we could wrap our heads around.”

Audrey spent 80 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Ohio. During that time, Audrey had a bilateral brain hemorrhage and was told that she may have potential complications. She wasn’t producing her own red blood cells. Swenson leaned on the NICU team to help her through this unimaginable time.

When her daughter was discharged from the hospital, Swenson started to think about giving back in some way.

“I started to think that I needed to give back to what was given to us. I wanted to help other moms in the NICU,” Swenson said.

A few years later, Swenson went back to college and completed an accelerated bachelor’s degree in nursing. The rest, as they say, is history.

She has been a neonatal nurse for 10 years now and has been at UC Davis Children’s Hospital since January 2013. She was a NICU nurse and then was promoted to assistant NICU nurse manager in September 2013.

“Going into the NICU … that is my passion. I just told a mom this morning, ‘I was you. I was a mom at the bedside, needing reassurance and feeling mommy guilt.’ I had to do this job. The NICU is a scary place and I love that I can give families a different perspective because of what I have been through,” said Swenson, whose daughter Audrey is now a 15-year-old high school sophomore who has had no lasting effects from having had a significant brain hemorrhage or from being born premature.

Swenson’s average work day includes managing about 180 NICU nurses, ensuring they have all that they need to do their jobs, and organizing transfers of critically ill and preterm infants from other hospitals as well as the delivery room at UC Davis Medical Center.  

But she also gets to know all the babies and the families within the unit and help them through this fragile time.

“I had the chance to introduce a mom to her triplets for the first time recently. Those are the kinds of things that I love about my job. Being with families for those precious moments and sharing it with them is what warms my heart,” Swenson said. “This is my calling.”

202009_anxiety-about-fevers-during-covid-19-prompts-doctors-to-revisit-topic Wed, 16 Sep 2020 07:00:00 GMT Anxiety about fevers during COVID-19 prompts doctors to revisit topic <p>Children get fevers. What to look for and when to worry. Pediatric experts address parent and caregiver concerns.</p> Fevers in children are common. So are the fever-related concerns of parents and caregivers … especially during COVID-19.

After an increase in pediatrician visits due to fever, UC Davis chief of pediatric infectious diseases Dean Blumberg and UC Davis pediatrician Lena van der List are revisiting some long-held myths and questions that are keeping kids and parents up at night. Here they outline what normal body temperature is and does, what to look for when your child has a fever and when to take it more seriously.

Normal body temperature is not always 98.6.

According to van der List, it is normal to have some fluctuation in body temperature from one degree below 98.6 to one above. Lower body temperatures usually occur early in the day and higher temperatures occur in the afternoon.

Fever is not a bad thing and it’s not necessarily dangerous.

Considered to be 100.4 Fahrenheit or higher, a fever is the body’s way of mounting a defense so conditions are less favorable for viruses or bacteria. Pyrogens - which are biochemical substances - float by the hypothalamus area of the brain and trigger the body to say, “something is off.”

What is a fever?
A fever:
• is 100.4 or greater.
• is your child’s body responding to fight off infection.
• is not necessarily dangerous.
• can be treated with medication, but it is not required.
• can contribute to dehydration, so fluids are encouraged.
• can warrant a trip to the pediatrician when certain criteria are met.
As is the case with any health concern for your child, please call your pediatrician if you have questions or need advice on this topic.

“You might think of the hypothalamus as the body’s thermostat,” Lena van der List said. “It’s not a bad thing to have a fever when you’re sick.”

Kids get more frequent and higher fevers than adults.

Because their immune systems are still developing, kids may create pyrogens for each new infection they come in contact with. Alternatively, adults may have already created immunity to those infections.

If you don’t treat a fever, it will NOT automatically increase.

“There is a common myth that if you don’t treat the fever, it will keep going higher. This is not true either,” Blumberg said.

Treating the fever is not required, unless your child’s condition meets certain criteria. There are things you can do at home.

“Depending on how uncomfortable your child appears, not every fever needs to be treated,” Blumberg said. “But if they do seem uncomfortable, you may want to start with an antipyretic … a medication given to reduce fever.”

Here are some guidelines if you determine you want to give your child a fever-reducing medication:

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin) are two of the most common.
  • Tylenol is safe to give at any age, but Motrin should not be used in children under six months of age.
  • Give appropriate doses of these medications based on weight.
  • Confusion between drug names and brands (ie: giving acetaminophen and Tylenol - they are the same) can lead to overmedicating. Be aware.
  • Alternating acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Motrin) is commonly recommended to help keep a child’s fever down.

“Hydration is also extremely important, and your child will need even more than usual because of the fever,” van der List said. “I tell parents to encourage sips throughout the day, offering things like popsicles and juice if that’s the only thing their child will drink. Some rules go out the window when your child is sick.”

The number on the thermometer is less important than you think.

“Parents may have heard that fevers above 104 are dangerous and can cause brain damage. It’s just not true,” van der List said. “Only temperatures above 108 degrees F (42 degrees C) can cause brain damage and it's very rare for the body temperature to climb this high from illness alone.”

“Really, the number matters less than how your child looks or acts or how long the fever lasts,” Blumberg said. “The fever will usually follow the natural course of the infection which is typically one to four days. After that, it’s time to call your pediatrician.”

A visit to a pediatrician is warranted when certain criteria are met. These include if your child:

  • is 3 months old or younger and has a fever. Since their immune system is immature, they could have a serious infection without showing many signs.
  • has a fever that lasts more than four days without a source of infection.
  • shows signs of dehydration. These signs include no tears when crying, less frequent urination, dry mouth or tongue, sunken eyes and listlessness.
  • has significant behavior changes.
  • is immunocompromised.
  • appears very ill or drowsy.
  • has a severe headache, earache, urinary tract infection, stiff neck, sore throat or repeated vomiting and diarrhea you can’t manage at home.

For more information, listen to the Kids Considered Podcast hosted by Blumberg and van der List.

202009_comfort-commitment-helps-kids-better-cope-with-painful-procedures-in-the-hospital Fri, 11 Sep 2020 07:00:00 GMT Comfort Commitment helps kids better cope with painful procedures in the hospital <p>Comfort and pain management have always been paramount in UC Davis Children&rsquo;s Hospital&rsquo;s approach to care. A new hospital initiative called Comfort Commitment launched this month, which provides a standardized approach to help pediatric patients better cope with distressing procedures and decrease pain and anxiety.</p> Comfort and pain management have always been paramount in the child-centered approach to care at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. A new hospital initiative called Comfort Commitment launched this month, which provides a standardized approach to help pediatric patients better cope with distressing procedures and decrease pain and anxiety.

It involves four steps to managing a patient’s comfort:

  • Ask the child and caregiver what they know and understand about the procedure
  • Share more about the procedure in simple terms using honest, age-appropriate language
  • Plan for the procedure, considering medicine and numbing options, refocusing techniques (toys, electronics, music), comfort positions (chest-to-chest for small children with their caregiver, swaddle for infants and young toddlers) and a calming environment (with lights, noises and words)
  • Follow the agreed-upon plan and ensure the child feels heard and modify comfort measures to meet the patient’s needs

“Our ultimate goal is to establish an environment where hospital experiences can be growth-promoting for children and families,” said child life specialist Emily McDaniel. “Through individualizing procedural comfort plans with this collaborative four-step process, we are consistently able to provide coping support and empower the child to customize a plan that uniquely meets their specific needs.”

The initiative was funded by a Children's Miracle Network at UC Davis grant. 

For more information, visit https://ucdavis.health/comfort.

202009_collaborative-care-for-justice-involved-youth-is-focus-of-aap-statement-by-uc-davis-doctor Wed, 09 Sep 2020 07:00:00 GMT Collaborative care for justice-involved youth is focus of AAP statement by UC Davis doctor <p>Youth involved in the justice system are more likely to have unmet medical, mental health and social needs, are more likely to be youth of color and are more likely to have been exposed to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). This was outlined in the <a href="https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/146/1/e20201755">recently published policy statement</a> by the American Academy of Pediatrics, authored by UC Davis pediatrician Mikah Owen and University of Alabama at Birmingham adolescent medicine physician Stephenie Wallace.</p> Youth involved with the justice system are ­­­likely to have unmet medical, mental health and social needs, are more likely to be youth of color and are more likely to have been exposed to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). This was outlined in the recently published policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), authored by UC Davis pediatrician Mikah Owen and University of Alabama at Birmingham adolescent medicine physician Stephenie Wallace.

Nearly 810,700 youth under the age of 18 were arrested in the United States in 2017. Pediatricians and other health care professionals play a critical role in promoting the health and well-being of these justice-involved youth. The AAP statement offers background of the juvenile justice system, discusses racial and ethnic bias within the juvenile justice system, reviews common medical and social issues facing justice-involved youth and identifies opportunities for pediatricians to engage in juvenile justice reform efforts.

The statement addresses the deep inequities that impact these children and teens and makes recommendations for transforming the juvenile justice system so that it meets the unique needs of children and adolescents.

The policy statement revises the 2011 policy “Health Care for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System.”

202009_bedwetting-solutions-expert-pediatrician-offers-help-for-kids Fri, 04 Sep 2020 07:00:00 GMT Bedwetting solutions: Expert pediatrician offers help for kids <p>We asked UC Davis pediatrician Lena van der List about causes, strategies and solutions that can help families beat the bedwetting blues.</p> Bedwetting, also known as nocturnal enuresis, is common in childhood and most children will grow out of it as they age. We asked UC Davis pediatrician Lena van der List about causes, strategies and solutions that can help families beat the bedwetting blues.

What causes bedwetting?

In the majority of young children who experience bedwetting, the main issue is sleep arousal. The brain is not signaling to awaken when the bladder is full, and, at times, doesn’t even signal the child to wake up when wet. Frequently, these kids are extremely heavy sleepers. Kids may also produce more urine than expected at night (which is called nocturnal polyuria) or have small bladder capacity (with frequent small urinations throughout the day and night), which may increase their risk for bedwetting.

Other causes for bedwetting:

  • Constipation, which, if appropriately treated, can alleviate the problem. Constipation causes bedwetting because a large amount of stool may actually push up against the bladder and prevent the bladder from expanding all the way. Doctors may prescribe a medication to help “clean out” the stool and keep your child more regular. The most commonly used medication is a laxative, polyethylene glycol, with the brand name Miralax.
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Genetic predisposition. If one parent experienced problems with nocturnal enuresis, on average, half of their children also will. If both parents did, then three-quarters of their children will.
  • Sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea. It is estimated that 30% of kids with sleep apnea will also have nocturnal enuresis. A child with symptoms of sleep apnea may snore at night, have periods where they seem like they pause breathing or be excessively sleepy during the day - although some kids may exhibit more hyperactivity. Sleep apnea can be diagnosed with a sleep study (these are frequently performed by pulmonologists). If a child is found to have sleep apnea, the most common treatment is removing the tonsils and adenoids (tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy). This allows for a more open airway at night and resolves the apnea. One study from 2016 looked at kids with bedwetting before and after tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy were performed for obstructive sleep apnea. After the surgery, 76% showed complete resolution of bedwetting, however the studies have been mixed on this.
  • There are other more serious conditions including diabetes, spinal cord issues that prevent a normal functioning bladder, and metabolic issues. While these are extremely rare, they should be considered in older kids with persistent enuresis that does not respond to typical treatment.

How can pediatricians help with bedwetting kids?

When you visit your doctor with a bedwetting concern, they may ask you questions like how long has it been going on? What time does it occur most nights? How much fluid and what types of fluid does your child drink in a day? Has your child had any previous “dry” periods? How often do they stool and what is it like? Do they ever have continence issues during the day?

Your child’s physician will perform an exam, which may include a genital exam and a neurologic exam. He or she may perform a urinalysis (where they ask your child to pee in a cup) to make sure there isn’t an infection or signs of diabetes, or extremely diluted urine.

Some physicians may ask you to keep a diary documenting all elimination (stools, day and night-time urination), fluids consumed, or even at times the volume of urine to help pinpoint the problem.

If the doctor doesn’t find a medical problem, how can parents help stop bedwetting?

Well, the first criteria is that the child is motivated for it to stop. If the child is not bothered by the bedwetting, each of these proven methods is much less likely to work:

  • Limit their nighttime fluid intake. A good rule of thumb is for the child to consume two-thirds of their fluid goal before the end of the school day and then one-third of the fluid after school with no more drinking in the last one to two hours before bed.
  • Have a stable bedtime routine. Going pee before bed and first thing upon awakening should always be encouraged.
  • Consider stopping pull ups or diapers at night once they are reliably potty trained during the day. For some kids, these may be used as a crutch and could continue to trick their brains into thinking they don’t have to wake up to urinate.

Do bedwetting alarms work?

Bedwetting alarms are recommended by the International Children’s Continence Society. It is worn attached to the pajamas or underwear and will alert the child as soon as wetness or moisture is detected. At first, the alarm may not wake the child so parents need to play active roles in waking up their kid, walking him or her to the bathroom. Their child should help change the sheets before going back to bed.

The alarm needs to be used nightly and may take two to three months to work, but it has been shown to be very successful in up to two-thirds of children. It also costs about $60 and is typically not covered by insurance so this can be a barrier for some families. It is recommended that parents and kids continue to use the alarm until two weeks of consecutive dry nights!

Are there medications that can help?

The most commonly used medication for bedwetting is called desmopressin. It reduces the amount of urine produced overnight so it may be more beneficial in those kids that produce more urine at night. Studies have shown a 20-30% response. One side effect of the medication can be low sodium, so parents need to be aware of the signs, including confusion, weakness and even seizures.

One other bedwetting medication that is occasionally used is called imipramine. It belongs to a class of medications called tricyclics and is also used to treat depression. It is less frequently prescribed these days because if too much is taken, an overdose may occur. Before starting on this medication, the heart needs to be monitored with an EKG.

There are a few other medications that have been used, but they have a higher likelihood of side effects and are therefore not routinely recommended as a first line of treatment in kids.

What is dry bed training, and how do I do it?

Dry bed training is a more hands-on, parent-led approach.

  • On the first night, awaken the child once every hour until 1 a.m., asking if he or she has to use the bathroom. At the 1 a.m. awakening, tell the child to try using the bathroom, even if he or she is dry.
  • The second night, wake him or her only once, three hours after falling asleep.
  • The third through fifth nights, wake the child once each night. Start at two-and-a-half hours after falling asleep, and keep diminishing the interval each night, so that on the fifth night, the child is awakened one hour after falling asleep.
  • On the sixth night, tell the child to self-awaken from then on.

One older study reported a great than 90% success rate with this method.

What do you recommend when a child has had a dry period for more than six months and then begins to wet the bed again?

This is referred to as secondary nocturnal enuresis. This is often related to a psychological stressor like a divorce or the birth of a new sibling. Exploring what may be bothering your child is a good idea. But the above other medical diagnoses should also be considered.

What’s the best way for parents to respond to bedwetting while still making sure they are being sensitive toward the child?

As kids get older, typically closer to around 6-8 years old, they begin to get self-conscious and embarrassed by bedwetting. They may resist sleepovers. This can affect their self-esteem and friendships. It’s important that the child doesn’t feel like it’s their fault or something is wrong with them.

They should not be shamed. For example, never say “I can’t believe you did this again” or “You are costing us a lot of money having to wash your dirty sheets every night.” It’s important that bedwetting is not discussed in front of the child’s siblings or friends. Parents should reassure the child that it’s normal for his or her age. Act as an ally to the child and show that you’re going to tackle this as a team.

Parents may want to teach the child to do the laundry so they can wash their sheets and pajamas on their own. This should not be treated like a punishment; it is an opportunity for the child to have control over it and limit who knows about it. This also helps develop responsibility. If you approach it in this supportive and collaborative way, most kids will outgrow it.


Healthy Children Bedwetting
Healthy Children Bedwetting in Children & Teens: Nocturnal Enuresis  
Healthy Children Radio: Bedwetting  
International Children’s Continence Society
Enuresis alarms on Amazon  
Kids Considered podcast episode: Bedwetting Basics

202009_duck-dash-goes-virtual-on-sept-26-to-raise-funds-for-uc-davis-child-life-and-creative-arts-therapy Thu, 03 Sep 2020 07:00:00 GMT Duck Dash goes virtual on Sept. 26 to raise funds for UC Davis Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy <p>The 8<sup>th</sup> annual <a href="http://theduckdash.com/">Duck Dash</a> will take place virtually on Saturday, Sept. 26 at 9 a.m. Proceeds will benefit the <a href="https://health.ucdavis.edu/children/clinical_services/child_life_program/">Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department</a> at UC Davis Children&rsquo;s Hospital.</p> The 8th annual Duck Dash will take place virtually on Saturday, Sept. 26 at 9 a.m. Proceeds will benefit the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

Every year, Sacramento area residents “adopt” rubber ducks for the chance to win prizes while supporting hospitalized children. The adopter of the winning duck receives a $1,000 Visa gift card. This year, winning ducks will be plucked from a pool by Canine Companions for Independence facility dogs, while fans watch the livestream. Thousands of ducks will be available for adoption.

Those interested in adopting ducks can go to any of the 26 Sacramento area Quick Quack Car Wash locations between Sept. 15-25. The cost is one duck for $5 or three ducks for $10. 

 “We feel very fortunate to be included in this event,” said Diana Sundberg, Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy manager. “Funds raised by the Duck Dash will be used to help support children while they are in the hospital, including providing toys as well as art and music therapy supplies.”

The Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department at UC Davis Children’s Hospital helps to minimize the anxiety of hospitalization, increase understanding and strengthen coping skills while helping children to continue their typical growth and development.

Download the flyer.

202009_7-year-olds-cancer-diagnosis-led-her-family-to-seek-out-uc-davis-childrens-hospital-and-lor-randall Wed, 02 Sep 2020 07:00:00 GMT 7-year-old’s cancer diagnosis led her family to seek out UC Davis Children’s Hospital and Lor Randall <p>Lydia Alwan&rsquo;s family wanted to save their daughter&rsquo;s leg and her life.</p> It was the spring of 2019 and the Alwan family had returned home from skiing when eldest daughter Lydia began complaining of leg pain. Likely a pulled muscle, they thought. But as the pain worsened, it began waking her up at night so her parents made an appointment to see her pediatrician.

“We took Lydia in and had an exam and x-rays. When we got the news, it felt like the world just stopped,” said Lydia’s mom, Jessica Alwan. Lydia had osteosarcoma.

Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer which tends to occur in teenagers and young adults but can also affect younger children.

Treatment for osteosarcoma usually involves chemotherapy, surgery and sometimes radiation therapy. Doctors select treatment options based on the location, size, type and grade of the osteosarcoma and whether the cancer has spread beyond the bone.

“Lydia’s cancer was in her mid-femur and there was no time to waste,” Alwan said. “We had to get up to speed quickly.”

Alwan and her husband began their quest to get the best in surgical and oncological care for their daughter.

“To save her leg, we needed an expert surgeon, but we also needed a great oncologist,” Alwan said. “We discovered both at UC Davis Children’s Hospital and were confident in her team to guide us in making some of the most important decisions of our lives.”

Musculoskeletal surgical oncologist expert Lor Randall and pediatric oncologist Elysia Alvarez were the dream team the Alwans had hoped for. And they found them just down the hill from their home in Auburn.

“Not only were these doctors the best, they were so close by,” Alwan said. “We knew Lydia’s chemotherapy treatments were going to be intense and would require her to be admitted to the hospital for days, if not weeks at a time. To not have to travel further was a gift. We also have two other children we had to take care of. The location made it easier to manage.”

UC Davis Health Sarcoma Services is comprised of an integrated team of internationally recognized experts,” said R. Lor Randall, professor and chair of Sarcoma Services. “We knew we were poised to provide Lydia and her family with the very best care to be found anywhere. The team is very grateful for the trust that Lydia’s family placed in us.”

The summer of 2019, Lydia underwent successful limb salvage surgery to remove and reconstruct the section of the femur affected by the tumor and subsequently endured 18 rounds of chemotherapy at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of only 50 cancer centers in the country to be designated by the National Cancer Institute. Her last treatment was this past January and to date, Lydia’s scans have been clear.

“We are huge fans of UC Davis. They did so much for Lydia and for our family,” Alwan said. “The doctors are amazing and the nurses are the kindest people on the planet. The care team did everything they could to support us and let us know we were not alone.”

Now in monitoring mode with regular scans, Lydia started fourth grade online, with a full head of hair and the ability to walk without a walker. Just this week she was cleared for jogging and bike riding as well.

“The strength that Lydia has shown is incredible,” Alwan said. “She doesn’t fear the future, but instead, truly appreciates the ‘right now’ … just as she did during treatment. Thanks to UC Davis Children’s Hospital, we have all learned how important it is to live in the moment.”

202008_covid-19-labor-day-playbook-keep-it-small-wear-masks-hold-at-6-feet-dont-give-in Mon, 31 Aug 2020 07:00:00 GMT COVID-19 Labor Day playbook: Keep it small. Wear masks. Hold at 6 feet. Don’t give in. <p>UC Davis experts urge you to help stop another explosion of COVID-19 this Labor Day weekend &ndash; which could be a crossroads in the fight against the coronavirus &ndash; and they offer tips to stay safe.</p> The last hoorah for a very strange summer is coming this Labor Day weekend and UC Davis Health infectious disease and public health leaders are offering a combo of praise and warning: We’re making progress on COVID-19 — don’t blow it.

Infection rates are generally trending down slightly in California, but other holidays this summer have fueled explosions of coronavirus transmissions. We are at a critical crossroads in the fight against COVID-19.

The nationwide summer surge began with careless Memorial Day gatherings. What happens this weekend could determine the path COVID-19 takes for months — and how open or closed communities might be the rest of the year.

“Right now, this epidemic is driven by behavior,” said Brad Pollock, chair of the UC Davis Health Department of Public Health Sciences. “It’s not a lack of tests or therapeutics. It’s behavior. We can slow COVID-19 if we all work together.”

The progress against the coronavirus is fragile. For example, he said, look at the infections that erupted at many college campuses — fueled in big part by parties and large gatherings — just a few days after they started full in-person classes. Some of the many examples:

  • The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa reported more than 1,000 cases.
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill switched to online classes one week into the semester. Its dashboard reported more than 800 cases and a positive test rate above 31%.
  • The University of Iowa reported more than 600 cases and the University of Kansas reported nearly 500 infections.
  • More than 300 cases were found at the University of Missouri in Columbia with a positive test rate of more than 44%.
  • Michigan State, North Carolina State and others went back to online classes for the fall, while Notre Dame stopped in-person classes for at least two weeks.
“It can spread so fast. We can’t let ourselves reverse the progress … This is not a time to say, ‘Things are better.’ This is a time to be better. Wear a mask. Stay 6 feet apart. All of us can help each other and our communities by keeping up the cautions.”

– Brad Pollock

(UC Davis is waiting for guidance from public health officials to decide if it will be able to offer even a small number of in-person classes in the fall quarter.)

“It can spread so fast,” Pollock said. “We can’t let ourselves reverse the progress. We’re turning the corner. We can’t repeat Memorial Day weekend. A new surge means closing things down, maybe until the end of the year, and it means many people will get sick and some will die.”

Pollock said he is hopeful most people understand the critical importance of tamping down their Labor Day doings.

“This is not a time to say, ‘Things are better,’” he said. “This is a time to be better. Wear a mask. Stay 6 feet apart. All of us can help each other and our communities by keeping up the cautions.”

How to enjoy the weekend: Keep it outside and keep it small.

“If you want to get together, do it responsibly,” said Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. “That means keep your 6-foot distance, wear a mask, stay outside and just gather with a couple people. None of this is new, but it is more important than ever. This is a national holiday. Let’s take care of each other.”

The value of staying outside

“Being outside helps because the air flow dilutes the virus,” Blumberg said. “That’s why it’s so important to social distance. It will provide a great deal of protection outside.”

Staying outdoors helps keep you safe because the air flow dilutes the coronavirus.

On the other hand, if the party wanders indoors, everyone is at risk, partly because it is much more difficult to maintain that social distancing inside and because there is much less air flow to dilute the virus, even with windows open.

“There is a much larger volume of air outdoors,” Blumberg said. “We saw the value of that with the recent protests. I’m not aware there were outbreaks related to the protests, but there were big spikes from bars and social events in people’s homes.”

Why size matters

The obvious reason is that small gatherings allow room to physically distance. Less obviously, small gatherings also make it harder for people to forget to distance.

“It’s just human nature to move closer to friends and family at a party,” said Natascha Tuznik, assistant clinical professor of infectious diseases. “And if you’ve been hanging out a while, eating and drinking, you just forget to be careful. So, try to prevent any problems ahead of time.”

It’s largely unnoticed, but California still bans all private gatherings in Sacramento County for people not living in the same household. County officials have said they understand friends and family will still gather, but they urge everyone to keep it to very small groups — like four or six people maximum.

“Give yourself plenty of room to keep people at least 6 feet apart,” Tuznik said. “If you plan it right, you can remove temptations for people to get too close and you won’t have to worry about them forgetting to distance.”

How to remove temptations to get too close

  • Mark off 6-foot distances for tables or zones for each household to put their chairs, if they’re bringing their own.
  • Set up tables for each household with clean plates and utensils.
  • Set a few “visitors chairs” 6 feet from each table so people can mingle.
  • Don’t have communal appetizer or condiment stations.
  • Give every table small bags of chips or nuts or some other party munchies. And give each table their own dips, salsas or condiments.
  • Put masks on each table as party favors, and in case someone did not bring one.

Tips for food

“There is no evidence that food transmits the virus,” Blumberg said. “The risk comes from people getting too close when they serve or eat it.”

One easy solution is to have people bring their own food. But if you want to cook, here is a way to do it safely:

  • Have one person with thoroughly washed hands prepare the food.
  • Put the helping for one household on a serving plate or bowl and place it 6 feet from everyone. Then, that household can pick up their food and bring it back to their physically distanced table.
  • Repeat for the next household/table.

“If you want to get together, do it responsibly. None of this is new, but it is more important than ever. This is a national holiday. Let’s take care of each other.”

– Dean Blumberg

“It’s not the fun of gathering around the grill,” Tuznik said. “But there won’t be utensils or serving bowls handled by multiple people, and everyone can maintain their physical distance.”


“It’s definitely safer if everyone brings their own beverage,” Tuznik said. “But whatever you do, avoid any community pouring like pitchers, shared bottles or kegs.”

However, there is a way to have a distanced-but-shared pour. Person A puts her empty glass on a table and backs away 6 feet. Person B pours wine or some beverage, then moves away. Person A retrieves her glass.

The restroom conundrum

“This is a sticking point for anything we do now,” Tuznik said. “If people are not wearing masks, ask them to put one on before they go inside.”

Other tips:

  • If you have two bathrooms, dedicate one for guests.
  • Put out liquid soap and paper towels — with strips pre-separated.
  • Create a hand sanitizer station for people to clean their hands before they come inside.
  • Limit guests to one person in the house at a time.
  • Space out guest restroom visits with a few minutes between them.

Safest of all: Wait until next year

“My birthday is close to Labor Day,” Pollock said. “I really like to have big parties. It’s a nice day to get together. Almost everyone is off work and we still have some summer. I really enjoy those parties — but not this year. I’m looking forward to the party we’ll have next Labor Day.”

Pollock said think about it this way: Not having a party is doing a good deed for friends, family and the people in your community.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said two-thirds of COVID-19 infections come from people not showing symptoms – either because they’re asymptomatic or the symptoms haven’t developed yet. That means you can’t know if a friend &mdash or you &mdash could be transmitting the coronavirus.

“Any one of us can make things much worse if we’re not careful,” Pollock said. “But each of us can help make things better.”

202008_once-a-nicu-baby-haley-nagle-gives-back-as-a-nicu-nurse Thu, 27 Aug 2020 07:00:00 GMT Once a NICU baby, Haley Nagle gives back as a NICU nurse <p>Born at 36 weeks and at 3 pounds, Haley Nagle spent her first three weeks of life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Now she is a nurse in the UC Davis NICU, providing care to families during their babies&rsquo; first days of life.</p> Born at 36 weeks and weighing just 3 pounds, Haley Nagle spent her first three weeks of life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

It was an emotional time that her parents will never forget. It also cemented her desire to give back as a NICU nurse.

At 3 years old, she remembers taking care of her babysitter who was sick, giving her grapes and trying to help her feel better.

At the age of 13, her best friend had cancer and she watched her battle the disease.

“I would visit her in the hospital, and I remember how her nurses would treat her like a teenage girl, not like a diagnosis,” Nagle said.     

Nagel, who grew up in the Sacramento area, graduated from nursing school at the University of Portland and landed her first job as a home health worker for medically fragile children. 

NICU nurse Haley Nagle with patient Juniper Crawford who was born at 23 weeks gestation. Photo was taken in 2019.

“I loved it. I’m so glad that they gave me that opportunity as a 22-year-old. I was a nurse in a family’s home. You learn that it’s not just a job. The families depend on you and have that trust in you,” Nagle said.

But her dream of becoming a NICU nurse beckoned her back to the Sacramento area. For the past six years, Haley Nagle has called Davis 5, the UC Davis NICU, home.

“Every day I’m thankful to be working with these babies and these parents who are going through the unimaginable and my coworkers, who are so smart,” Nagle said. “Being a NICU nurse is the profession that never stops giving. It’s very rewarding to feel that you’re making a true difference.”

Her day typically involves checking and double-checking patients’ orders, running safety checks on emergency equipment and teaching parents how to feed their baby for the first time or how to give their baby a bath. It’s those special milestones that families never forget.

“When I was growing up, my mom would talk about how those NICU nurses made her feel like I was a human, not a premature baby,” Nagle said. “The nurses gave me Cabbage Patch Kids doll’s clothing that I could wear. My parents still have those clothes 28 years later. It meant something to them.”

These days, Haley says she finds herself going to the linen room and finding baby clothes or a special blanket to give to NICU parents.

“It’s now come full circle,” Nagle said.

Related links

Haley Nagle - Year of the Nurse

202008_triple-the-joy-how-uc-davis-health-handled-a-very-special-delivery- Wed, 26 Aug 2020 07:00:00 GMT Triple the joy: How UC Davis Health handled a very special delivery <p>When Mali-born singer-songwriter Awa Sangho and her husband Ernest Moreno found out she was pregnant with triplets, she turned to UC Davis Health.&nbsp;</p> Mali-born singer-songwriter Awa Sangho has been a rising star on the global music scene. But when she and her husband Ernest Moreno found out she was pregnant with triplets, she turned to UC Davis Health. 

UC Davis maternal-fetal medicine physician Véronique Taché saw Awa for weekly checkups during her pregnancy. Taché and Sangho both speak fluent French so Awa’s appointments were conducted in French.

“Carrying multiple babies can increase your risk for a range of conditions including preterm labor,” Taché said. “We wanted to make sure that she and the babies were growing and developing as they should.” 

At 31 weeks, Awa had high blood pressure during a routine appointment. More tests revealed a preeclampsia diagnosis, which can be life-threatening for both babies and mother. The health care team decided to schedule a caesarean section (C-section) the next day.

Awa’s two sons, Ikai and Ubirajara, and one daughter, Korotimi, were born on July 1.

Ikai and Ubijara weighed more than 3 pounds. Korotimi weighed 2 pounds 8 ounces.

“I was so happy. They were so beautiful and healthy,” Sangho said.

The triplets spent about a month in the UC Davis Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Sacramento’s only nationally ranked level IV nursery.

The Ronald McDonald House Charities, Northern California became a home away from home for Sangho and Moreno, while the babies were in the NICU.

The triplets learned to eat and grew bigger. Korotimi, Sangho’s daughter, fought an infection, but thanks to the care from her NICU team led by Donald Null, she was discharged on Aug. 5, six days after her brothers left the NICU.

As for Sangho, she also battled an abscess at her C-section site and was hospitalized at UC Davis Medical Center for nearly a week, requiring a drain to remove the infected fluid.

“I’m glad that I’m doing better now. I was in good hands. My babies were in good hands. We are thankful to the whole UC Davis Health team,” Sangho said.

202008_uc-davis-childrens-hospital-helps-local-boy-with-kidney-disease-hold-onto-hope-- Tue, 25 Aug 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Children’s Hospital helps local boy with kidney disease hold onto hope <p>Justin Ramirez continues to look forward despite his failing kidney.</p> Meliza Ramirez was eagerly anticipating the arrival of her second child. The ultrasound was fine. There were no warning signs about what was going to be a lifelong struggle.

When her baby boy, Justin, arrived early at 32 weeks gestation, that was a surprise. Then she got another one: Justin only had one kidney.

“I figured it would be something we had to monitor, but I could not have imagined what we would go through,” Ramirez said.

Although most people born without a kidney or with only one working kidney lead normal, healthy lives, that was not the case for Justin. He required a kidney transplant as a baby. A family member was a match and Justin’s surgery took place at UC Davis Children’s Hospital when he was just a year old.   

UC Davis Children’s Hospital has a world-class reputation for kidney transplants in children, ranking #25 in the nation in pediatric nephrology by U.S. News & World Report.

“The surgery went well and we were so relieved,” Ramirez said. “We thought the worst was over.”

The new kidney lasted seven years, but then Justin landed in the hospital with serious lung issues in 2017. He had to be placed in an induced coma, which ultimately led to his body rejecting the transplant.

“They had to take Justin off his anti-rejection drugs so he could fight through his lung issues on his own,” Ramirez said. “From there on, we had to start over and take it day by day. It’s been a rough road.”

The quest for a kidney began again. All the while, Justin’s condition worsened. By March 2018, dialysis became a must, as did constant trips to the pediatric nephrology clinic at the Glassrock Building, spending hours getting treatment and checking on Justin’s condition which has since progressed to Stage 5 chronic kidney disease.

Thanks to the outpatient peritoneal dialysis program, Justin now does dialysis at home for 10 hours each day. UC Davis Children’s Hospital is the only hospital in inland Northern California to offer outpatient peritoneal dialysis for patients under 10 years of age or 44 pounds.

Many people who know Justin’s story have been tested to see if they’re a match. To date, there hasn’t been a suitable donor, but Justin takes it all in stride as he and his mom look forward to his 11th birthday next month.   

“Justin’s a fighter and I know with UC Davis Children’s Hospital on our side, he has the best chance,” Ramirez said. “I am so thankful for the care we have received and the people who continue to help us. You all give us the strength to carry on.”

The UC Davis Transplant Team contributes to the 15,000 kidney transplants performed each year in the United States – of which more than 40 percent come from living donors. Often described as "The Gift of Life," living donation gives recipients freedom from dialysis and allows them to enjoy a longer life, full of energy and productivity. Contact the UC Davis Health Transplant Center at (916) 734-2111 or (800) 821-9912 if you are interested in learning more about the living

202008_costco-to-raise-funds-for-uc-davis-childrens-hospital-during-annual-miracle-balloon-campaign Mon, 24 Aug 2020 07:00:00 GMT Costco to raise funds for UC Davis Children’s Hospital during annual Miracle Balloon Campaign <p>CMN&rsquo;s long-time partner doesn&rsquo;t let COVID-19 stop the giving.</p> Beginning Sept. 1, Children’s Miracle Network Hospital’s biggest partner in hope will once again give shoppers the opportunity to purchase a Miracle Balloon in support of children treated at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. May is typically the month for miracles at Costco, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Children’s Miracle Network campaign to be postponed to September.

All month long, shoppers will be invited to donate at checkout. A total of 19 Costco locations from Redding to Tracy will raise money in support of UC Davis Children’s Hospital. All funds raised locally stay local to support a full range of children's services including research, education and clinical care.

Each of the Miracle Balloons purchased will be displayed at the front of the warehouse during September. In addition to the small Miracle Balloons, individual and corporate members can purchase a six-foot Miracle Balloon for $250, $500 or more that will feature an individual’s name or business name. Other creative fundraising activities increase the fundraising total.

“We are so grateful to Costco for moving forward with this campaign,” said Jacquelyn Miller, executive director of development at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. “Even with the pandemic, this amazing partner remains committed to our pediatric patients because they know kids can’t wait. Not for a vaccine. Not for a cure. Not for the economy to rebound. Kids need life-saving treatment now. The Costco campaign plays a huge role in ensuring our patients continue to get the care they need.”

Costco participates in a month-long Miracle Balloon Campaign at all warehouses in the United States and Canada. The annual Miracle Balloon Campaign is the primary source of the fundraising effort made by Costco and its partnership with Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Costco Wholesale has raised more than $240 million for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals since 1988. Currently, more than 600 Costco locations participate in this fundraising campaign for their local Children's Miracle Network Hospital.

202008_what-you-need-to-know-about-breastfeeding-during-the-covid-19-pandemic- Mon, 24 Aug 2020 07:00:00 GMT What you need to know about breastfeeding during the COVID-19 pandemic <p>Laura Kair, medical director of Well Newborn Care at UC Davis Children&rsquo;s Hospital, addresses some frequently asked questions about breastfeeding, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> August is national breastfeeding month and we asked Laura Kair, medical director of Well Newborn Care at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, some frequently asked questions about breastfeeding.

Can babies get COVID-19 from breastmilk?

Spread of the virus from mother to infant through breast milk does not appear to be a major concern. Women with COVID-19 who are feeling well enough to do so are recommended to breastfeed. In fact, breast milk helps protect babies from viral infections, so it is likely that immune components in the breast milk of a mother with COVID-19 may help her baby fight infection.

Should a mom continue breastfeeding if she has COVID-19?

Yes! We recommend mothers wash their hands and any skin that will be touching baby, wear a mask to prevent the baby from contacting the mother’s respiratory droplets and breastfeed! If a mother is too ill to be around her baby, she should wash her hands, clean her breast and pump supplies, and pump breast milk to be given to the baby.

Does breastmilk help fight against diseases?

Yes! For infants, breast milk helps protect against gut, lung and ear infections, allergic diseases and leukemia. It also is beneficial for optimal neurodevelopment. For women, breastfeeding helps protect against breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer, along with heart disease and diabetes.

How much breastmilk does a baby typically get in a feeding?

For the first week of life, this changes day by day. On the first day, this is as little as 2-10 ml. (about a teaspoon) per feeding and this increases by about 15 ml. or ½ ounce at each feeding per day. By two weeks, babies take about 2.5 oz. per feeding, and by about a month, about 4 oz. per feeding. However, this varies by time of day and for different babies. If pumping and giving breast milk by bottle or freezing milk, it’s good to store in smaller, 2-ounce portions so it is easier to thaw and you can use it all once thawed. The best thing to watch is that baby is growing appropriately, making wet diapers and can be consoled between feeds. Your baby’s primary care provider or lactation consultant can help you come up with a plan if you are separated from baby and determining how much breast milk to put in each bottle and how often to pump.

Is UC Davis a baby-friendly hospital?

Yes! We were just designated in 2020.

Why should a mom seek a lactation consultant?

With your first baby, a lactation consultant can help teach some of the basics, see how baby is feeding and give you tips about a good latch and positioning. For women struggling with low milk production or oversupply, they can help you come up with a feeding plan that works in your life and support you along the way. Not every parent and baby needs to follow with a lactation consultant long-term, but some may find it helpful or find support groups led by a lactation consultant to be helpful.

Can a tongue tie or lip tie create breastfeeding difficulties?

Yes, a tongue tie especially can lead to some difficulties in the baby creating a vacuum in their mouth, staying at the breast, and successfully getting milk out without popping off or causing pain for the mother. Not every baby with a visible frenulum under their tongue has a problem though. It depends how well the baby can feed. A lip tie is a newer consideration and a bit more controversial, as there haven’t been randomized clinical trials looking at whether releasing them helps fix breastfeeding problems. If you have a concern about your baby’s latch or their tongue or lip tie, I recommend discussing it with your baby’s doctor and/or lactation consultant.

What are your thoughts on using lecithin to prevent clogged ducts?

There is not a great deal of scientific evidence to guide an answer to this. Anecdotally, several of my breastfeeding-medicine colleagues at times prescribe sunflower lecithin, given as a powder for women with nipple blebs (also known as milk blisters) or plugged ducts. There are a few reports of this practice in the scientific literature and how to dose it, but currently there isn’t enough evidence from trials for me to specifically recommend it. I do recommend that women with plugged ducts feed directly at the breast, rather than by pump if possible, and talk with their doctors for the latest evidence.  

How do you start weaning?

There’s the how and then there’s the why and when. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and World Health Organization (WHO) recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. The AAP then recommends the addition of complementary foods with continued breastfeeding for at least the next six months, when baby turns a year old. WHO recommends a minimum of two years of ongoing breastfeeding plus complementary foods.

 As toddlers get bigger and eat more table food, they naturally take less and less breast milk. For women who have a reason to want to speed up weaning, I recommend working together with their doctors or lactation specialists. Milk production is all about demand, so the less milk you empty from the breasts, the less your body will make. For women who are pumping, this can mean gradually decreasing the number of pumping sessions per day.

202008_childrens-miracle-network-awards-grants-to-uc-davis-childrens-hospital-for-2020-2022 Wed, 19 Aug 2020 07:00:00 GMT Children’s Miracle Network awards grants to UC Davis Children’s Hospital for 2020-2022 <p>More than $260,000 in CMN donations will support the work of pediatric clinicians and researchers.</p> Thirteen grants totaling $261,307 have been awarded by Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) at UC Davis to clinicians and researchers at UC Davis Children’s HospitalGrants in the amount of $113,729 will enhance the clinical care of children, while $147,578 was awarded for research directly improving the health and welfare of children.

Each fiscal year, applications are accepted by Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) for both clinical services and research grants. Each application must demonstrate how the project or research contributes to UC Davis Health Strategic Goals and/or UC Davis Medical Center Institutional Goals. The amount of funds awarded each year is determined by the CMN Executive Committee and chief executive officer of UC Davis Medical Center.

Clinical services grants funded for fiscal years 2020-2022 for pediatrics are as follows:

Pediatric neurology room enhancement project – Cassandra Ingemansson 

Ultrasound equipment for pediatric vascular access by bedside nurses – Jonathan Trask 

Pediatric type 1 diabetes (T1DM) Spanish language support groups – Diana Arellano 

Promoting early childhood literacy & resilience to discrimination – Ivan Marquez 

In-room cell phone chargers – Sandie Dial 

Educational materials for pediatric hematology/oncology – Melinda Beckham 

Improving newborn hearing screening follow-up and early intervention – Jamie Funamura 


Clinical services grants funded for fiscal years 2020-2022 for the Child Life & Creative Arts Therapy Department are as follows:

300 Sib Sacs – Jessica Vroman 

The Medikin Doll: A child-friendly spin on preparation – Mackenzi Lee 

Welcome to UC Davis Children's Surgery Center: A video tour – Ginger Rounds


Research grants funded for fiscal years 2020-2022 for pediatrics are as follows:

Pilot study of remote glucose monitoring among pediatric patients with type 1 diabetes – Stephanie Crossen 

Cardiovascular effects of prenatal methamphetamine exposure – Deepika Sankaran 

Optimal epinephrine dose in perinatal arrest in extremely preterm lambs – Payam Vali

Special consideration was given to junior faculty members and junior investigators. Faculty mentors reviewed the proposals prior to submission and included a letter of support and a current National Institutes of Health (NIH) biosketch, as applicable.


202008_advice-about-kids-and-covid-19-from-uc-davis-health-expert Tue, 18 Aug 2020 07:00:00 GMT Advice about kids and COVID-19 from UC Davis Health expert <p>More and more evidence shows that coronavirus infections among children are increasing, and that kids can also get seriously ill. Children&amp;rsquo;s infectious disease expert Dean Blumberg offers help.</p> Researchers are finding a growing number of coronavirus infections among kids, although younger children remain a small percentage of COVID-19 cases in Sacramento and throughout the country. But there is no guarantee that won’t change.

“COVID-19 is something we need to take seriously with children,” said Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. “We’ve heard a lot about how it’s milder in children than adults, but it’s important to know that kids get sick, too. Kids get pneumonia, too. Children have died from this, and we’ve had children in the ICU because of this. It can still be severe and scary for them.”

With some schools already starting classes, and new research coming out, both researchers and parents are focusing more and more on the impacts and risks of COVID-19 to children.

National data shows COVID-19 cases among children are increasing.

An August report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that detailed hospitalization rates for children put it bluntly: “Children are at risk for severe COVID-19,” the CDC said.

The report said one in three kids hospitalized with the coronavirus end up in intensive care.

A recent report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association said more than 97,000 U.S. children tested positive for the coronavirus in the last two weeks of July. That’s more than a quarter of all COVID-19 infections among U.S. kids since March.

"It's important not to open schools too early. Even if children are not the primary drivers of transmission, gathering them in classrooms is going to increase the number of cases among children, and they will spread COVID-19 to their families who could then bring it into the community."

Researchers say there may be a number of reasons for the spike – including the spike in COVID-19 cases throughout the U.S. population overall and the likelihood that children are spending more time playing together or in summer activities.

“We also think children may be getting infected from their families more,” Blumberg said. “Their parents are likely out in the community more, whether at work or somewhere else, and they’re bringing it home.”

Children under 10 appear to be less likely to transmit COVID-19 than older kids, teens and adults, partly because they often have less severe symptoms. That means they don’t do some of the things that spread the virus quickly, like cough and sneeze. But less risk doesn’t mean no risk.

“Children can certainly spread the virus to other people, including their families and older adults,” Blumberg said. “So, it’s important, even for parents of young children, not to bring COVID-19 into the household, and to help their children protect themselves with social distancing and with masks.”

Black and Latinx children are disproportionately getting COVID-19

Just as Black and Latinx adults have higher percentages of COVID-19 infections and more serious cases, their children are also disproportionately getting infected and battling more severe COVID-19 illnesses, according to the CDC report on children’s hospitalization rates.

“The differences are pretty dramatic and pretty frightening,” Blumberg said.

According to the report, Black children are five times more likely than white children to have serious cases of COVID-19 that require them to be hospitalized. Hispanic children are eight times more likely.

“Many of these children and their families have less access to care,” Blumberg said. “We think the parents of these kids are more likely to be essential workers in high-risk jobs. They could be working in the food industry, meat packing plants or agriculture where they’re often in crowded conditions with minimal airflow and may not have masks available.”

Where do we stand with back-to-school?

“It’s important not to open schools too early,” Blumberg said. “Even if children are not the primary drivers of transmission, gathering them in classrooms is going to increase the number of cases among children, and they will spread COVID-19 to their families who could then bring it into the community.”

He said before any communities consider in-person classes, the rates of COVID-19 must be low enough in the region to make the risks of getting back into schools manageable.

“California is not there, yet,” Blumberg said. “But it’s important to have these discussions, because if communities practice COVID-19 safety, we might get there in a couple months.”

He also said school officials should be aware of the danger to teachers.

“Those are adults who have a higher risk, in some cases a much higher risk, of both getting sick and having severe cases. Do we want to do that to teachers?” Blumberg said. “There is a danger to whole communities, because outbreaks may be amplified in schools, as we’re seeing in some states now.”

Advice for the time when in-person classes resume

“When the outbreaks are controlled, we need to do this in a rational manner,” Blumberg said. His advice:

  • Keep classes small. “This might mean having a morning session and a separate afternoon session,” Blumberg said.
  • Keep children isolated in small groups and have them stay in one classroom.
  • Prevent those small groups of students from mingling with other kids at recess or in the cafeteria. Each group should have separate recess and mealtimes or arrangements.
  • Be sure to instruct students, and everyone at the school, on the proper use of masks.
  • Be flexible and prepared to shut down if there is an outbreak.

“I would hope schools would be able to social distance and enforce universal masking for everyone – teachers, administrators, staff and children,” Blumberg said. “Once we can get schools open, that’s the only way they can stay open.”

Home schooling pods not likely to reduce risk

Some families have grouped together for at-home learning and other events with their kids. Blumberg warns they may be giving themselves a false sense of safety.

“I don’t think it’s possible for groups of parents to create their own bubbles. I don’t think it’s realistic,” he said. “Most of the time people are fooling themselves when they’re in a pod.”

"Children need to wear masks just as much as anyone else. Kids will wear a mask if they are told to wear a mask."

He said a group would have to be extremely strict about 6-foot-distancing and wearing masks in public, but it’s still very unlikely that everyone in a pod will have no interaction with anyone outside that group.

“Not everyone has the same values, so they will make exceptions for different reasons,” Blumberg said. “People will have contact with people outside the pod, and eventually, every pod will get connected to every other pod. In the real world, creating a bubble is just not possible.”

Kids and masks

“Children need to wear masks just as much as anyone else,” Blumberg said. “Kids will wear a mask if they are told to wear a mask.”

CDC guidelines say any child over age 2 should be wearing a mask in public, unless they have a health reason.

“Part of the issue is that some kids have been allowed to avoid masks for no real reason,” Blumberg said. “If a parent says, ‘Oh, my kid won’t wear a mask,’ then they won’t. If we expect them to wear masks, they’ll do it.”

202008_strategies-for-supplementation-to-breastfed-newborns-vary-widely-among-us-hospitals Mon, 17 Aug 2020 07:00:00 GMT Strategies for supplementation to breastfed newborns vary widely among U.S. hospitals <p>A study led by UC Davis Health found considerable differences in the management of breastfed infants across U.S. hospitals, especially in terms of criteria for medically-indicated supplementation.</p> A study led by UC Davis Health researchers found considerable differences in the management of breastfed infants across U.S. hospitals. The study, published in Hospital Pediatrics, explored the hospitals’ criteria for medically-indicated supplementation of healthy breastfed infants, pumping recommendations and methods for delivering supplementation.

There is no unified, specific criteria or guidelines for which breastfed newborns have a medical indication requiring supplemental feedings with donor human milk or formula.  With the absence of best practices and standard recommendations for supplementation, there was a need to identify current practices and procedures in U.S. hospitals.

“We wanted to identify the practice patterns and provider perspectives on supplementation of healthy breastfeeding newborns across the U.S.,” said Laura Kair, associate professor of pediatrics.

Kair led a survey of 71 U.S. hospitals who are members of the Better Outcomes through Research for Newborns (BORN) research network. These hospitals care for around 10% of newborns born in the U.S.

The study examined criteria hospitals use for when and how to deliver supplemental feedings to breastfed infants and explored hospitals’ pumping recommendations. It found that the approaches used varied considerably across and within hospitals. It highlighted how frequently hospitals’ pumping recommendations were inconsistent with best practices.

How do neonatal departments in U.S. hospitals approach supplementation?

Breastfed infants have fewer ear, gut and respiratory infections, lower risk of leukemia, and improved neurodevelopment than infants who are not breastfed. Women who breastfeed have lower risk of heart disease and breast, endometrial and ovarian cancers. Therefore, identification of ways to best support postpartum women and infants to establish breastfeeding are important for optimal infant and maternal health.

The first few days after birth are a critical time in the establishment of breastfeeding, as frequent feedings help ensure adequate breast milk production. Supplemental feedings, when necessary, can help prevent dehydration and neonatal jaundice requiring phototherapy; however unnecessary supplementation puts the mother and the infant at increased risk for low milk supply and early breastfeeding cessation.

Many hospitals reported using infant weight loss as a criterion for supplementation. The most commonly reported weight loss threshold for initiating supplementation was baby’s weight loss of 10% or more compared to the birth weight. Other weight loss thresholds for supplementation reported by the participating hospitals include:

  • Any weight loss of 4% to 15%
  • Weight loss of 3% in a 24-hour period (mostly for late preterm newborns)
  • Weight loss exceeding the 75th percentile on the Newborn Weight Tool (NEWT) curves.

“We didn’t expect to find such a wide variation in breastfeeding support practices, most pronounced for late preterm newborns,” Kair said.

The study found that human donor milk availability is concentrated in hospitals with the highest prevalence of breastfeeding. Among hospitals with at least 81% breastfeeding initiation rate, 44% of them provided donor milk. This is compared to only 4% of hospitals with less than 80% breastfeeding initiation.

The most commonly reported method for supplementation was bottle feeding (59%), followed by supplemental nursing systems (SNSs) (52%) and finger feeding with a syringe (58%).

“To help improve maternal and child health and to narrow health inequities, there is a need to implement known best practices in hospitals across the U.S.,” Kair said. “Implementing evidence-based management of supplementation among U.S. hospitals has the potential to improve the care of newborns.”

Lactation consultant availability and hand expression education were more consistent among hospitals.


Co-authors are Carrie Phillipi of Oregon Health and Science University, Allison Lloyd-McLennan of Benioff Children’s Hospital, Kimberly Ngo of University of California, Davis, Heather Sipsma of Benedictine University, Beth King of Academic Pediatric Association and Valerie Flaherman of University of California, San Francisco.

This study was funded by a Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health award (K12 HD051958) from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Office of Research on Women’s Health, Office of Dietary Supplements, and the National Institute on Aging (NIA). This work was also supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (UL1 TR001860).

Article: Kair et. al. (2020). Supplementation Practices and Donor Milk Use in US Well-Newborn Nurseries, Hospital Pediatrics, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1542/hpeds.2020-0037

202008_during-the-covid-19-pandemic-mothers-can-still-safely-breastfeed-with-appropriate-precautions Thu, 13 Aug 2020 07:00:00 GMT During the COVID-19 pandemic, mothers can still safely breastfeed with appropriate precautions <p>Mothers with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 can safely breastfeed with appropriate precautions and the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh potential risks, according to a review article published in the American Journal of Perinatology.</p> Mothers with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 can safely breastfeed with appropriate precautions and the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh potential risks, according to a review article published in the American Journal of Perinatology.

The article, published July 21, provides guidance to clinicians and families about breastfeeding during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The benefits of breast milk have been well documented, but this current pandemic may cause mothers to limit breastfeeding efforts to protect their babies. This article reminds care providers and mothers, even those with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infections, that it’s still an important time to continue to breastfeed,” said Ritu Cheema, first author of the article and health sciences clinical assistant professor in the UC Davis Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases.

Some of the article’s key points: 

  • There are very few case reports of COVID-19 being transmitted from a mother to her fetus or newborn. This appears to be a rare event.
  • No compelling evidence suggests the transmission of COVID-19 from mother to baby via breast milk.
  • Mother-baby separation has negative health and emotional consequences for both mother and baby.
  • Maintaining appropriate respiratory hygiene when in contact with the newborn baby is critical.
  • There may be an additional benefit of providing breast milk from a mother with COVID-19 to her baby for specific protection against COVID-19, assuming appropriate hygiene practices are followed.

Based on this information, mothers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infections can and should breastfeed their newborns with appropriate precautions.  Mothers should wear a surgical mask and wash their hands and breasts with soap and water before breastfeeding. During intervals between feeds, it is recommended that the infant’s crib be placed at least six feet from the mother’s bed, preferably behind a physical barrier such as a curtain.

These precautions should be continued until the confirmed COVID-19 positive mother demonstrates an improvement in her symptoms for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, and at least 10 days have passed since she had a fever and her COVID-19 symptoms appeared (or at least 20 days have passed if she had severe illness or is severely immunocompromised as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends).

In an unfortunate scenario where the mother is very sick and cannot directly breastfeed, every effort should be made to feed the baby the expressed breast milk from her if possible. A healthy family member or nurse can feed the baby the expressed milk in a separate room. Breast pump tubing and container should be cleaned after every use and mother should have a dedicated breast pump. Strict hand hygiene must be followed.

“Any mother with a  suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection should not hesitate to breastfeed if she can do it safely and if her health allows,” Cheema said. “Given the potential risk of transmission of infection from anyone infected around the baby, the importance of observing appropriate precautions while handling the baby cannot be overemphasized at the same time.”

Co-authors of this article are Elizabeth Partridge, Laura Kair, Kara Kuhn-Riordon, Angelique Silva, Caroline Chantry, Mark Underwood, Satyan Lakshminrusimha and Dean Blumberg of UC Davis Health, and Maria Bettinelli of the University of Milan.  

202008_racial-socioeconomic-disparities-fuel-increased-infant-mortality-rates-in-california Tue, 11 Aug 2020 07:00:00 GMT Racial, socioeconomic disparities fuel increased infant mortality rates in California <p>While infant mortality rates (IMR) decreased overall from 2007 to 2015 in California, disparities in infant death rates have increased in some groups, including among obese mothers, those who smoke and African American women, according to a new study published in PLOS One.&nbsp;</p> While infant mortality rates (IMR) decreased overall from 2007 to 2015 in California, disparities in infant death rates have increased in some groups, including among obese mothers, those who smoke and African American women, according to a new study published in PLOS One.   

The goal of this study was to better clarify the maternal and infant predictors of infant deaths in California. The study analyzed data from the Birth Statistical Master Files in California, compiled by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Files from a total of 4,503,197 single births, with 19,301 infant deaths, were reviewed.

Key findings of the study include:

  • Children of African American women had almost twice the risk of infant mortality when compared with children of white women.
  • Infants of women with bachelor’s degrees or higher were 89% less likely to die, compared to women with less than a high school education.
  • Infants of mothers who smoked during the first and second trimester of pregnancy were 75% more likely to die than infants of nonsmokers.
  • Infants of women who were overweight and obese during pregnancy account for 55% of the infant mortalities in the study.
  • More than half of the infant deaths were to children of women with lower socioeconomic status.
  • Infants of mothers who participate in WIC, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, were 59% more likely to die than infants of non-WIC participants.
  • Infants with low birth weight and preterm birth were more than six times and almost four times more likely to die than infants who had normal births, respectively.
  • Infants born to mothers under the age of 20 represented 10.9% of infant deaths. Mothers over the age of 40 were associated with 5.6% of the total cases of infant deaths.
  • In rural San Joaquin Valley region, women were 51% more likely to experience infant deaths when compared to urban women living in the San Diego area. 

Reducing disparities

“Infant mortality is a widely-reported indicator of population health, which can potentially be reduced by addressing racial/ethnic and geographic disparities and morbidities of clinical significance,” said Anura Ratnasiri, first author and research scientist at the State of California’s Department of Health Care Services. “Our study showed that taking steps to reduce infant mortality is likely to have a spillover effect on improving the overall health of the population in generations to come.”

The study speculates that the most effective health interventions may be social and public health initiatives that mitigate disparities in sociodemographic, economic and behavioral risks for mothers.

Public education focusing on maternal obesity and smoking cessation may also make a positive impact on all aspects of infant mortality.  Empowering women to attain higher educational goals will likely also improve their socioeconomic status and employment opportunities, which are major indicators of health disparities.

“These results clearly show that we need to focus on the well-being of African American mothers and mothers in the San Joaquin Valley and address issues such as maternal obesity to achieve improvement in IMR,” said Satyan Lakshminrusimha, a study author and physician-in-chief at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

IMR is a standardized measurement of deaths in the first year of life per thousand live births. It is a well-recognized indicator of the general health of the population and has been steadily declining in the United States. The IMR reflects broad socioeconomic conditions, the educational status of the population, maternal behaviors and the quality and accessibility of medical services.

View the study.

Other co-authors on the study are Ronald A. Dieckmann of UC San Francisco; Henry C. Lee and Jeffrey B. Gould of Stanford University;  Steven S. Parry and Ralph J. DiLibero of California Department of Health Care Services; and Vivi N. Arief, Ian H. DeLacy and Kaye E. Basford of The University of Queensland.

202008_fetal-interventions-help-baby-with-hydrops Fri, 07 Aug 2020 07:00:00 GMT Fetal interventions help baby with hydrops <p>Amanda Brazeal was pregnant for the second time. She expected an easy delivery. She could not have known that her baby would have hydrops, a life-threatening condition in which an abnormal amount of fluid builds up in the unborn child.</p> Amanda Brazeal was pregnant for the second time. She expected an easy delivery. She could not have known that her baby would have hydrops, a life-threatening condition in which an abnormal amount of fluid builds up in the unborn child.

But Amanda’s 20-week ultrasound at the Prenatal Diagnostic Center in Stockton revealed a buildup of excess fluid in her unborn baby’s chest. Doctors told her it was bilateral pleural effusions. They also diagnosed her baby with cystic hygroma, a fluid-filled sac created by a blockage in the lymphatic system.

“We weren’t sure what was going to happen. But we opted to have the doctors do what they could,” Amanda said.

The doctors Amanda relied on were part of the team at the UC Davis Fetal Care and Treatment Center in Sacramento, the region’s first comprehensive, multidisciplinary fetal diagnosis and therapy center.

The complications continued. Excess fluid in the unborn baby’s tissues brought the hydrops diagnosis. If left untreated, hydrops is usually fatal. It occurs in one out of every 1,000 pregnancies.

Amanda had never heard of the condition. Doctors told her to treat it, they would insert a small needed into her baby’s chest to drain the fluid – all while in the womb.

“I came back a couple of days later and the fluid came back,” Brazeal said.

This time, the doctors tried a different procedure and placed a small tube called a shunt into the baby’s chest to help remove the excess fluid. After doing this twice, her health care team was hopeful.

“Amanda came to UC Davis twice a week during the entire coronavirus pandemic so we could evaluate her baby. Initially we were very worried that we were going to have to deliver this baby very early and it was going to be very sick,” said pediatric surgeon Payam Saadai.

But Amanda’s baby had other plans. Aria Quin Lee Riley was born at 37 weeks in June, weighing 9 pounds, 14 ounces. The newborn only spent a week in the UC Davis Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, a designated level IV nursery, and then was safely home. 

“It was a stressful time, especially during COVID-19. But our experience has been really good with the team,” Brazeal said.

202008_zulresso-brings-new-mother-back-from-postpartum-depression Wed, 05 Aug 2020 07:00:00 GMT Zulresso brings mother back from postpartum depression <p>The birth of her son should have been a happy time for this new mother. But for Bari, the first three months after she delivered her baby boy were dark. But after taking Zulresso, the first intravenous drug for the treatment of postpartum depression to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), she is able to find joy in her life once more.&nbsp;</p> The birth of her son should have been a happy time for this new mother. But Bari battled with postpartum depression for the first three months after she delivered her baby boy.

“I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was super anxious and rarely left the house,” said Bari, adding that she lost the will to eat and 30 pounds in a short amount of time.

Her depression and generalized anxiety disorder, of which she had a history, also plummeted to new depths of despair postpartum. 

When Bari learned about Zulresso, the first intravenous drug for the treatment of postpartum depression to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), she and her doctor began researching where she could go to get treatment in Southern California, where she lives. Several locations offered the drug, but none was a hospital.

“I didn’t feel comfortable about getting this treatment outside of a hospital. They told me that UC Davis Medical Center offered Zulresso. I thought that was a good option,” Bari said.

Within a couple of weeks, she had a telehealth appointment with Shannon Clark from the UC Davis Maternal-Fetal Medicine Division, who assessed her and approved her for the treatment.

“The nurses were incredible and Dr. Clark was amazing,” Bari said. “Dr. Clark has a background and familiarity with postpartum depression. It wasn’t just any doctor giving me the medicine. She understood and made me feel comfortable.”

The 60-hour treatment, coupled with Bari’s existing anti-depression medication, provided the results she hoped for. Within a couple of days, she went to her first exercise class in months.

“It was the first time I had the motivation to go out and do something like that for myself,” Bari said. 

Not long after her treatment, the coronavirus pandemic hit and shelter-in-place took effect, an emotional time for so many. Bari admits she’s had some down days, but despite these challenges, she can tell that the treatment worked.  

Today, her son Max is 8 months old. She connects with him like never before and appreciates these precious days as a mother.  

“I’m in love with my son. I’m in such a good place,” Bari said.

202008_panda-cares-day-supports-uc-davis-childrens-hospital-patients- Wed, 05 Aug 2020 07:00:00 GMT Panda Cares Day supports UC Davis Children’s Hospital patients <p>On August 8, order online using <strong>PandaCaresDay</strong> promo code to help local kids.</p> Panda Express is hosting a one-day, virtual fundraiser to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN). This Saturday, August 8th, is Panda Cares Day and 28 percent of online sales will be donated when customers use the promo code PandaCaresDay. Place an order on the Panda Express mobile app - available at the App Store or Google Play Store - or on the website and all funds raised locally stay local to help kids treated at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

The philanthropic branch of the company, the Panda Cares Foundation, is behind year-round fundraising efforts at local Panda Express locations. The program’s purpose is to promote the spirit of giving within Panda Express by directly serving the health and education needs of underserved children. Panda Restaurant Group has been a proud CMN fundraising partner since 2007 and has raised $59M through their in-store donation boxes, Associate Giving campaign and annual golf invitationals. 

202008_uc-davis-childrens-hospital-is-named-gold-safe-sleep-champion-by-national-safe-sleep-hospital-certification-program Mon, 03 Aug 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Children's Hospital is named gold safe sleep champion by National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program <p>UC Davis Children&rsquo;s Hospital has been recognized by the National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program as a gold safe sleep champion for its commitment to best practices and education on infant safe sleep.</p> UC Davis Children’s Hospital has been recognized by the National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program as a gold safe sleep champion for its commitment to best practices and education on infant safe sleep. 

The National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program was created by Cribs for Kids®, the only national infant safe sleep organization. Based in Pittsburgh, PA, Cribs for Kids is dedicated to preventing infant sleep-related deaths due to accidental suffocation. As a Nationally Certified Safe Sleep Hospital, UC Davis Children’s Hospital is recognized for following the safe sleep guidelines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and providing training programs for health care team members and family caregivers. 

“Sleep-Related Death (SRD) results in the loss of more than 3,500 infants every year in the U.S.,” said Michael H. Goodstein, neonatologist and medical director of research at Cribs for Kids®. “We know that modeling safe infant sleep in the hospital and providing education to families has a significant effect on infant mortality. The Cribs for Kids Hospital Certification Program is designed to recognize those hospitals that are taking an active role in reducing these preventable deaths.” 

A baby dies every other week within Sacramento County related to unsafe sleep environments. Half of these infants are African American.   

“We are committed to preventing these tragedies and teaching safe sleep practices to all of our new mothers in our hospital,” said Judie Boehmer, executive director of patient care services at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. “Our team is proud to receive this new hospital certification.”

The National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program was created in partnership with leading infant health and safety organizations such as All Baby & Child, The National Center for the Review & Prevention of Child Deaths, Association of SIDS and Infant Mortality Programs and numerous state American Academy of Pediatric chapters and health departments.

“The certification program launched in 2015 in Pittsburgh, PA, home of the Cribs for Kids® national headquarters. Hundreds of hospitals across the US are certified. We welcome UC Davis Children’s Hospital to this expanding group of committed hospitals,” said Judith A. Bannon, executive director and founder of Cribs for Kids®.  “This will have a profound effect on  saving babies’ lives.”

For more information on the Cribs for Kids® National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification program, visit https://cribsforkids.org/hospitalcertification/

202007_uc-davis-health-helps-two-fontan-patients-fulfill-their-dreams-of-motherhood Fri, 31 Jul 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Health helps two Fontan patients fulfill their dreams of motherhood <p>Before the Fontan procedure, most children born with single ventricles would die before their second birthday. These days, the survival rate of these patients has extended through young adulthood and now patients with prior Fontan procedures are interested in trying to have children. UC Davis Health helped two of these patients this year.</p> Born with only one functional heart ventricle, Kayla Price always thought that having a baby wasn’t in the cards.

“I was warned by my doctors from the time I was little. I’ve always known the risks,” said Price, who had her first heart surgery for Tricuspid Atresia at 2 days old. She had her second surgery at 6 months old and the third and final surgery at 2 years old. The three stages of open-heart surgery results in a Fontan circulation, which allows Price’s single good ventricle to pump oxygenated blood to her body, while deoxygenated blood bypasses the heart and flows directly to her lungs.

According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an average of 1,340 Fontan operations are performed annually in the U.S. The first Fontan procedure took place in 1971 by Francis Fontan and Eugene Baudet. The procedure was refined in the 1980s as a three-part surgery.

Before the Fontan procedure, most children born with single ventricles would die before their second birthday. These days, the survival rate of these patients has extended through young adulthood and now patients with prior Fontan procedures are interested in trying to have children.

Kayla Price was one of these patients.

She was very excited when she found out that she was pregnant at age 24. It is estimated that fewer than 10 women with Fontan physiology get pregnant and deliver successfully in the United States every year. Since they are so rare, there’s very little quality data on the risks and outcomes of these pregnancies. Most health care providers recommend avoiding pregnancy to minimize risks to the mother and her heart.

Indeed, Kayla’s primary care provider was not so thrilled. He told her that he couldn’t provide care for her. The limited information available suggests many risks: pregnancy loss, arrhythmia that could lead to a heart attack, blood clots, heart failure, preterm delivery with risks of prematurity and postpartum hemorrhage. Her doctor immediately referred her to UC Davis Health for a second opinion.

The pregnancy journey

The UC Davis Health team rose to the challenge. The multidisciplinary team, including maternal-fetal medicine, pediatric cardiology, obstetrics and pediatric cardiac anesthesiology followed her pregnancy carefully.

“There is a big variation in Fontan patients and some are at higher risk, some are lower risk. It depends on how severe your congenital heart defect is, how well your heart functions and how blue your skin is. The pregnancy risks can vary based on this. In Kayla’s case, her heart was high functioning for a Fontan patient,” said UC Davis pediatric cardiologist Jay Yeh.

Kayla had frequent checkups by Yeh and her maternal-fetal medicine physician Véronique Taché. She had regular obstetric ultrasounds to monitor her baby and echocardiograms to monitor her own heart. The team approach at UC Davis Health ensured that her health care providers met regularly about her progress, with the goal of providing excellent patient-centered care to Kayla and her baby.

Yeh gave her the option to deliver vaginally, but Kayla opted for a scheduled cesarean section. At 38 weeks gestation, Kayla successfully delivered her baby, Brandon, in June. She spent one day in the UC Davis Pediatric and Cardiac Intensive Care Unit for close heart monitoring and then was transferred back to Labor and Delivery.

“Brandon is the best gift! I’ve been so blessed to live to see his beautiful face,” Kayla Price said. “I just want my son to know how special he really is.”

Another Fontan pregnancy

Truckee resident Karla Barrientos, 22, also came to UC Davis Health when she found out that she was pregnant at 12 weeks. Barrientos is also a Fontan patient, who was worried that she and her baby wouldn’t survive the pregnancy.

With help from UC Davis Health, patient Karla Barrientos had baby Andrea.

Karla had her open-heart surgeries at 9 months and at 4 years, with her final Fontan surgery at age 12. She remembers that she couldn’t run or play like other children and required oxygen as she was living in a higher elevation in Truckee. As an adult, she would get tired frequently. Going up stairs was hard, she said.

Karla stopped working shortly after finding out about her pregnancy to minimize her respiratory issues. Her baby, Andrea, was born via scheduled cesarean section at 36 weeks this past May.

“It has been incredibly rewarding to be part of both Kayla and Karla’s journeys as they became mothers for the first time,” said Taché, who cared for both women. “They both recognized the uncertainty of entering a pregnancy with a very rare heart condition and understood the risks. Their care was a true partnership, between the providers and them. In the end, they did quite well and were able to go home from the hospital, babies in their arms. I am honored to have helped these high-risk patients fulfill their dreams of being parents.”

Karla had a very quick recovery post-partum and was able to be discharged from the hospital four days after Andrea was born.

“I didn’t think I was going to make it. I’m so glad that I did. I love being a mom,” Karla Barrientos said.

Karla and Kayla’s babies were born healthy, without congenital heart defects, which can be hereditary. It was news that made both mothers very happy – there was much relief in knowing that their child would not have the same health challenges that they have. 

202007_uc-davis-experts-detail-common-mistakes-about-covid-19 Thu, 30 Jul 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis experts detail common mistakes about COVID-19 <p>Infectious disease experts offer a guide through the science that explains some of the most common mistakes, ranging from hand sanitizer and gloves to herd immunity and long-term impacts.</p> Do not blame yourself. The evolution of COVID-19 information has been the most rapid in medical history. It’s hard to keep up.

That’s why even the most well-intentioned people trying to keep themselves, their families and their communities safe from the coronavirus are still making mistakes.

UC Davis infectious disease experts offer this guide to some of the most common COVID-19 mistakes and the science that explains them. Some are mistaken assumptions, some are errors of execution, and some are because research has progressed.

Contact with a contaminated surface: Not the highest risk

This is an area where information has evolved.

“Stop focusing on contact transmission,” said Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. “That is not a primary route of infection. The primary route is respiratory. If people would focus more on masks and social distancing and less on sanitizing surfaces, we could get this surge of infections to die down quickly.”

Tests have found traces of the coronavirus on different surfaces, but no research has established that the virus is viable in those places, though that’s partly because research has veered in other directions.

Don’t just spray and wipe: One minute of contact time is common minimum

Cleaning is still important, but many people are unaware about the need for most cleaners to remain in contact with surfaces a minute or more.

“A lot of us give something a quick swipe and think we’ve disinfected it,” said Natascha Tuznik, a UC Davis Health assistant clinical professor of infectious diseases. “I don’t know of any product that gets it done with just a swipe.”

So how long should cleaning products stay wet on a surface before you wipe?

“It’s almost always going to be at least one minute,” Tuznik said. “Some are longer. Most people would never think you have to leave something on for 10 minutes.”

To learn the contact time of a cleaner, go to the Environmental Protection Agency’s List N Tool: COVID-19 Disinfectants. It allows people to search by product name, ingredients or registration number for contact time and whether the product works against the SARS CoV-2 virus.

“We see all these pictures of people wiping down things and hear about them giving a place a deep clean if someone tests positive,” Blumberg said. “That’s all useless. Given what we know about contact time and contact transmission, it has no real purpose. It’s for PR.”

Hand sanitizer mistakes: Contact time also required

“We see all these pictures of people wiping down things. We hear about them giving a place a deep clean if someone tests positive. That’s all useless. Given what we know about contact time and contact transmission, it has no real purpose. It’s for PR.”

– Dean Blumberg

“I see people using hand sanitizer then shaking their hands and trying to air dry them,” Tuznik said. “That doesn’t do the trick. For it to be most effective, rub until dry. It doesn’t take much time.”

Also, sanitizer needs to be at least 60% alcohol. The most commonly used safe version is ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol.

Do not use a sanitizer with methanol. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration warned that methanol is toxic and can be absorbed through the skin. It also warned that more than 100 sanitizers have been mislabeled as ethanol. Here is the list.

Don’t forget to moisturize

“All the washing and alcohol can take a toll on skin integrity and potentially even create microtrauma and skin tears you don’t see,” Tuznik said. “These can create an entry for all sorts of bad things. Moisturize every night, if not more.”

No real reason for gloves

There are no studies that show disposable gloves increase protection against COVID-19. The virus won’t infect you through your well-moisturized hands, and remember, contact is not a primary source of transmission. If you do infect yourself, it would be from touching your face – with or without gloves.

In addition, the World Health Organization recommends you wash or sanitize your hands after taking gloves off.

“Toss the gloves,” Blumberg said. “You’re going to sanitize your hands one way or the other. There is no reason to wear gloves, and they might create a false sense of security that gets people to let their guard down.”

Floor fans are dangerous

“Stay away from the big fans like you see at gyms that blow air across a room,” Tuznik said. “They create a focused blast that pushes air and the virus a long way. A number of studies show you can get infected at a good distance because of those.”

Besides gyms – most are closed right now – those fans are also common in outdoor restaurants and other venues where people gather.

“Air flow is good, that’s why outdoor activities are safer,” she said. “But those fans are bad news. When you see one, go somewhere else.”

Masks with filter ports on the side are dangerous.

“Those should be banned,” Tuznik said. “Unfortunately, I see them advertised everywhere. They’re designed for people working around caustic fumes or chemicals – and they force out the air you’re breathing through the port.”

Instead of protecting someone from you, they propel your breath even farther and more forcefully.

“When I see someone wearing those masks, I walk the other way,” she said.

N95s with the filter in the middle also do not prevent someone from spreading the virus. They filter air coming in but do let air out.

Mistaken assumption No. 1: Surviving COVID-19 makes you immune

Large groups have gathered at beaches and lakes assuming no one will transmit the coronavirus because people look healthy. They are wrong. Two-thirds of transmissions come from people who don’t show symptoms.

“We simply don’t know if that’s true,” Blumberg said. “We don’t know if a recovered patient is immune and how long immunity lasts – weeks, months or years. Our best estimates from similarities with other coronaviruses is that it will last a few months.”

That’s why it’s likely people will have to get booster shots after a vaccine is created.

“Without a vaccine and, probably, booster shots, there’s a good chance you could keep getting COVID-19,” he said.

Mistaken assumption No. 2: If enough people get sick, our herd immunity will make the virus disappear

“If we get to herd immunity without a vaccine, that will come at a great cost in human life,” Blumberg said. “Worldwide, we’re not remotely close to the 70-90 percent of people infected that we need. We’re at 2 or 3 percent.”

The great fear is that too many people will get sick at the same time and hospitals will be overrun.

“We saw what happened in New York, Italy and Iran. Look at Florida,” he said. “People died because there were not enough hospital beds, not enough ICUs, not enough doctors and nurses to care for people. To think we could get there without a huge human disaster, possibly millions of lives, is just folly.”

Mistaken Assumption No. 3: Everyone looks healthy so it must be safe.

That has been a common explanation given to news reporters from people – mostly younger people – going to beaches, bars and other large gatherings. They say they feel safe. They are wrong.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about two-thirds of COVID-19 infections come from people who show no symptoms, either because their cases are mild or the symptoms haven’t developed yet.

“You cannot tell by looking at someone,” Tuznik said. “The person behind you, in front of you or next to you could be spreading the virus around like crazy. That’s why you social distance. That’s why you wear a mask.”

Biggest mistake: Not wearing a mask.

Masks help protect you from catching COVID-19. Masks protect your friends, family and neighbors if you have the virus – and you may not know you have it.

“All you need to do to go out in the world and to help us all recover is wear a small piece of cloth,” Tuznik said. “That’s asking so little. Or do you want to be the reason someone you love is in intensive care?”

Related stories:

UC Davis Health expert: Don’t let COVID boredom cloud your judgment on risk
Now what? UC Davis public health expert maps out COVID-19 status and road ahead
"COVID fatigue" is hitting hard. Fighting it is hard, too, says UC Davis Health psychologist
UC Davis experts: Science says wearing masks and social distancing slow COVID-19 (VIDEO)

202007_how-to-talk-about-racism-with-children- Tue, 28 Jul 2020 07:00:00 GMT How to talk about racism with children <p>As our country continues a national conversation about racial injustice, UC Davis pediatrician Mikah Owen shares his thoughts on how parents can talk to their children about race and help create more equity in children&rsquo;s health. <a href="https://health.ucdavis.edu/health-news/contenthub/cmo-hablar-con-sus-hijos-sobre-el-racismo/2020/08">Read the Spanish version.&nbsp;</a></p> As our country continues a national conversation about racial injustice, UC Davis pediatrician Mikah Owen shares his thoughts on how parents can talk to their children about race and help create more equity in children’s health.

Q: How should we talk to young children about race?

A: The majority of brain development takes place within the first five years of life, so children are never too young to be exposed to diversity.  As early as six months of age, babies can notice race-based differences. By age 2-4, children can internalize racial bias. Starting at a very young age parents can expose their children to diverse environments and reinforce the fact that diversity is a strength in our society. Children’s books with diverse characters and positive messages about diversity and inclusion can be great tools for facilitating these types of discussions.

Q: What should our approach be as children get older?

A: As kids get older, check in with them and find out how aware they are of differences between people. What is their awareness about racism, prejudice and the conflict surrounding these injustices? How are they internalizing it?

Oftentimes parents think their teens may not be impacted by local and national events. However, many teens have experienced racism or prejudice on a personal level. Additionally, through the use of social media, many teens may be deeply impacted by the injustices they see online. Check in with them about what they’ve heard and seen, what they think of it, whether it’s upsetting to them, why or why not and start a conversation about how they see the world and build from that.

It’s easy for adults to talk down to teens and that’s a way of alienating them. Try to understand their mindset, understand how they view racism and injustice, understand what type of society they would like to see and have a conversation about their role in achieving that. Adolescents and young adults have  incredible potential to change our society for the better, and to a large degree, they are the ones who are really driving the change and participating in the current conversation and protests in a way that’s really powerful.  

Q: What should parents of white children, in particular, do to help raise children who are anti-racist?

A: Parents need to model positive behavior and be aware of how easy it is for kids to internalize racial bias. Think about a child from birth to age 3, think of all the things they learn through observation. The same way a child can learn to develop language, they can internalize racist and stereotypical attitudes. Be mindful of your own potential biases and the biases of others, be mindful of the type of programming your children watch, expose your children to diversity and always speak of cultural differences in a positive way. As children get older, have conversations about racism and how to achieve a more inclusive society.

Q: As pediatricians, how can we promote equitable care for all children?

A: That’s a great and difficult question. Structural racism is baked into the cake of our society. Its impacts are so pervasive.

The most important thing is to engage young people and their families. Understand, from their lived experiences, what are the strengths of their community, what are the strengths of their child and how do we make those strengths stronger. Understand, from their lived experiences, how are they impacted by racism, by the social determinants of health. What changes are needed in our health care system and in our society to address these issues and how can we support our patients and families in achieving these changes?

You can drive around a community and not see grocery stores, not see green spaces, not see walkable neighborhoods. Then you go to clinic and see many of our patients are overweight. In this example, it’s not surprising that many children are overweight because the community infrastructure is built for that to occur and that infrastructure is a result of generations of structural racism. Though obesity is one example, this same is true for many of the health and well-being issues we see in our patients and their families.

We must work with our patients and families, our policymakers, our legislators and our community organizations to address those structural issues. As physicians, it is important for us to learn to listen to our patients and to those living and working in the communities we serve to have a better understanding of what is needed to achieve health equity.

Q: How does structural racism affect children’s health?

A: The impact of structural racism is pervasive and shapes a young person’s life in numerous ways. It impacts where you live and the housing you have access to. It impacts what you eat and whether you have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. It impacts the quality of your education and the resources you have at school. It impacts the amount of policing in your neighborhood and influences the likelihood that you will have a negative interaction with police. I think it’s hard to overstate the impact that structural racism has on the health, well-being and development of children.

As pediatricians, we know that childhood sets the foundation for the rest of your life. The experiences and environment of childhood have a profound impact on long-term health, long-term well-being and your developmental trajectory. Because of structural racism, children of color have a lot more to overcome compared to their peers.

Helpful Links for parents

The Impact of Racism on Child and Adolescent Health – American Academy of Pediatrics

CNN’s Sesame Street Town Hall on Racism

These Books Can Help You Explain Racism and Protests to Your Kids – New York Times

Police killings and their spillover effects on the mental health of black Americans: a population-based, quasi-experimental study – The Lancet

Common Sense Media resources about race and racism

Black writing for young readers at The Brown Bookshelf

Talking to Children about Racial Bias- Healthy Children

Dr. Bracho Sánchez Teaching Children Cultural and Racial Pride video - Healthy Children

A Parent’s Guide to Preventing and Responding to Prejudice Beyond the Golden Rule

202007_gastroschisis-patient-now-a-happy-healthy-2-year-old- Fri, 24 Jul 2020 07:00:00 GMT Gastroschisis patient now a happy, healthy 2-year-old <p>Early in her pregnancy, Liz Curtis received the life-changing news that her baby had gastroschisis, a birth defect in which the intestines are outside of the body, due to a hole in the abdominal wall.&nbsp;</p> Early in her pregnancy, Liz Curtis received the life-changing news that her baby had gastroschisis, a birth defect in which the intestines are outside of the body, due to a hole in the abdominal wall.

"When we received Charlie's gastroschisis diagnosis, we were pretty surprised. Dealing with a condition we had never heard of with specialist doctors we didn't know existed was something I didn't expect,” said Charlie’s mom, Liz Curtis.

The condition was diagnosed during a 12-week nuchal translucency ultrasound and was confirmed in a 16-week ultrasound. Afterward, Curtis met with many specialists, including the UC Davis Fetal Care and Treatment Center team that regularly treats gastroschisis patients. She toured UC Davis Children’s Hospital and its level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and prepared for what to expect. 

At 34 weeks, Liz Curtis’s water broke and baby Charlie was born. He spent 46 days in the UC Davis Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Thanks to UC Davis Health surgeons, physicians, nurses and his whole care team, his gastroschisis was successfully treated.

“When babies with anomalies like Charlie's are first born, it can be incredibly stressful for parents. By preparing parents in advance, we can help reduce that anxiety so that they can focus on the incredible future ahead for their family,” said UC Davis Fetal Care and Treatment pediatric surgeon Payam Saadai.

These days, Charlie is a healthy and happy 2-year-old, without even a scar to tell the tale.

“You would never know any of that seeing Charlie now. He is a healthy, energetic kid that climbs on everything and is going to be a big brother in October!" Liz Curtis said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1,871 babies are born each year in the U.S. with gastroschisis. July is national gastroschisis awareness month.

202007_10-year-old-girl-fights-leukemia-battle- Wed, 22 Jul 2020 07:00:00 GMT 10-year-old girl fights leukemia battle with resilience, grace <p>When Jessenia Muro was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), she turned to the UC Davis Children's Hospital care team.&nbsp;</p> It should have been a happy occasion.

School had ended last June. Nine-year-old Jessenia Muro was going to meet her new cousin, who was just born. But as Jessenia was getting into her aunt’s car, she turned pale and began gasping for air. Something was very wrong.

Patricia Rodriguez, Jessenia’s mom, called 911 and an ambulance took Jessenia to the emergency room at Adventist Health Lodi Memorial Hospital. They ran tests and determined that Jessenia needed to be transferred to UC Davis Children’s Hospital for more specialized pediatric care.

UC Davis physicians ordered blood work and tests and then Rodriguez received the news that no mother wants to hear: Jessenia had acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL).

“It was hard. Jessenia thought it was her fault. She thought she did something to cause this,” Rodriguez said. “Her primary nurse explained to her that it was not her fault. It was something that happened to her. There was nothing she did wrong.”

ALL is the most common form of leukemia found in children, comprising 30 percent of all pediatric cancers. It is most common in children ages 2 to 5, but can happen to people of all ages. People with ALL can have too many immature white blood cells in their bone marrow, making it more difficult for the body to fight infections.

Jessenia started chemotherapy treatment every two to three weeks. Hair loss followed.

“She liked to do her hair, curl her hair. It was very difficult for her, but I told her it would be okay,” Rodriguez said.  

The UC Davis Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy team helped Jessenia navigate her patient journey. By using dolls, they helped explain medical procedures, from routine lab work to port placement and access, which is how she receives chemotherapy. 

Jessenia also participated in special child life-hosted events at the hospital, art and music therapy groups and worked with Jenna Gonsalves, the on-staff school teacher in the hospital.

“She’s one of the most resilient and personable patients I have ever met,” said UC Davis art therapist Katie Lorain. “It is such an honor to get to work with her during her hospitalizations.”

While getting chemotherapy, Jessenia also received comfort by spending time with Huggie, a Labrador retriever provided by Canine Companions for Independence. Huggie is a facility dog and a team member of the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, who supports pediatric patients during treatment at the Pediatric Infusion Center in the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center.

More than a year later, Jessenia has completed chemotherapy treatment.

“We want to thank all of the doctors that have been taking care of her,” Rodriguez said.

Jessenia is now on maintenance, a phase in which she continues to come to the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center for blood work, tests and continued monitoring. She will continue this through 2022.

 “She knows that she has to have patience, but that we will close this chapter. Then she can start the next chapter,” Rodriguez said. “She is looking forward to it.”

Please follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/UCDavisCancer/ to learn more about our UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center serving California’s Central Valley and inland Northern California.

202007_childrens-miracle-network-donations-help-fund-community-hospital-outreach-program- Wed, 22 Jul 2020 07:00:00 GMT Children’s Miracle Network donations help fund community hospital outreach program <p>CMN grant helps UC Davis Children&rsquo;s Hospital expand Pediatric Acute Care Education Sessions (PACES).</p> Community hospitals treat children with a variety of conditions, but often these facilities don’t have pediatric emergency trained physicians on staff. That's where PACES (Pediatric Acute Care Education Sessions) at UC Davis Health provides valuable assistance. 

This peer-to-peer virtual education program provides pediatric care guidelines, education and implementation support to community hospitals. UC Davis Children’s Hospital, in collaboration with UC Davis Health’s Regional Affiliations and Outreach, was awarded a Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN) grant to develop short instructional videos, or “just-in-time” videos, so nurses can access this resource as needed. The first video produced thanks to the CMN grant was Infant IV Placement.

The PACES team worked closely with community hospital partners to prioritize education topics. Recent webinars included diabetic ketoacidosis, head trauma and BRUE, Brief Resolved Unexplained Event when an infant younger than one year stops breathing. In addition to clinical guidelines and education topics, community partners also idenitified the need for other resources like the "just in time" video series.

With the support of the CMN, additional instructional videos will be developed to meet the needs of community hospital partners, as well as revamp the PACES website, which will provide pediatric education resources and assist local hospitals in improving quality of care and outcomes.

The next PACES session will be a shared learning session on COVID-19 from the pediatric perspective. This July 27 session is scheduled from 12-1 p.m. to share planning strategies in a structured, topic-based roundtable discussion about the pandemic and surge. This PACES session will also provide the opportunity for health care providers to offer each other support and comradery during this uncertain time.

The intended audience is physicians who care for pediatric patients in acute care settings. For more information, please contact Charlaine Hamilton at chamilton@ucdavis.edu.

For more information about PACES, please visit https://health.ucdavis.edu/regional-outreach/PACES.html.

202007_uc-davis-nurses-raise-funds-for-make-a-wish-kids Tue, 21 Jul 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis nurses raise funds for Make-a-Wish kids <p>UC Davis nurses Kendra Teetsle, Janeen Robinson and Deborah Woods are participating in the first Make-a-Wish Trail Blaze Challenge on Aug. 15 to raise funds to support pediatric patients at UC Davis Children's Hospital.&nbsp;</p> UC Davis nurses Kendra Teetsle, Janeen Robinson and Deborah Woods are gearing up to hike 23.2 miles on the Tahoe Rim Trail on Aug. 15. The pediatric hematology-oncology nurses are taking part in the first Make-a-Wish Trailblaze Challenge.

The Trailblaze Challenge is an endurance hike to help Make-A-Wish Northeastern California & Northern Nevada grant wishes to children with critical illnesses in its region. 

Teetsle, Robinson and Woods hope to raise $10,000 for Make-a-Wish. The funds  will support the wishes of UC Davis Children’s Hospital pediatric patients.  

“These wishes provide most families with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, during the most challenging of times for a family,” Deborah Woods said. “As pediatric hematology-oncology nurses, we have a unique appreciation of the impact that granted wishes have in a family’s life. So, like our team name “The Fairy Godmothers,” we want to be part of silver linings and wish granting, during a particularly tough year.”

To donate to their team, “The Fairy Godmothers,” visit their fundraising page.

202007_uc-davis-medical-center-rated-among-the-best-maternity-care-hospitals-by-newsweek Fri, 17 Jul 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Medical Center rated among the Best Maternity Care Hospitals by Newsweek <p>UC Davis Medical Center is one of Newsweek&rsquo;s Best Maternity Care Hospitals in 2020, according to rankings released today.</p> UC Davis Medical Center is one of Newsweek’s Best Maternity Care Hospitals in 2020, according to rankings released today.

Its maternity care program was ranked among the best in the United States, as verified by the 2019 Leapfrog Hospital Survey administered by The Leapfrog Group, an independent national health care watchdog organization.

“We are proud to receive this new honor from Newsweek,” said Brad Simmons, interim chief executive officer of UC Davis Medical Center. “Our maternity care team offers extraordinary expertise and the highest standards of care for every stage of the pregnancy journey. This is especially true for high-risk pregnancies, because we have one of the highest-level newborn intensive care units in Northern California. Congratulations to our hospital team for the excellence they provide to every mother and baby.”

The Leapfrog Group uses data voluntarily submitted by health care facilities to the annual Leapfrog Hospital Survey and Leapfrog Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) Survey. Leapfrog also deploys teams of experts and analysts to review available data and identify high performers.

This “Best Maternity Care Hospital” rating is part of the “Best Health Care” series on top-rated health care enterprises that excel in patient safety and quality from Newsweek, a modern global digital news organization with a monthly readership of 30 million. The news will be published in Newsweek’s July 24 issue, available on newsstands and online starting July 17.

202007_walmart-and-sams-club-cmn-campaign-extended-to-july-31- Fri, 17 Jul 2020 07:00:00 GMT Walmart and Sam’s Club CMN Campaign extended to July 31 <p>Local store associates continue to #HelpKidsLiveBetter by fundraising for UC Davis Children&rsquo;s Hospital through July 31.</p> Walmart and Sam’s Club just announced that the annual Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals fundraising campaign will continue through the rest of July.

The initial campaign featured $1, $2, $5 and open donation options, but with the national coin shortage, stores have been running low on pennies, dimes and quarters during the campaign.

In an effort to fulfill their commitment to #HelpKidsLiveBetter, Walmart and Sam’s Club associates are changing tactics, asking customers to Round Up at both stores beginning Monday, July 20. The Round Up campaign is a simple and easy way to raise funds and hold on to extra coins during the shortage. Customers round up their total to the nearest dollar and donate the difference, eliminating the need for change.

Walmart.com and the Walmart App will also keep their Round Up option through July 31. All funds raised stay local to help sick and injured children in UC Davis Children’s Hospital’s 33-county service area.

202007_radio-stations-dedicate-72-hours-to-uc-davis-childrens-hospital-fundraising-efforts Thu, 16 Jul 2020 07:00:00 GMT Radio stations dedicate 72 hours to UC Davis Children’s Hospital fundraising efforts <p>Radio listeners help sick and injured children in 33-county service area.</p> Spanish language radio stations KGRB Lazer 94.3 FM, KLMG Latino 97.9 FM/KBAA 103.3 and KBBU Radio Lazer 93.9 FM are raising funds for sick and injured children over a 72-hour period through Friday, July 17. Programming will take place 5 a.m.-8 p.m. and will include a mix of patient stories, facts and interviews to raise awareness of and funds for UC Davis Children’s Hospital, the region's only Children's Miracle Network Hospital.

Listeners can either call the Lazer Radiothon at 800-680-3632 to pledge support, or make a donation online:

Latino 97.9 – https://donate.mygift4kids.org/#/donor/y/1979/112/665

La Mejor – https://donate.mygift4kids.org/#/donor/y/1979/112/666

910 AM La Mexicana – https://donate.mygift4kids.org/#/donor/y/1979/112/207

The Radiothon program has been an integral part of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals' fundraising efforts since 1997. More than 300 stations participate in Radiothons annually, raising $50 million annually on average for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals nationally.

The Radiothon is a cooperative effort among Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Lazer radio stations. All funds raised locally stay local, supporting life-saving equipment, research, patient care and programs at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

202007_teens-heart-is-still-going-strong-thanks-to-uc-davis-childrens-hospital Thu, 16 Jul 2020 07:00:00 GMT Teen’s heart is still going strong thanks to UC Davis Children’s Hospital <p>UC Davis pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons gave Damian Del Rio a chance at a future.</p> At just two days old, Damian Del Rio was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) - a very rare combination of four related heart defects that occur together - and was transported to UC Davis Children’s Hospital. While in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), doctors also determined he had bilateral hearing loss

Mom, Beatriz Gonzalez, felt so helpless. 

“Damian was our first child. We were not prepared,” Gonzalez said. “You never think that something like this is going to happen to you.”

At three months old, Damian had his initial heart surgery. Another followed at nine months. The next surgery was at age 2 1/2. More procedures loomed on the horizon and Damian’s bilateral moderate hearing loss only complicated this young boy’s life. 

“I wanted to make his childhood the best it could be, but it was a roller coaster,” Gonzalez said. 

Amid his continued treatment and health struggles, Damian suffered a tragic loss. His dad passed away. This had a big effect on this little boy and his family.

“When his father died, Damian was only 3 ½ but I could tell how much it impacted him,” Gonzalez said. “Over time, Damian began to look at things differently; to appreciate things a lot more. He took obstacles and used them to push him further.” 

Sheer will, combined with quality care from the UC Davis Children’s Hospital team, not only helped Damian survive, but helped his family weather the storms. Fast forward a decade plus and despite his hearing challenges, Damian speaks Spanish, English and American Sign Language and has dreams of becoming a meteorologist.

“The Otolaryngology department has been on top of his needs from day one. They guided me within the school system to ensure Damian had what he needed to excel,” said Gonzalez. “Our experience with cardiology, neurology, gastroenterology and physical therapy have been equally as positive. The staff are so empathetic. They’ve always had Damian’s best interest at heart.”

This honor roll student is not only a star in the classroom, but in his family as well. Gonzalez says her son is sympathetic and takes great care of his sisters, skills she believes he learned during his health journey. 

“The Child Life team was wonderful. They helped Damian deal with his emotions which played a big role in his recovery and his outlook,” Gonzalez said. “He has been fighting since birth, but these obstacles have made him who he is. Outgoing, happy, very giving and, most of all, strong. I am very proud of him and so grateful to UC Davis Children’s Hospital.”

202007_uc-davis-childrens-hospital-gives-local-girl-every-opportunity-to-just-be-a-kid Tue, 14 Jul 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Children's Hospital gives local girl every opportunity to just be a kid <p>Isabella Lazzerini's two rare diagnoses warrant ongoing, specialized care but that doesn't stop her from enjoying life.</p> Guido and Robyn Lazzerini were thrilled when their daughter, Isabella, was born on October 3, 2016 at a local hospital.

No problems had been diagnosed in utero, so no one was prepared when bubbles began coming out of Isabella’s mouth and nose. When she turned blue, panic set in.

Doctors determined that Isabella had Tracheoesophageal Fistula or TEF, a condition where the esophagus is not correctly attached, so she was transferred to another hospital that was better equipped to meet her medical needs. Once there, doctors informed the Lazzerinis that their daughter needed heart surgery so again they were transferred, this time to UC Davis Children’s Hospital. Isabella Lazzerini was just days old and had already been to three hospitals.

“We were in a whirlwind, but everyone at UC Davis Children’s Hospital was there for not only Isabella, but our family,” said Robyn Lazzerini, Isabella’s mother.

Isabella was ultimately diagnosed with a VACTERL Association and the Lazzerini family had a tough road ahead. VACTERL stands for vertebral defects, anal atresia, cardiac defects, tracheo-esophageal fistula, renal anomalies and limb abnormalities. Isabella has three of these birth defects: vertebral defects, cardiac defects and tracheo-esophageal fistula.

The first of many surgeries took place when Isabella was just 4 days old. Surgeons operated on her heart and placed a feeding tube. A week later, Isabella had her TEF repair. An additional diagnosis of Isolated Hemihypertrophy, one leg is slightly larger than the other, increases her risk of liver or lung cancer. She was screened for cancer and will be screened routinely until she is 7 years old.

Isabella Lazzerini falls into many rare, small percentage categories. The chances of a VACTERL Association diagnosis is one in 40,000; for Isolated Hemihypertrophy, it is one in 86,000 children. But Isabella’s parents have ensured that she is treated just like any other kid.

“I had a backpack made for Isabella that fits her feeding pump so she climbs, runs, goes to preschool and loves to play outside,” Robyn Lazzerini said. “Often people have no idea she has an extensive medical history because she is so outgoing.”

Guido Lazzerini is proud of the strides that his daughter has made in the past three years.

“If you think about what she went through and then see her today, she’s a miracle,” Guido Lazzerini said. “She’s super sharp, has so much energy and just loves life.”

Isabella loves to sing and cook in her play kitchen, play soccer, dance, ride horses and do gymnastics. Her parents do not believe she’d be here if it weren’t for UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

“We are so honored to have received care at UC Davis,” Robyn Lazzerini said. “They saved her life. To all the doctors and nurses, to child life and all the specialists who have taken care of Isabella along the way, I just want them to know how grateful we are.”

202007_stephanie-crossen-daphne-say-receive-2020-eli-gold-prize Fri, 10 Jul 2020 07:00:00 GMT Stephanie Crossen, Daphne Say receive 2020 Eli Gold Prize <p>Stephanie Crossen,&nbsp;assistant professor of pediatrics and pediatric endocrinologist, and Daphne Say, health sciences assistant clinical professor and pediatric gastroenterologist, have received the&nbsp;2020 Eli Gold Prize this month.</p> Stephanie Crossen, assistant professor of pediatrics and pediatric endocrinologist, and Daphne Say, health sciences assistant clinical professor and pediatric gastroenterologist, have received the 2020 Eli Gold Prize this month.

“This year was especially competitive with many strong nominations. We are awarding two individuals with this distinction,” said Satyan Lakshminrusimha, pediatrician-in-chief of UC Davis Children’s Hospital. “We are very proud of their accomplishments.”

Stephanie Crossen, a recipient of an National Institutes of Health K12 grant and a highly competitive National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases K23 award, has persevered in her research while also managing a large clinical and teaching workload. She has received awards for her presentations at research meetings and is rapidly achieving prominence in the field of diabetes care technologies and telemedicine. Crossen also provides support for families who need help in between medical visits or who are managing a new diabetes diagnosis.   

Since joining UC Davis Health, Daphne Say has established the UC Davis Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) program. She led the effort for UC Davis Children’s Hospital to join and actively participate in ImproveCareNow (ICN), an international IBD network. Say is also a clinician educator, providing teaching at the bedside during inpatient rounds and in the outpatient setting. She consistently receives excellent ratings from residents and medical students for her teaching efforts.

The prize was named for Eli Gold, former professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Pediatrics, who supported and encouraged many young aspiring pediatricians. It is an annual award of $3,000 that goes toward their research or further career development.

The award is open to any junior faculty member in the department who has achieved prominence in clinical, teaching, research and/or community service. The criteria for identifying the award recipient includes innovation, impact on child health, and impact on UC Davis Children’s Hospital or its community. The award winner is invited to give a lecture on a topic of his or her choice at a Pediatric Grand Rounds.

202007_uc-davis-child-life-and-creative-arts-therapy-team-adapts-activities-crafts-even-bingo-for-kids-during-covid-19 Thu, 09 Jul 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy team adapts activities, crafts, even bingo for kids during COVID-19 <p>Nothing will ever take the place of in-person contact but the COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in new ways to provide activities, crafts, music and art groups to pediatric patients.</p> When the coronavirus pandemic hit in March, the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy team at UC Davis Children’s Hospital had to close the playrooms. But their patients are kids and they needed something.

The answer? The team loaded up carts and brought all their activities, crafts, music and art groups to the pediatric patients’ bedsides.

“This pandemic has taught us how to expand our reach,” said Diana Sundberg, manager of the UC Davis Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department. “Nothing will ever take the place of in-person contact, but this has created positive change for the children, and for us.”

Here is what the daily routine looks like:

  • Each morning, a craft cart makes the rounds to every child’s room with a craft of the day. Playroom coordinator Alix Hobson-Carey drops off supplies for the children who want to work on their own or she works with the kids at their bedsides.
  • Then, an activity cart stops by patients’ rooms twice a day with toys, games and more craft activities. Some items can be kept. Other larger, cleanable items can be checked out and returned. All the toys are cleaned and disinfected once they are returned.
  • Music group and art group are held Monday through Friday via Zoom – like so much else these days. The kids log into their own personal device or borrow one of the hospital’s iPads to Zoom along.
  • Child Life also occasionally hosts special events via Zoom (for example, Pickleberry Pie concerts for kids).
  • On Thursday mornings, it’s Bingo via Zoom. They play three games - two traditional bingo games and one blackout – while staff members and patients swap jokes in between games. Kids with the winning tickets get to choose a prize from the traveling prize cart.

“The Zoom groups are a great way to keep the pediatric patients connected,” said Sundberg. “It helps them to know they are not alone and provides them with a sense of community.”

The technology has also taught the team ways to permanently expand their offerings to children waiting for surgical procedures.

“This has definitely been eye-opening and will be something that we can continue doing long after the pandemic is over and the playrooms reopen,” she said. “The technology has shown us it is a great way to keep all the children connected regardless of their ability to attend groups in person.”

Related stories

Pediatric patients connect to art, music therapy via Zoom during COVID-19 pandemic

Child life team chalks up hope in front of UC Davis Medical Center, Cancer Center

202007_childrens-miracle-network-at-uc-davis-announces-local-2020-champion- Wed, 08 Jul 2020 07:00:00 GMT Children’s Miracle Network at UC Davis announces local 2020 champion <p>Isabella Lazzerini has been a patient at UC Davis Children's Hospital since she was three days old.</p> Every year, Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals across the U.S. and Canada identify a “champion” in their local community to serve as the face for children treated at their local children's hospital. This year, 3-year-old Isabella Lazzerini of Clarksburg has been named CMN Champion, representing UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

Isabella came to UC Davis Children’s Hospital for heart surgery and had a feeding tube placed when she was just days old. She has many rare diagnoses, including a VACTERL Association diagnosis which affects one in 40,000 children, as well as Isolated Hemihypertrophy, which strikes one in 86,000 children and increases her risk of cancer. When Isabella was finally admitted to UC Davis Children’s Hospital, the Lazzerinis felt immediately at home.

“We were in a whirlwind, but everyone who cared for Isabella took care of our family, too,” said Robyn Lazzerini, Isabella’s mother.

Robyn Lazzerini, her husband Guido and children, Jennifer, Jonathan and Luca are proud Isabella is the face of CMN. As ambassadors, the Lazzerinis have spent time advocating for the charitable needs of sick and injured children in UC Davis Children’s Hospital’s 33-county service area. Although COVID-19 has interrupted in-person visits, Isabella now appears on posters and flyers in local Walmart and Sam’s Club stores for the annual CMN fundraising campaign.

“We are thrilled Isabella is this CMN year’s champion,” Robyn Lazzerini said. “We are so honored to have received care at UC Davis. They saved her life. It has become our goal to give back and we encourage you to do the same. Please donate so other kids have the chance Isabella had.”

The CMN Walmart and Sam’s Club campaign runs through July 19.

202007_uc-davis-health-saves-2-year-old-with-dangerously-high-blood-pressure Tue, 07 Jul 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Health saves 2-year-old with dangerously high blood pressure <p>When Owen had an MRI appointment at Mercy San Juan Medical Center, his parents got the shocking news that Owen needed to be immediately transported to UC Davis Children&rsquo;s Hospital via ambulance for monitoring and blood pressure control.&nbsp;</p> Shortly after Owen Rinek’s second birthday, the left side of his face became paralyzed. Was it Bell’s palsy, a temporary and treatable condition caused when a nerve becomes inflamed or swollen? Owen was referred to a pediatric neurologist who ordered an MRI at Mercy San Juan Medical Center.

But during the routine blood pressure check before the MRI, Owen’s blood pressure reading was alarmingly high.

“The nurse said, ‘That can’t be right,’” said Bobbie Rinek, Owen’s mother.

Owen’s family expected a simple MRI appointment. Instead, they got the shocking news that Owen needed to be immediately transported to UC Davis Children’s Hospital via ambulance for monitoring and blood pressure control.

At the UC Davis Pediatric Emergency Room, his blood pressure was 171/124. Just 11 minutes later, it had increased to 197/132.

Discovery of two aneurysms

As they worked to find the cause of Owen’s severe high blood pressure (also known as hypertension), doctors learned he had left ventricular hypertrophy – a thickening of the heart chamber that pumps oxygenated blood from the lungs out to the body. Blood tests, ultrasounds, angiograms and MRIs were conducted, as UC Davis doctors searched for more answers. Teams from neurology, cardiology and nephrology met with the family.

“A nephrologist’s role is to ensure blood pressure is gradually decreased, to look for underlying causes and to monitor kidney function and serum electrolytes,” said Maha Haddad, pediatric nephrologist at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. “In Owen’s case, we found a significant stenosis (or narrowing) of the right renal artery, the blood vessel that goes to the left kidney.”

Along with the stenosis, Owen also had two large aneurysms in the artery. The artery had also narrowed at the end of each aneurysm so blood could not exit that area, causing what is called an outpouching of the vessel.

“They told us it was very rare and they had never seen anything like this before in such a young child,” said Bobbie Rinek. “My anxiety was already through the roof from just the routine MRI procedure, but now, it had honestly turned into the worst moment of my life.

“We feared the Bell’s palsy he had was actually a stroke caused by his high blood pressure,” she said. “As a parent, even though there were no symptoms that could have indicated any problem, you inevitably feel guilty and helpless. You wonder what you could have done differently or what you should have noticed.”

Rheumatology and genetics teams were brought in to review Owen’s case. Thankfully, Owen’s other organs showed no sign of damage and doctors could confirm that he did not have a stroke. It was, in fact, Bell’s palsy.

“The UC Davis doctors exhibited incredible teamwork and attention to detail,” said Joe Rinek, Owen’s father. “It was very obvious they were talking to each other and updating each other on Owen’s status as more information was discovered from the various tests and imaging.”

Catheterization helps lower blood pressure

Owen was discharged from the hospital the day before Thanksgiving. Doctors put him on four different blood pressure medications to take every morning and night.

Since then, Owen has had monthly follow-up appointments at UC Davis Health with nephrology, cardiology and rheumatology. Doctors believe that Owen has fibromuscular dysplasia, a condition that causes narrowing and enlargement of the medium-sized arteries in the body. It can reduce blood flow and affect the organ function. It was this condition that caused his renal stenosis and aneurysms and the resulting high blood pressure.

This spring, Owen had a catheterization procedure with Frank Ing, chief of pediatric cardiology at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. He specializes in cardiac catheterization and less invasive methods for treating children with cardiac issues. Ing is also internationally renowned for performing what are called peripheral interventions (catheterization procedures outside of the heart) to widen vessels and increase blood flow. These less invasive procedures minimize risk and increase recovery time.  

Using a balloon catheter, Ing enlarged the narrowed blood vessel into Owen’s right kidney, significantly improving blood flow into the kidneys. That brought down Owen’s blood pressure to a point where he could eliminate two of his blood pressure medications.

More good news

Last month, Owen had another catheterization procedure and Ing further increased the size of Owen’s blood vessel.  At the start of the procedure, Ing saw that one of the two aneurysms had completed resolved. After the procedure, blood flow improved significantly in the vessel exiting the remaining aneurysm.

“My goal is to increase the vessel size along its entire course, not only to improve flow to the right kidney but also to relieve the pressure inside the remaining aneurysm so it can shrink in size like the first one did,” said Ing. “I am sure the aneurysm developed as a result of the blockage in the vessel and blood just backed up causing the vessel to form the aneurysm. But we have to do this gradually and use the appropriate size balloon.” 

Owen was discharged from the hospital the next day and is now only on one medication at a lower dose than before.

“We are extremely impressed and grateful for how UC Davis handled, and has continued to handle, Owen’s case. It made us feel so much better to see how all the different doctors and departments worked together and how thorough they were,” said Bobbie Rinek. “We are so grateful to have such an amazing team helping Owen through this difficult time.”

202007_walmart-and-sams-club-cmn-campaign-the-show-goes-on Thu, 02 Jul 2020 07:00:00 GMT Walmart and Sam’s Club CMN campaign: The show goes on <p>"Appreciation Tour" takes UC Davis Children's Hospital leadership from Modesto to Redding</p> Despite these challenging times of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals’ (CMN) longest and most avid supporter, Walmart and Sam's Club, pulled out all the stops to proceed with the planned 2020 CMN in-store campaign.

"This is one of few corporate campaigns that weren't cancelled in the wake of the coronavirus, COVID-19, health crisis," CMN at UC Davis executive director Jacquelyn Miller said. "As a non-profit supporting the children's hospital, we rely on the generosity of donors to support our pediatric patients. We are so grateful to Walmart and Sam's Club associates and their customers for giving now because kids can’t wait."

Now in week two of the campaign, team members have had surprise visits from UC Davis Children's Hospital leadership, including nurse managers who are on the frontlines of pediatric care. Their "appreciation tour" is one way to let the stores know how valuable their contributions are, especially in a time like this.

"It is amazing to see the enthusiasm and commitment of the local Walmart and Sam's Club teams," said Patient Care Services executive director Judie Boehmer. "As essential workers, the store employees had been through a lot before this campaign even began. But on our visits, it was apparent that the pandemic had not dampened their spirits. They were all in to help local children and we could not be more appreciative." 

Round up your purchase or make a donation at Walmart or Sam's Club until July 19. All funds raised stay local to support research, education and clinical care at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.


202007_cmn-grant-funds-non-english-caregiver-booklets-about-home-care-of-pediatric-g-tube-patients Wed, 01 Jul 2020 07:00:00 GMT CMN grant funds non-English caregiver booklets about home care of pediatric G-tube patients <p>Russian and Spanish language guides help caregivers understand <span>their child&rsquo;s gastrostomy tube.</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p> Hospitalization is scary for kids, but what can be even scarier is when pediatric patients are discharged. When caregivers assume responsibility for their child’s at-home health care, it can be a difficult transition. It can be particularly hard on non-English speakers. 

A grant from Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) helps bridge the information gap by providing an “Introduction to Your Child’s Gastrostomy Tube” in Spanish and Russian so UC Davis Children’s Hospital patient caregivers have additional resources. The booklet includes information about a child’s gastrostomy tube, how to care for it at home and what to do if there is a problem. Also called a G-tube, a gastrostomy tube is inserted through the abdomen to deliver nutrition directly to the stomach. It's one of the ways doctors can make sure kids with trouble eating get the fluid and calories they need to grow.

Pam Mooney, a clinical nurse specialist with more than 30 years of experience, is the “go to” for pediatric tubes, line or drain questions at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. She authored An Introduction to Your Child’s Gastrostomy Tube” and is the recipient of this grant. These new CMN-funded Spanish and Russian translations of the pediatric gastrostomy booklet can be accessed on the patient education site and the UC Davis Children’s Hospital web page under “Patient and Family Education A to Z.”

202006_a-primer-on-sun-safety-from-a-uc-davis-health-expert Fri, 26 Jun 2020 07:00:00 GMT A primer on sun safety from a UC Davis Health expert <p>It&rsquo;s summer, which means UC Davis pediatricians are fielding questions from families about sunscreen, sunburn and how to best protect children from the Sacramento sun.</p> It’s summer, which means UC Davis pediatricians are fielding questions from families about sunscreen, sunburn and how to best protect children from the Sacramento sun.

Those questions are important. Skin cancer is actually the most common cancer in the U.S. and worldwide – every year, about 5 million skin cancers are diagnosed in the U.S. But skin cancer is also one of the most preventable cancers, and there’s much that people can do to limit exposure and risk.

“We know that sun exposure and sunburns in childhood multiplies the risk of developing skin cancers as adults. And we know that it’s really important to protect our kids’ skin from harmful UV rays,” said UC Davis pediatrician Samantha Goggin. “Just one blistering sunburn in childhood can double the risk of developing melanoma in later life. Establishing sun safety habits early in life is crucial to minimizing the risk of skin cancer in the future.”

The meaning behind SPF numbers

Proper use of sunscreen is crucial to reducing the risk of sun damage and skin cancer. The SPF, or sun protection factor, measures the sunscreen’s ability to prevent damage from UV rays.

But what specifically do the numbers mean? If you are using SPF 30, it will allow 3% of UV rays into your skin. If you are using SPF 50, it will allow about 2% of those UV rays through. 

Most dermatologists agree that it’s best to us a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. It’s also not just the SPF that matters. It’s important to get a sunscreen that is water resistant as well as broad spectrum so it will block both UVA and UVB rays. (UV stands for ultraviolet – a range of  light wavelengths that are not visible to the human eye.) Both UVA and UVB rays are harmful. UVA is associated with skin aging and UBV is associated with burns. 

How to apply sunscreen

While the brand of sunscreen doesn’t matter much, it’s crucial to look at the ingredients. Sunscreen has two main types of ingredients: physical blockers (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) and chemical blockers (avobenzone, oxybenzone and others). Physical blockers tend to have broader coverage and are effective immediately after being applied. Chemical blockers need to be applied 20 minutes before sun exposure. 

However, physical blockers tend to be very thick and can be more difficult to rub in.  They also rub off easier and need to be applied more frequently.   

Whichever sunscreen you choose, it must be reapplied every two hours and after getting in the water, toweling dry or sweating.

Parents also need to remember to apply an adequate amount of sunscreen, and to apply it frequently. For an adult, an ounce – enough to fill a shot glass – is recommended to cover exposed areas. For kids, it’s about half that amount. When in doubt, use too much.

And don’t miss areas like the ears, feet, ankles or neck. Additionally, if you are using bug spray, put it on after applying sunscreen.

It’s important to remember that no sunscreen is completely effective at filtering out all the UV rays, and that using sunscreen doesn’t mean you are completely protected. Hats, protective clothing and sunglasses are also good ways to limit sun exposure.

Spray versus lotion?

Both spray-on and lotion sunscreens work well if used correctly and with the appropriate amount. However, it can often be difficult to get a good application with the sprays and it’s easy to miss some areas or not apply enough.  

Lotions seem to be a little easier to correctly apply a thick, even coat. One caution about the sprays: They can inadvertently be inhaled and cause irritation in some people. So anyone with asthma or  other sensitivities should avoid sprays and particularly avoid spraying it near the face. It’s safest to spray it into your hands and then apply it to your face.  

What kinds of sunglasses are best?

Eye protection is also really important and commonly overlooked. If possible, choose sunglasses that have 100% UVA and UVB protection. A lot of sunglasses do not have adequate UV protection, so check before buying. 

Polarization is also something that can come with sunglasses. Polarized lenses decrease glare from surfaces, but do nothing to protect from UV rays. 

How old should children be to use sunscreen?

The American Association of Pediatrics recommends starting sunscreen use at 6 months of age. 

Before 6 months, make every effort to prevent any sun exposure to infants. Infants are very vulnerable to the sun, so stay in the shade or use protective clothing that effectively covers all exposed skin.  

The most harmful time of the day

It is also best to avoid being outside when the UV penetration is strongest. That’s when the sun is directly overhead, generally between 10 a.m. and 4 pm.

During this period, it’s important to wear sun-protective clothing. Tightly woven or dark-colored clothing is most helpful to block UV rays.

How to treat sunburns

If your child gets a sunburn, there are a few ways to alleviate some of the discomfort. By far, the most important thing to do is also the obvious one: Get out of the sun right away and minimize any further exposure. The redness associated with a sunburn typically shows up two to six hours after exposure and will peak within about 24 hours. The following are other treatment options:

  • Taking a medication like ibuprofen or other NSAIDS can help reduce the swelling and redness associated with a burn
  • A moisturizer that contains aloe vera can be soothing to the skin.
  • Apply a cool compress to the affected area.
  • Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.

“You should see a doctor if your child develops blistering that covers a large part of the body, shows signs of a skin infection – including pus or red streaks leading from the blister – or if the sunburn is accompanied by confusion, high fever, chills or severe dehydration. That might be a sign of heat stroke,” Goggin said.

Related links

Kids Considered podcast episode on sun safety

202006_uc-davis-health-helps-bring-triplets-into-the-world-during-covid-19-pandemic Wed, 24 Jun 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Health helps bring triplets into the world during COVID-19 pandemic <p>When Amanda Boucher found out that she was expecting triplets, she turned to UC Davis Medical Center, which offers expertise across all areas of high-risk obstetrical care. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> When Amanda Boucher found out she was expecting triplets, she and her wife Angela were triply excited.

Boucher had experienced fertility issues in the past and wanted to expand their family. The couple has a 3-year-old son. She used in vitro fertilization (IVF) with embryo donation to become pregnant. The news of triplets came as a huge surprise!

With that welcome news, Boucher turned to UC Davis Medical Center, which offers expertise across all areas of high-risk obstetrical care.   

“I worked at the UC Davis Carmichael clinic so I knew and trusted UC Davis. I knew that they had a Level IV NICU, which is the highest level NICU,” Boucher said.

Multi-fetal pregnancies, in this case triplets, increase risks for both mother and fetuses. Mothers are at increased risk for gestational diabetes, high blood pressure in pregnancy (also known as preeclampsia) that requires a cesarean delivery. The fetuses are at increased risk for birth defects, growth issues, especially being smaller, and the risks of prematurity, if born early.

In Boucher’s case, she also had the additional pregnancy danger of having a set of identical twins as part of her triplets. Identical twins share the same placenta, which can lead to additional pregnancy complications that need to be monitored closely, including twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS).

UC Davis Maternal-Fetal Medicine physician Véronique Taché provided the high-risk obstetrical care, coordinating a treatment plan to benefit everyone and including frequent specialized ultrasounds by highly trained obstetrical sonographers. During these ultrasounds, they monitored the babies’ growth and watched for any developing complications related to TTTS. She also had frequent prenatal care visits to ensure all four of them were doing well. 

When one of Boucher’s babies was diagnosed with fetal growth restriction (FGR), a condition in which an unborn baby does not receive an adequate supply of nutrients during gestation, she had more intensive ultrasound surveillance and monitoring of the babies’ heart rate.

And then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“We wore masks at my appointments and also had telehealth visits. I was definitely worried about giving birth during the pandemic,” said Boucher. “Many other hospitals were limiting visitors to just the mother giving birth. But UC Davis was great. Angela was able to stay the whole time, during the delivery and post-partum as well.”

Their triplets – Myka, Asher and Elliotte - were born at 32 weeks and one day via cesarean section.

“All of them were healthy at birth,” Boucher said. Myka and Asher spent 31 days in the UC Davis NICU, while Elliotte spent 32 days there.  And then were all home. “We had a really good experience at UC Davis. The doctors and nurses were wonderful. The lactation consultant came to visit us in the NICU and provided support.”

Myka, Asher and Elliotte are now happy and healthy at seven weeks old.

“I feel honored that we could be part of Amanda and Angela’s journey by helping bring their triplets into the world,” Taché said.

202006_uc-davis-health-provides-telehealth-services-to-14-counties-in-new-partnership-healthplan-of-california-affiliation Tue, 23 Jun 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Health provides telehealth services to 14 counties in new Partnership HealthPlan of California affiliation <p>UC Davis Health has entered into a new agreement to provide pediatric telehealth services to the 14 Northern California counties that Partnership HealthPlan of California (PHC) serves, starting July 1, 2020.</p> UC Davis Health has entered into a new agreement to provide pediatric telehealth services to the 14 Northern California counties that Partnership HealthPlan of California (PHC) serves, starting July 1, 2020.

PHC is a nonprofit, community-based, public health care organization that contracts with the State of California to administer Medi-Cal benefits through local care providers. PHC covers Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Marin, Mendocino, Modoc, Napa, Shasta, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Trinity and Yolo counties. PHC provides health care to some of California’s most vulnerable populations, which include low-income residents in rural counties, children, those with disabilities and the elderly.

“Health care is driven by patient needs and technology," said David Lubarsky, vice chancellor of human health sciences and CEO of UC Davis Health. “Video-enhanced health care is one lesson learned from COVID-19 – innovate with technology in a human-oriented way that best serves patients. We must provide care where patients want it, when they want it, how they want it, and this new partnership does exactly that for children in these counties.”

The telehealth services will connect providers in these counties with the expertise of UC Davis Health physicians in a range of more than 15 pediatric subspecialties.  

“We are excited to partner with UC Davis to pilot specialty pediatric telehealth services,” said Elizabeth Gibboney, CEO of Partnership HealthPlan of California. “We serve some extremely rural communities that often have to travel long distances for care. Through this new telehealth partnership, not only will our vulnerable children’s population continue to receive high-quality care, but we hope to reduce the stresses and burdens faced by members and families seeking these services.”

The UC Davis Pediatric Telemedicine Program, the first of its kind in the United States, provides clinicians and patients with real-time remote consultation and evaluation through interactive, high-definition video and audio communication. Through enhanced video technology, patients will not have to leave their own community and can gain access to UC Davis Children’s Hospital specialists located hundreds of miles away. These telehealth consultations are a collaborative meeting between the primary care provider, specialist, and patient, strengthening the medical home.

“Access to pediatric subspecialists has been a major challenge in rural North California. Children and their families with special care needs often drive hundreds of miles to seek care. This includes children with diabetes mellitus, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, congenital heart disease and anomalies of the urinary bladder and kidneys,” said Satyan Lakshminrusimha, physician-in-chief at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. “This contract aims to deliver this care to these children in their own community by pediatric subspecialists at UC Davis Children’s Hospital through telemedicine.”

This initiative is part of a goal set by David Lubarsky, vice chancellor and CEO of UC Davis Health, and State Senator Richard Pan to create a “virtual children’s hospital” to cater to the needs of all children in Northern California.

"I applaud the agreement between UC Davis Children's Hospital and Partnership Health Plan of California to provide telehealth access to pediatric subspecialty care at clinics in 14 rural Northern California counties. Children in rural communities will gain access to subspecialty care while this arrangement is an important economic development opportunity for Sacramento as UC Davis further develops our region's telehealth leadership," said Richard Pan, pediatrician and State Senator representing the Sacramento region in the California Legislature.

Partnership HealthPlan of California (PHC) is a nonprofit community based health care organization that contracts with the state to administer Medi-Cal benefits through local care providers to ensure Medi-Cal recipients have access to high-quality comprehensive cost-effective health care. PHC provides quality health care to approximately 550,000 individuals. Beginning in Solano County in 1994, PHC now provides services to 14 Northern California counties — Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Marin, Mendocino, Modoc, Napa, Shasta, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Trinity and Yolo.

UC Davis Children's Hospital is the Sacramento region's only nationally ranked, comprehensive hospital providing care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults with primary, subspecialty and critical care. It includes the Central Valley's only pediatric emergency department and level I pediatric trauma center, which offers the highest level of care for its critically ill patients, as well as a level I children’s surgery center. The 129-bed children's hospital includes the state-of-the-art 49-bed neonatal and 24-bed pediatric intensive care and pediatric cardiac intensive care units. For more information, visit children.ucdavis.edu.

202006_defining-paths-to-possible-mother-to-child-coronavirus-transmission Tue, 23 Jun 2020 07:00:00 GMT Defining paths to possible mother to child coronavirus transmission <p>UC Davis Health physicians defined the conditions of viral transmission from mother to baby during pregnancy and delivery.</p> UC Davis Health researchers took a critical step in defining the possible paths for the severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) causing COVID-19 to get transmitted from the mother to her newborn baby. The mother to fetal transmission is known as “vertical” transmission.

In an editorial published June 5 in the American Journal of Perinatology, the researchers highlighted the importance of understanding the timing and the route of infection in maternal-fetal transmission.

“There is concern that mother’s infection during pregnancy may result in transmission to the baby,” said Dean Blumberg, UC Davis chief of pediatric infectious diseases and first author on the article. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to offer a framework to look at different possible transmission pathways.”

Mother-to-child transmission of SARS-CoV-2

To date, the spread of SARS-CoV-2 from mother to fetus has not been well-established. Yet, there are three potential mechanisms of vertical transmissions of coronavirus:

Viral transmission from mother to fetus (Intrauterine transmission): Vertical transmission may occur at any time during pregnancy. It is possible that the mother may be viremic (virus in the blood) during acute infection, and the virus may be transmitted to the fetus through the placenta. Infection at different stages of pregnancy might affect the fetus in different ways, depending on the stage of fetal development. If transmission occurs late in pregnancy, the newborn may be actively infected at the time of delivery.

The transmission from mother to baby during or directly after delivery (intrapartum transmission): It can occur if the mother or someone with close contact with the baby is actively infected with the virus in the two weeks before delivery or in the two days after birth. This transmission can be present even with an initial negative swab result of the baby’s respiratory tract in the first day after birth, since the incubation period (the interval between exposure to the virus and onset of symptoms) can be up to 14 days. The baby can show a positive swab result between the second day and the 14th day after birth, or a positive test for antibodies during the first two to three weeks of postnatal life. Intrapartum or early postnatal infection could occur through exposure of the newborn to infected maternal blood or secretions.

Superficial exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (transient viremia): It is possible that the child may transiently have a positive test for the virus after delivery without actually being infected. This exposure can happen in case the mother has active viral infection during her last two weeks before delivery or in the first two days after giving birth. If the virus gets detected in the amniotic fluid, umbilical cord blood or in the baby’s respiratory or blood sample in the first day after delivery, the baby might have subsequent negative tests and does not have an immune response that indicates infection.

“In case of the mother’s confirmed infection with SARS-CoV-2, we recommend as a minimum procedure a swab of the respiratory tract of the newborn in the first and second 24-hour periods,” said Satyan Lakshminrusimha, physician-in-chief of UC Davis Children’s Hospital. “If initial SARS-CoV-2 swab tests negative, it may be repeated if the baby shows symptoms. There may be a role for antibody testing in selected patients to diagnose past infection.”

Co-authors in the study are Dean Blumberg, Mark Underwood, Satyan Lakshminrusimha from the Department of Pediatrics and the UC Davis Children’s Hospital, and Herman Hedriana from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the UC Davis Medical Center.


Article: Blumberg, Underwood, Lakshminrusimha, and Hedriana. (2020). Vertical Transmission of SARS-CoV-2: What is the Optimal Definition? American Journal of Perinatology.

Related links:

Maternal and newborn health experts at UC Davis Health share expertise on COVID-19

202006_project-baby-bear-shows-genomic-sequencing-for-infants-in-intensive-care-yields-life-changing-benefits-and-medical-cost-savings- Thu, 18 Jun 2020 07:00:00 GMT Project Baby Bear shows genomic sequencing for infants in intensive care yields life-changing benefits and medical cost savings <p>In a pilot program funded by the State of California, Project Baby Bear demonstrated that a rapid precision medicine program for critically ill babies enrolled in Medi-Cal produced better health outcomes and reduced suffering for the infants while decreasing the cost of their care. UC Davis Children&rsquo;s Hospital was one of five participating hospitals statewide in the pilot program. The pilot program was started at Rady Children&rsquo;s Hospital-San Diego.</p> In a pilot program funded by the State of California, Project Baby Bear demonstrated that a rapid precision medicine program for critically ill babies enrolled in Medi-Cal produced better health outcomes and reduced suffering for the infants while decreasing the cost of their care. UC Davis Children’s Hospital was one of five participating hospitals statewide in the pilot program. The pilot program was started at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego.

Using the most comprehensive genomic test available – rapid Whole Genome Sequencing (rWGS) – Project Baby Bear analyzed the genetic code of 178 infants to provide doctors and families with vital diagnostic information that empowered them to make life-altering medical decisions resulting in shorter hospital stays, fewer invasive procedures and targeted personalized care.

Project Baby Bear helped doctors identify the exact cause of rare, genetic diseases in an average of three days, instead of the four to six weeks standard genetic testing offers. This allowed physicians to deliver timely treatment tailored to the baby’s specific condition.  

Project Baby Bear was funded by the State of California as a $2-million Medi-Cal pilot aimed at examining the benefits of using rWGS to help improve outcomes for infants hospitalized in intensive care with undiagnosed illness and whether the use of this technology would be cost effective.

“Project Baby Bear allowed us to provide accurate diagnosis in more than a third of the tested seriously ill neonates and infants, and, it impacted their management. The essence of this genome project was the clinical acumen and collaboration of the entire patient care team combined with the comprehensiveness of the genetic test and the speed with which results were turned around allowing diagnoses of diseases that are ‘one in a million’ to be made," said Suma Shankar, director of the UC Davis Precision Genomics Clinic and co-lead of the UC Davis site for Project Baby Bear.

Patient blood samples were sent to Rady Children's Institute for Genomic Medicine for sequencing and interpretation from the California Children’s Services accredited regional neonatal and pediatric intensive care units at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, UC San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, Valley Children’s Hospital, CHOC Children’s Hospital and Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego.

The UC Davis Precision Genomics Clinic already uses whole genome sequencing for children with undiagnosed, often congenital, conditions to find the underlying genetic causes and improve their care. 

"Genetic disorders are common in the population and that is why the California state newborn screening program is so critical to screen for genetic disorders early in one’s life. However, there are over 20,000 genes in our genome, thus only a handful of disorders are screened in the newborns period. Rapid whole genome sequencing is not science fiction or experimental – Project Baby Bear has demonstrated that rapid sequencing in newborns save lives and is actually cost effective, and has shown how next generation sequencing has revolutionized the process of making complex diagnoses in pediatric medicine in a matter of days,” said Katherine Rauen, chief of genomic medicine at UC Davis Children's Hospital and co-lead of the UC Davis site for Project Baby Bear.

Download the Project Baby Bear Final State Report. 

202006_uc-davis-healths-wraparound-program-celebrates-two-years- Thu, 18 Jun 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Health’s Wraparound program celebrates two years <p>For the past two years, the UC Davis Health Wraparound program has been offering the Oak Park community ongoing support for these violently injured young people as they return home and recover from their trauma. Last year, the program expanded support to include patients from six other neighborhoods in Sacramento County that have high rates of community violence. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> As a level I adult and pediatric trauma center, UC Davis Medical Center cares for more than 100 violently injured youth each year. For the past two years, the UC Davis Health Wraparound program has been offering the Oak Park community ongoing support for these violently injured young people as they return home and recover from their trauma. Last year, the program expanded support to include patients from six other neighborhoods in Sacramento County that have high rates of community violence.   

“There have been a few misconceptions about our program. One misconception is that Wraparound is a ‘gang’ program or a program for violent patients. Gang affiliation is not a requirement or exclusion criteria for our program. We also believe it has no bearing on the quality of care anyone should receive at UC Davis Health,” said Christy Adams, the trauma prevention coordinator who oversees the program. “We are also not mediators between hospital staff and patients with violent behaviors. Our goal is to find victims who are looking for positive change and bring them comprehensive community-based case management.”

Chevist Johnson and Esmeralda Huerta are the UC Davis violence intervention specialists who support patients ages 13-26 who are enrolled in the program for up to one year. They connect victims of violence with resources for housing, food, jobs, counseling services, victims’ compensation and more. It is a free service.  

The program has helped more than three dozen victims get back on their feet after interpersonal violent incidents, ranging from drive-by shootings to firearm assaults. The program doesn’t support child abuse, domestic abuse or sexual abuse cases and refers these patients to appropriate resources.

“Since beginning the program in 2018, our team has been educating staff on recognizing implicit bias toward patients injured by violence, particularly boys and young men of color. While we are not yet able to establish a causal relationship, we have data showing adolescent patients injured by gun violence are more likely to be admitted to an adult intensive care unit (ICU) than patients of the same age who were injured in a car crash. We are just beginning to explore the clinical, psychological and longer-term recovery implications this ‘adultification’ may have for these youth.”

The program is funded by a $450,000 Kohl’s Cares grant.

For more information about Wraparound, visit https://health.ucdavis.edu/injuryprevention/kohls/youth_violence_prevention.html.

202006_walmart-helpskidslivebetter-through-their-support-of-cmn-at-uc-davis-childrens-hospital Wed, 17 Jun 2020 07:00:00 GMT Walmart #HelpsKidsLiveBetter through their support of CMN at UC Davis Children’s Hospital <p>All funds stay local when you round up at the register beginning June 22.</p> Local Walmart and Sam’s Club stores are once again joining forces to raise money for UC Davis Children’s Hospital during the annual Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN) campaign. From June 22 through July 19 customers can conveniently donate $1 or more when they check out.

Stores across Northern and Central California will encourage shoppers to “round up” at the register, a new feature for this year's campaign. Cashiers will add the donation to the transaction amount. Funds raised stay local and support research, education, clinical care and life-saving equipment to improve and save the lives of sick and injured children in UC Davis Children’s Hospital’s 33-county service area.

Walmart and Sam’s Club joined the CMN Hospitals fundraising family in 1987, underscoring their pledge to give back to local communities. In 2018, Walmart and Sam’s Club passed the $1 billion fundraising mark for CMN Hospitals in the U.S. and Canada, the largest amount raised for a non-profit.

Customers and members can help spread the word about the CMN campaign via social media using the hashtag #HelpKidsLiveBetter.

202006_uc-davis-health-replaces-car-seat-challenge-with-new-standard-of-care Wed, 17 Jun 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Health replaces car seat challenge with new standard of care <p>UC Davis Health is no longer performing routine car seat challenges for newborn infants before hospital discharge.</p> UC Davis Health is no longer performing routine car seat challenges for newborn infants before hospital discharge. In a car seat challenge, infants born before 37 weeks gestation or who, at birth, weighed less than 2,500 grams are secured into a car seat, reclined to the appropriate angle for travel, and nurses monitor the respiration and oxygen levels of the baby for up to 120 minutes before infants can be discharged from the hospital.

Instead, UC Davis Health has adopted a new standard of care to teach parents of newborn patients:

  • Safe positioning of the car seat in the car
  • Proper and safe placement of infants in the car seat
  • The importance of using the car seat only in a motor vehicle and not as a place for sleeping outside of the vehicle
  • The value of having an adult in the back seat to monitor the position of the infant.

The bedside nurse reviews this information with the parents or guardians before hospital discharge.

If a physician has concerns about the safety of a car seat for an infant (due to anatomic abnormalities of the airway), a car seat challenge can be ordered.

“The change was made after a careful review of data which shows that infant death in a car seat during travel other than related to a car accident is extremely rare. Evidence also showed that the current practice of infant car seat challenge increases length of stay in the hospital for infants who fail the challenge without any measured improvement in outcome,” said Christy Adams, trauma prevention coordinator at UC Davis Health.

For more information about these changes, contact Christy Adams at cmadams@ucdavis.edu.

202006_noninvasive-fetal-oxygen-monitor-could-make-for-safer-deliveries Wed, 17 Jun 2020 07:00:00 GMT Noninvasive fetal oxygen monitor could make for safer deliveries <p>A device to directly measure blood oxygen saturation in a fetus during labor has been developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis. By providing better information about the health of a fetus right before birth, the device could both reduce the rate of cesarean sections and improve outcomes in difficult deliveries.</p> A device to directly measure blood oxygen saturation in a fetus during labor has been developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis. By providing better information about the health of a fetus right before birth, the device could both reduce the rate of cesarean sections and improve outcomes in difficult deliveries.

Since the 1970s, U.S. obstetricians have monitored fetal heart rate and the mother’s rate of contractions as a way to assess the health of the fetus during labor. Taken together, these measurements are a proxy for fetal blood oxygen levels. If the fetus is deprived of oxygen before birth, it may suffer lasting damage or die — leading doctors to perform C-sections if they think a fetus is getting into trouble.

This practice has led to a high rate of C-sections, but without much improvement in the rate of fetal complications associated with oxygen deficiency.

“We wondered if we could build a device to measure fetal blood oxygen saturation directly,” said Soheil Ghiasi, professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC Davis.

Results from the work have been presented at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine pregnancy meeting in Grapevine, Texas in February, and in an upcoming issue of IEEE Transactions in Biomedical Engineering.

Direct measurement of fetal blood oxygen saturation

The new device is based on the same principle as the oximeter you might have slipped on your finger at the doctor’s office. Hemoglobin in red blood cells absorbs colors of light differently depending on how much oxygen it has bound. A finger oximeter measures different wavelengths of light to calculate the oxygen saturation in your blood.

Measuring blood oxygen saturation in a fetus within the mother poses additional problems. First, there’s more tissue to get through to reach the fetus, so only a tiny amount of light can be reflected back to be measured noninvasively.

Second, there’s the problem of separating the signal from fetal blood from that of the mother.

Experimental tests in pregnant sheep, published in IEEE Transactions of Biomedical Engineering, show that the new device could accurately measure oxygen levels in the fetus.

Ghiasi became interested in the problem when he and his wife had their first child five years ago. Although like many couples they had wanted a natural childbirth, they found that the care team soon recommended C-section based on fetal monitoring.

Co-authors and collaborators on the work include: Daniel Fong, Kourosh Vali, Jameson Thies, Rasta Moeinzadeh, Weijian Yang and Andre Knoesen, UC Davis Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Kaeli Yamashiro, Laura Galganski, Christopher Pivetti, Aijun Wang and Diana Farmer, UC Davis Department of Surgery; Vivek Srinivasan, UC Davis Department of Biomedical Engineering; Herman Hedriana, UC Davis Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; M. Austin Johnson, University of Utah; Michael Ross, UCLA; and Emin Maltepe, UCSF.  

Initial funding for the project came from CITRIS and the Banatao Institute, and the UC Davis College of Engineering. Subsequent grant support was provided by the National Science Foundation. The project recently received a grant from UC Davis’ CeDAR data science initiative in collaboration with Naoki Saito, UC Davis Department of Mathematics.

UC Davis has filed patent applications on the device, and Ghiasi and Fong have established a company, Storx Technologies, to commercialize the technology. The company recently received a National Science Foundation STTR grant in collaboration with UC Davis and is negotiating to license the invention from the university. Storx Technologies is part of the CITRIS Foundry incubator at UC Berkeley.   

202006_among-the-nations-best Tue, 16 Jun 2020 07:00:00 GMT Among the nation’s best <p>UC Davis Children&rsquo;s Hospital is nationally ranked in four pediatric specialties in the new 2020-21 Best Children&rsquo;s Hospitals rankings by U.S. News &amp; World Report, published online today.&nbsp;</p> UC Davis Children’s Hospital is nationally ranked in four pediatric specialties in the new 2020-21 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings by U.S. News & World Report, published online today

To be nationally ranked in a specialty, a hospital must excel in caring for the sickest, most medically complex patients. UC Davis Children's Hospital is nationally ranked among the nation’s 50 best in these four specialty care areas:

  • 25th nationally in nephrology
  • 26th nationally in neonatology
  • 33rd nationally in orthopedics
  • 36th nationally in urology

The orthopedics and urology rankings were awarded in collaboration with Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California, UC Davis Children’s Hospital’s longstanding partner in caring for children with burns, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic disorders and urological issues.

“The care that we provide to children and families is world class. We are proud that, once again, UC Davis Children’s Hospital is recognized nationally and is among the top 50 in the U.S. News Best Children's Hospitals rankings,” said Brad Simmons, interim chief executive officer of UC Davis Medical Center and its children’s hospital. “Congratulations to our whole team for their stellar pediatric specialty care and their commitment to kids in Sacramento and beyond.”

U.S. News introduced the Best Children’s Hospitals rankings in 2007 to help families of children with rare or life-threatening illnesses find the best medical care available. The rankings are the most comprehensive source of quality-related information on U.S. pediatric hospitals.

The U.S. News Best Children’s Hospitals rankings rely on clinical data as well as an annual survey of pediatric specialists. The rankings methodology factors in patient outcomes, such as mortality and infection rates, as well as available clinical resources and compliance with best practices.

For more information, visit Best Children’s Hospitals for the full rankings.

About UC Davis Children’s Hospital

UC Davis Children's Hospital is the Sacramento region's only nationally ranked, comprehensive hospital providing care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults needing primary, subspecialty and critical care. It includes the Central Valley's only pediatric emergency department and level I pediatric trauma center, which offers the highest level of care for its critically ill patients, as well as a level I children’s surgery center. The 129-bed children's hospital includes the state-of-the-art 49-bed neonatal and 24-bed pediatric intensive care and pediatric cardiac intensive care units. For more information, visit children.ucdavis.edu.

About U.S. News & World Report

U.S. News & World Report is a digital news and information company that empowers people to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. Focusing on Education, Health, Money, Travel, Cars and News, USNews.com provides consumer advice, rankings and analysis to serve people making complex decisions throughout all stages of life. More than 40 million people visit USNews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.


202006_with-the-help-of-uc-davis-childrens-hospital-pediatric-patient-celebrates-turning-nine- Tue, 16 Jun 2020 07:00:00 GMT With the help of UC Davis Children’s Hospital, pediatric patient gets to celebrate turning nine years old <p>Every birthday is a milestone when you have cystic fibrosis.</p> Diagnosed at one month old with cystic fibrosis (CF), Tristan Killough has been treated for this hereditary disease ever since. Because CF affects the lungs and digestive system by producing thick and sticky mucus that can clog the lungs and obstruct the pancreas, he has been hospitalized several times, including a recent stint in the UC Davis Children’s Surgery Center for adenoid and tonsil removal. There have been so many doctor’s appointments and procedures he can’t keep track. But his grandmother can.

“From pulmonology to GI to ENT to the ER, UC Davis has cared about Tristan from the beginning,” Deb Kelso said. “We see Dr. Jhawar most often and from day one, he was invested. I have loved him ever since.”

Despite his CF, Killough is a happy-go-lucky kid whom his grandma calls a “social butterfly.” He just celebrated his ninth birthday on June 11 – a milestone in itself – so the relationship with the UC Davis pulmonology team is a longstanding one … nine years and counting.

“Since he was a baby, Tristan looks forward to coming to the clinic. Everyone there looks forward to seeing him, too,” Kelso said. “It warms my heart to see how the staff lights up when Tristan arrives for his appointments. They make him so comfortable. They’re just awesome.”

These visits have not only been important for Killough’s health, but for his spirit. Since CF patients have to be especially careful of air quality, they often have to spend more time inside. A big ask of a little boy.

“I do the best I can to keep him active but the outings to Sacramento help. When he can go outside again, he wants to play football. He's done things like ice hockey and Children’s Miracle Network Dance Marathons in the past,” Kelso chuckled. “Tristan loves to dance. You should see his moves.”

With the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, Kelso faces indoor challenges once again. However, there are promising advancements in the treatment of CF so there could be additional help in the future. Kelso looks forward to that day because her grandson has big plans for the future.

“Tristan has so many dreams. He wants to go to college. He’s a great artist. He just loves life,” Kelso said. “I am so glad we are part of UC Davis. To all those who have supported us, I just want to say, ‘Thank you.’”  

And, we just want to say, ”Happy Birthday, Tristan.”

Related Information:

New UC Davis cystic fibrosis parent peer support group launched

Cystic fibrosis diagnosis leads one family to move closer to UC Davis Children's Hospital

202006_new-uc-davis-cystic-fibrosis-parent-peer-support-group-launched- Mon, 15 Jun 2020 07:00:00 GMT New UC Davis cystic fibrosis parent peer support group launched <p>A new parent peer support group launched on Saturday via Zoom for parents and families of UC Davis pediatric cystic fibrosis (CF) patients.</p> A new parent peer support group launched on Saturday via Zoom for parents and families of UC Davis pediatric cystic fibrosis (CF) patients.

The group provides a venue for parents to share their experiences caring for a child with CF. It is hosted by UC Davis pediatric pulmonologist Rory Kamerman-Kretzmer and nurse specialist Kim Jahnke.

“At UC Davis, our pediatric cystic fibrosis team knows that living with CF can be an isolating experience, not only for patients but for their parents and caregivers. Anxiety and depression are common in the CF community across the country, especially among parents, and people with CF are generally unable to physically gather in supportive groups due to infection risks,” Kamerman-Kretzmer said.

Six families virtually attended the first group meeting. The group is a free service that will continue on a monthly basis, with weekend and weekday evening times to accommodate the busy schedules of families.  

“The group went great and was well received by the families who participated,” said Kamerman-Kretzmer. “By connecting families virtually across Northern California, we feel that parents can be a source of support for each other.”

202006_crossen-leads-telehealth-how-to-videos-for-pediatric-endocrine-society Mon, 15 Jun 2020 07:00:00 GMT Crossen leads telehealth how-to videos for Pediatric Endocrine Society <p>As more health care providers adapt to telehealth to care for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, some are finding occasional challenges with the experience when it&rsquo;s new to them. Now, some help is available in a new set of how-to videos for health care providers from UC Davis pediatric endocrinologist Stephanie Crossen.</p> As more health care providers adapt to telehealth to care for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, some are finding occasional challenges with the experience when it’s new to them. Now, some help is available in a new set of how-to videos for health care providers from UC Davis pediatric endocrinologist Stephanie Crossen.

Crossen shares her expertise alongside Jennifer Raymond, pediatric endocrinologist from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. They address some common challenges and answer questions that many providers face in telehealth. These videos, produced by the Pediatric Endocrine Society, are free to view:

View part 1: https://pes-video.s3.amazonaws.com/TeleHealth/TH+VIDEO+1.mp4

View part 2: https://pes-video.s3.amazonaws.com/TeleHealth/TH+Video+1.2.mp4

Crossen has practiced telehealth for more than six years and has authored multiple articles on the use of telemedicine in pediatric and adolescent diabetes care. Most recently, she authored the top 10 tips for successfully implementing a diabetes telehealth program, which was published in the journal Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics. 

202006_northern-california-hospital-partnership-saves-local-girls-life Thu, 11 Jun 2020 07:00:00 GMT Northern California hospital partnership saves local girl’s life <p>From Red Bluff to Redding to Sacramento, Harper Bruckenstein held on for dear life.</p> Although the baby was a few weeks early, Jenneca Bruckenstein’s delivery at Elizabeth’s Hospital in Red Bluff was fairly routine, just like with her other child, Khaleesi. But just days later, newborn daughter Harper Bruckenstein went into heart failure. 

“I was expecting to be discharged,” Bruckenstein said. “Then out of nowhere, Harper wasn’t well. We never anticipated this would happen.” 

The baby was transferred to Mercy Medical Center in Redding where it was determined Harper needed to be rushed to UC Davis Children’s Hospital. It was her only hope. 

“They thought she might pass away,” Bruckenstein said. “We were so scared.” 

What the Bruckensteins didn’t know is that the partnership between Mercy Redding and UC Davis meant Harper was headed to the UC Davis Pediatric Heart Center, which offers the most sophisticated, diagnostic, interventional and surgical expertise. 

“They quickly knew what was wrong and diagnosed Harper with truncas arteriosis,” Bruckenstein said.  “She needed immediate surgery.” 

Truncus arteriosis is a complex cardiac defect that must be repaired early in life. The surgery involves separation of the arteries that feed the lungs from the single artery leaving the heart. A hole is made in the right ventricle and the ventricular septal defect (VSD) is closed through this hole and a new pathway to the lungs is created. Often a hole between the upper pumping chambers is also closed. 

The Bruckenstein family: Harper, Casey, Jenneca and big sister, Khaleesi.

UC Davis pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon Gary Raff performed the procedure to close Harper's VSD. It worked. 

“Harper was quite small at the time of surgery, but I think the contribution of her parents was critical to our ability to help her recover and thrive,” said Raff. “Despite the magnitude of the surgery and another child to care for, Harper’s family did a great job working as part of the care team in an effort to get her home.” 

The feeling of appreciation is mutual. Bruckenstein glows when she talks about Raff. 

“Dr. Raff is our hero. He was phenomenal,” Bruckenstein said. “When you ask what UC Davis Children’s Hospital means to me, it’s simple. It means Harper’s life.” 

Harper Bruckenstein is now a spunky toddler who her family calls Hops. 

“Our little girl has come SO far. Hops is thriving. Happy, salty and sweet … and everything in between,” Bruckenstein quipped. “She’s the exact opposite of her sister and I love it! Experiencing joy and precious moments with both my sweet daughters is what I live for. I can't wait for Dr. Raff to see Harper and Khaleesi now.”

202006_how-schools-might-reopen-safely-amid-coronavirus-pandemic Tue, 09 Jun 2020 07:00:00 GMT How schools might reopen safely amid coronavirus pandemic <p>We asked Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Children&rsquo;s Hospital, about some health and safety measures that K-12 schools should consider when navigating reopenings.</p> School districts nationwide are discussing ways to safely reopen this fall during the COVID-19 pandemic. We asked Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, about some health and safety measures that K-12 schools should consider when navigating reopenings.

Q: What do we currently know about the novel coronavirus, how COVID-19 is spread and how might that impact schools as they consider reopening?  

A: As of right now, we know that coronavirus transmission is primarily via the respiratory route – droplets -- that stay in the air for up to six feet. COVID-19 transmission via touching contaminated surfaces seems to be less important. The vast majority of the population is susceptible to COVID-19 since this is a novel virus with very little population immunity from past infection. In addition, there is currently no vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

Children who are infected generally have a mild disease, compared to adults. However, COVID-19 transmission can still come from symptomatic students, as well as those who are asymptomatic or presymptomatic, but still infectious.

Q: What are some basic principles that schools should adopt to safely reopen during COVID-19?

A: I would recommend that schools follow current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, as well as state and local guidance and school district leadership. The CDC has recently released a flow chart to help provide some guidance on reopening amid the novel coronavirus.

Some common-sense approaches would be:

  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces (doorknobs, light switches, countertops).
  • Wear cloth face coverings, as feasible.
  • Promote hand hygiene. Cover your cough. Schedule routine handwashing.
  • And use social distancing.

Q: How should schools follow social distancing guidelines?

A: Some of the basics would be:

  • No large gatherings for events or sports (and that schools seek state and local guidance on what those limits look like).
  • No activities with close contact (P.E., choir, music).
  • Ensure spaces between desks (minimum of six feet), all facing the same direction.
  • Minimize interactions in common areas (e.g. eat lunch in the classroom rather than a lunchroom).
  • Reduce class sizes. This could be achieved by splitting classes into a.m. and p.m. groups, or by having students attend school on alternate days or weeks.
  • Stagger lunchtimes, recesses and breaks. Stagger arrival and dismissal times.
  • For children in junior high and high school who rotate to different rooms, classes of students could stay together in one classroom while teachers rotate to them.

Q: What else should school communities be prepared for?

A: Schools should be prepared for change based on community spread of coronavirus. Expect school dismissals if there is an upsurge in COVID-19 cases in the community, possibly for short periods of time, in addition to further restrictions. Also, be prepared for school employees to miss work when they’re sick, since adults with COVID-19 are more likely to have symotoms compared to children.

Other resources

COVID-19 Planning Considerations: Return to In-person Education in Schools

Childcare, Schools, and Youth Programs: Plan, Prepare and Respond

Cleaning and Disinfection for Community Facilities

AAP guidance on school reopening addresses physical and mental health, instructional time

EPA Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2

Complex health considerations make reopening California schools a challenge

202006_pediatric-resident-promotes-health-equity- Mon, 08 Jun 2020 07:00:00 GMT Pediatric resident promotes health equity <p>An abstract by UC Davis pediatric resident Jess Huang has been accepted as a poster presentation at this month&rsquo;s Academy of Communication in Healthcare (ACH)&rsquo;s Healthcare Communication Virtual Research Forum.</p> An abstract by UC Davis pediatric resident Jess Huang has been accepted as a poster presentation at this month’s Academy of Communication in Healthcare (ACH)’s Healthcare Communication Virtual Research Forum.

“Promoting Health Equity of Dari and Pashto-speaking Children by Adapting Established Literacy Resources” demonstrates how Huang provided books written in the Pashto and Dari languages to refugee children who sought care at the Sacramento County Health Center (SCHC), where UC Davis pediatric residents do their clinical rotations. A Children’s Miracle Network grant funded the purchase of the books.

“One-third of the non-English speaking children seen at the SCHC are from Dari and Pashto-speaking families, but they are excluded from Reach Out and Read programs because materials available are only in English and Spanish,” Huang said. “Once my mentor Erik Fernandez y Garcia and I saw this disparity, we created a solution to address it.”

Huang will also be speaking at the ACH Healthcare Communication Virtual Research Forum about quality improvement techniques used to implement the process.

202006_qa-with-new-community-pediatrician-mikah-owen Mon, 01 Jun 2020 07:00:00 GMT Q&A with new community pediatrician Mikah Owen <p>A Q&amp;A with Mikah Owen, who joined UC Davis Health last month as an assistant clinical professor in pediatrics, with a focus on community pediatrics.</p> Mikah Owen joined UC Davis Health last month as an assistant clinical professor in pediatrics, with a focus on community pediatrics, the practice of promoting and integrating the positive social, cultural and environmental influences on children's health. Owen was formerly a UC Davis pediatric resident and was previously employed at the University of Florida’s College of Medicine – Jacksonville in community and societal pediatrics.

Q: What brings you back to Sacramento and UC Davis?

​A: I was born and raised in Sacramento and completed my pediatric residency here at UC Davis Health. This new position allowed me to come home and pursue my passions for community health and child health equity.

Q: What does your new role entail?

A: ​Clinically, I will be a primary care provider mostly at the County of Sacramento Primary Care Center. I will also be working to develop and support community-based health initiatives, aimed at improving overall child health and well-being in the Sacramento region. Part of this role will be working with the Sacramento County Health Department. 

Q: What are some of your goals in this new position?

​A: Overall my goal is to strengthen partnerships between our academic medical center, the community, government and private sectors to help establish and strengthen Sacramento as the type of community where all children have an equitable chance to reach their full potential.

Q; What do you enjoy most about your job?

​A: I like working to engage young people as leaders and facilitating youth participation in matters that affect them.

Q: I understand you’ve also recently received a new fellowship. Congratulations!

A: Yes, I was accepted into the Pozen-Commonwealth Fund Fellowship for Health Equity Leadership at Yale University. The UC Davis Department of Pediatrics has graciously agreed to let me pursue it and I will be starting in July, but will continue to be based here in Sacramento.

More information about the commitment of UC Davis Health to low-income patients and medically underserved communities is here.

Related stories

UC Davis doctors care for kids at Stockton community clinic

 REACH helps homeless children cope


202005_uc-davis-infectious-disease-experts-have-some-warnings-about-covid-19-and-summer Fri, 29 May 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis infectious disease experts have some warnings about COVID-19 and summer <p>Summer means warm weather and relaxed social restrictions for COVID-19, but UC Davis experts warn that the disease may stay just as contagious, especially with large gatherings.</p> Summer is coming and COVID-19 restrictions are easing. That means people are changing what they do both indoors and outdoors, raising new questions about staying safe.

Two UC Davis infectious disease experts explained what is changing. Both had the same strong warning.

“Stay the heck away from people,” said Jonathan Eisen, a professor at the UC Davis Genome Center and in the School of Medicine department of microbiology and immunology. “If they are not your family or cohabitants, the risk hasn’t gotten any less.”

“The most important thing people can do is maintain physical distancing,” said Dean Blumberg, UC Davis chief of pediatric infectious disease. “Summer doesn’t change that.”

Both said their second most important advice is to continue wearing a mask to reduce the spread of the virus. “If you care about protecting your friends and family and your community, you’ll wear a mask,” Blumberg said. “If there are benefits of summer and heat slowing transmissions, wearing a mask will greatly increase those.”

Generally, coronaviruses like the one causing COVID-19 tend to wane in summer for a handful of reasons. But not always, Blumberg said, and too little is known about this one to make any prediction.

“I can’t say with confidence either way, whether transmissions will continue at a high rate or whether we’ll have a break,” he said. “The H1N1 influenza in 2009, for instance, didn’t slow down at all. Right now, we still have more than 95% of the population susceptible to COVID-19 infection. It still has the potential to spread through the population like a wildfire.”

When coronavirus spread is slowed in summer, there are three factors.

  • People spend more time outdoors and often are more spread out, so they’re less likely transmit the virus.
  • Coronaviruses tend not to survive well in heat.
  • The virus also tends to have a shorter survival in humidity.

“But we just don’t know if these summer factors will have an impact,” Blumberg said. “The reason we are seeing fewer infections right now is because of the strict social distancing we’re doing.”

In fact, he said, the large beach, river and park gatherings recently could be creating another wave of infections.

“We may not know for one-to-two incubation cycles (of up to 14 days each), meaning we could have a new wave in about a month,” Blumberg said. “I can’t urge people strongly enough to avoid any large gathering where they can’t social distance, and to wear a mask when you’re out.”

One thing experts do know is that being indoors creates a higher risk of transmissions because people are closer together. And the hottest summer days tend to keep people inside.

“In Sacramento and Davis, summer also means people spend more time indoors,” Eisen said. “It’s even more important to practice social distancing and to wear a mask in indoor public places.”

Air conditioning can be a useful filter

Eisen said air conditioning, especially in homes and buildings with good filtration systems, will potentially help reduce the amount of the virus in the air. Bringing in outdoor air by opening vents or windows can also help reduce transmission risk in indoor spaces.

He said there were initial concerns that the virus was small enough to pass through air conditioning filters. Now scientists know the virus in the air is almost always attached to something such as droplets, cells or tiny bits of dirt.

“The size of the virus turns out to be not as important as the size of the particle it’s on,” Eisen said. “The well-maintained air systems of many buildings should filter out most of it.”

The experts had some additional advice about the safety of places we are likely to go and things we’re likely to do in summer.

Outdoor exercise

“A short exposure outdoors should not be a problem,” Blumberg said. “It doesn’t worry me at all on the bike trail when someone passes another person. There’s very low risk.”

Outdoor parties

“Any mass gathering is risky, but being outside helps because the air flow dilutes the virus,” Blumberg said. “That’s why it’s so important to social distance. It will provide a great deal of protection outside.”

Backyard barbecues

If people physically distance, wear a mask (when not eating or drinking), and wash or sanitize their hands, Eisen said, the transmission risk is low. But he had a few caveats:

He said there is no evidence that the virus is transmitted by food, but it can survive on surfaces and objects such as furniture, door handles and food utensils. Although the risk of transmission from these surfaces is currently unknown (his lab is studying that question), he said people can reduce the risk by avoiding those surfaces when possible and cleaning them often when they can’t, using their own utensils, and washing their hands after contact.

“The biggest issue for gatherings is likely going to be the bathroom,” Eisen said. “Even if people are not wearing a mask outside, when they come into the house to use the bathroom, that’s a good time to put one on. This would reduce risk of transmission both to and from that person.”

He suggested minimizing time indoors for bathroom visits, avoiding contact with surfaces such as door handles as much as possible, and thorough hand washing for at least 20 seconds. In addition, he said, try to space out the time between bathroom visits among guests.

The mall

“There will be a lot of people in that large building, so take social distancing very seriously and wear a mask,” Eisen said. “If it’s busy, you might want to turn around and come back another day.”

He said the biggest risk will likely be in the mall bathrooms.

“They’re small, there could be lots of people in there, and the air circulation isn’t the best,” Eisen said. “Since we don’t yet know how infectious the virus is on surfaces, if you can avoid using the restroom, you should reduce your risk of picking up the virus. I know that can be hard, but you might want to make that part of your decision process.”

Swimming pools

“The virus is not transmitted by water,” Blumberg said. “But be sure the pool is well maintained.”

For public pools, Blumberg cautioned again about avoiding crowds outside the water or in a snack bar line. “If you’re going to stay at the pool, social distance and maybe bring your own food,” he said.

Sports events

“First there is the crowd factor, even at a softball game,” Blumberg said. “And any activity that increases the virus in the air, such as singing or cheering for a team, greatly increases the risk.”

202005_uc-davis-health-scores-big-at-healthcare-advertising-awards Thu, 28 May 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Health scores big at Healthcare Advertising Awards <p>UC Davis Health scored big at the Annual Healthcare Advertising Awards, the largest health care advertising awards competition in America.</p> UC Davis Health won six awards, four of them gold, from the prestigious 37th Annual Healthcare Advertising Awards, the largest health care advertising awards competition in America and one of the most respected.

A national panel of judges reviewed more than 4,200 entries from across the country based on creativity, quality, message effectiveness, consumer appeal, graphic design and overall impact. The medal rankings are shared among several winners.

UC Davis Health’s marketing team, led by Michele Taber, took awards in a wide range of categories, including an Integrated Marketing Campaign gold for the “Sacramento’s #1 Hospital” campaign, which put UC Davis Health alongside other winners like Mount Sinai Health Systems and Anderson Cancer Center.

UC Davis won golds across the advertising spectrum for the Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Synthesis Magazine in the category for External Publication, for the Children’s Hospital Annual report in the annual report category, and for the St Baldrick’s “Rock the Bald” poster in the posters category.

In addition, the UC Davis Health Magazine won silver and the “Choosing UC Davis” open enrollment booklet was given an award of merit.

“All the projects we entered were produced by our in-house staff,” said Taber. “I’m exceedingly proud of the caliber of work coming from our creative team.”

The UC Davis Health marketing unit is responsible for the development, production and oversight of all advertising and marketing programs in support of UC Davis Health and its mission. The team advances UC Davis Health’s brand and tells its story both internally and to the community. The unit also conducts a variety of studies including advertising research, consumer opinion surveys and other constituent research.

The Healthcare Marketing Awards are based in Marietta, GA and were founded as a national competition to recognize and advance the highest standards of marketing and advertising in health care.

202005_distance-learning-brings-later-school-start-times-chance-for-more-sleep-for-children Wed, 27 May 2020 07:00:00 GMT Distance learning brings later school start times, chance for more sleep for children <p>As schools across the country have turned to distance learning during COVID-19, a new opportunity has emerged for children: later school start times &ndash; and the chance for more sleep.</p> As schools across the country have turned to distance learning during COVID-19, a new opportunity has emerged for children: later school start times – and the chance for more sleep.

Gone are zero-period classes and the need to wake up in the early hours to catch the bus or bike to school. Children now only need to roll out of bed and turn on their computers to start their school day.

But is it still important for children to keep a regimented sleep and wake time schedule? Should they be sleeping in? What about late nights? 

UC Davis pediatricians Helaine St. Amant and Jason Lau answered some sleep-related questions.

Q: What are the benefits of later school start times?

A: Later start times have been linked to better overall health and school performance, particularly among teens. Last October, California became the first state in the nation to mandate later school start times for middle and high schools to help teens get the sleep they need.

Q: How many hours should children get for maximum benefits?

A: Several studies indicate that adolescents need the same amount of sleep as pre-adolescents: 8.5-9.5 hours per night. The difference in teens is that the times they more naturally fall asleep and wake up may be closer to 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. The data are pretty convincing that kids of all ages need a routine amount of sleep to facilitate optimal growth and development.

Q: Does it matter when kids are getting to bed if they get 8.5-9.5 hours?

A: The concern is, if you tell teens to go to bed earlier, such as 9 p.m., they may not fall asleep until 11 p.m. That will mean the number of actual sufficient sleep hours will be fewer when they are being awakened at 6 a.m. for school, despite having been in their beds for the nine hours. 

Q: Should sleep times be consistent each day? For example, if you go to bed at 11 p.m., should you aim to keep that as your routine?

A: Keep weekends similar to weekdays. With current shelter-in-place orders, the loss of “weekday” routines doesn’t change the importance of keeping sleep times consistent. Some other tips:

  • Keep to a regular daily routine. Keep waking times, mealtimes, activity times and bedtimes the same each day to establish that routine.
  • Stop screen time at least an hour before bedtime. Exposure to screens, including TV, mobile devices and video games, can delay sleep.
  • Encourage quiet activities before bed, such as taking a bath, reading a book or listening to soothing music.

Q: How important is a sleep routine?

A: As many parents try to create a routine for their kids to replace daycare or school, incorporating sleep into the routine is a very important component. Even though kids won’t have to get up at specific times to catch the bus to school, structuring their sleep schedule will help them structure their daily routines.

202005_breastfeeding-moms-find-valuable-support-online-despite-covid-19 Tue, 26 May 2020 07:00:00 GMT Breastfeeding moms find valuable support online despite COVID-19 <p>When the COVID-19 pandemic began, UC Davis Health moved its in-person weekly breastfeeding support group online. The lactation team now hosts Zoom meetings, providing the same resource that new mothers can access from the comfort of home.&nbsp;</p> When the COVID-19 pandemic began, UC Davis Health moved its in-person weekly breastfeeding support group online. The lactation team now hosts Zoom meetings, providing the same resource that new mothers can access from the comfort of home. 

“We do introductions and then allow each mom to ask questions related to her circumstances. When there is a general concern about their babies’ growth spurts or a specific topic, I provide more information in lecture format,” said UC Davis lactation consultant Debbie Albert. “Last week it was a discussion about a good latch and we used a knitted breast to demonstrate.”

Carissa Fleischmann was an in-person member of the breastfeeding support group and now calls into Zoom. She said she appreciates hearing other moms’ stories and struggles with breastfeeding. She is reminded that she is not alone.

“Whether in person or via Zoom, I’ve found the group to be incredibly encouraging during my time on leave,” Fleischmann said. “I return to work in just over a week and will definitely miss attending and seeing everyone.” 

For any mom who has breastfeeding concerns they wish to discuss in private, Albert calls them afterwards. New moms also have access to Alicia Cukjati, a UC Davis lactation consultant who does private consultations with new moms. It’s all part of UC Davis Health’s commitment to providing the highest standards of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. It is this level of commitment that earned the institution its Baby-Friendly designation this spring.

UC Davis patient Amber Gomez first met the UC Davis lactation team a few days after the birth of her daughter. Her daughter had lost some weight and Gomez learned that she wasn’t producing enough milk. The lactation team sprang to the rescue, sourcing her with a pump to use at home and recommending feeds every two hours.

“I had a very hungry baby. The first time she ate, she had a peaceful look on her face and looked completely relaxed. It was a beautiful thing. Those people were angels for helping me,” Gomez said.

Gomez continues to seek support now from the Zoom breastfeeding support group.

“Because of COVID-19, I haven’t been able to see my mother or my mother-in-law. I was thinking they would be around to support me. But the Zoom meetings have been helpful. It takes a village and it’s really great to have this supportive outlet,” Gomez said.


UC Davis Outpatient Lactation Support Information

COVID-19 Sacramento Breastfeeding Resource List

COVID-19 Maternal Mental Health Resources for Sacramento and Placer Counties

202005_local-girls-kindness-rocks-the-uc-davis-health-campus Fri, 22 May 2020 07:00:00 GMT Local girl's kindness rocks the UC Davis Health campus <p>Scarlett Bronner turned her passion for painting rocks into an inspiring way to show health care workers how much they are appreciated.</p> When the stay-at-home order was issued, 9-year-old Scarlett Bronner had some time – and paint – on her hands.

“I really like rock painting. I think it’s fun because I get to be creative and make people happy,” Bronner said.

What began with inspiring rock messages left for neighbors in East Sacramento soon morphed into a tribute to health care workers at UC Davis Health, where Bronner’s mom works.

Some of Scarlett's artistic expressions of thanks

“I wanted to give back because the people at the hospital are working so hard right now,” Bronner said. “Everyone is scared. I’m scared, too. But UC Davis is doing everything it can to help.”

Bronner and her family made more than 75 rocks and, with permission from hospital leaders, placed them on the UC Davis Medical Center campus. From “You rock, doc” and “HealthcareHeroes”, to detailed faces of staff in masks, Bronner hopes her “kindness rocks” have the same positive impact on UC Davis Health personnel as they did on her neighbors.

The rocks were placed Thursday night and Bronner is excited her project is underway.

“I hope they are surprised and it makes them smile,” Bronner said. “I just want them know they’re appreciated and they’re awesome.”

Rock on!

202005_diana-farmer-receives-apsnas-champion-award- Thu, 21 May 2020 07:00:00 GMT Diana Farmer receives APSNA’s Champion Award <p>Diana Farmer, chair of surgery at <a href="https://health.ucdavis.edu/">U</a>C Davis Health and surgeon-in chief of UC Davis Children&rsquo;s Hospital, has received the Champion Award by the American Pediatric Surgical Nurses Association (APSNA).</p> Diana Farmer, chair of surgery at UC Davis Health and surgeon-in chief of UC Davis Children’s Hospital, has received the Champion Award by the American Pediatric Surgical Nurses Association (APSNA).

The purpose of the award is to honor an individual who supports and promotes APSNA members in their pursuit of the organization’s strategic vision. Their vision is to be the leading authority for the nursing care of pediatric surgical patients.

“There is no greater honor for a surgeon than to be honored by her nursing colleagues, particularly in pediatric surgery,” Farmer said. “We work hand in hand with our specialty pediatric surgery nurse practitioners, and I am deeply touched and humbled by this honor.”

Farmer was nominated by her UC Davis Health colleagues Karen Semkiw, the children’s surgery program manager, and Robyn Huey Lao, pediatric surgery outpatient nurse practitioner.

Farmer is a world-renowned pediatric and fetal surgeon, recognized worldwide as a leader in innovative surgical techniques and for her spirit of collaboration and advocacy. She is especially known for her skilled surgical treatment of birth defects. Her research focuses on the safety and effectiveness of treating spina bifida before birth.

Founded in 1992, the American Pediatric Surgical Nurses Association shapes pediatric surgical nursing through advocacy, collaboration, mentorship and leadership.

202005_troubling-covid-19-syndrome-identified-in-children Tue, 19 May 2020 07:00:00 GMT Troubling COVID-19 syndrome identified in children <p>A newly identified and severe inflammatory syndrome &ndash; similar to Kawasaki disease&nbsp; ̶&nbsp; has been linked to the coronavirus causing COVID-19 in about 200 children in the United States and Europe.</p> If there’s some good news in the novel coronavirus pandemic, it’s that children have been far less susceptible to it. When children have become infected, the vast majority have mild symptoms. Worldwide, children younger than 10 years make up only 1% of COVID 19 cases. However, a newly identified and severe inflammatory syndrome – similar to Kawasaki disease  ̶  has been linked to the coronavirus causing COVID-19 in about 200 children in the United States and Europe.

UC Davis Children’s Hospital is part of the Pediatric Emergency Research Networks (PERN). It is one of the sites for a global study about COVID-19 in children. Pediatric experts are focusing on the risk factors that may lead to more serious forms of the disease, including a condition the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now calling “multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children.”

“What’s troubling about this syndrome in children is that instead of targeting the lungs as does the coronavirus infection in adults and sometimes older children, it causes inflammation throughout a child’s body and can even attack the heart,” said Nathan Kuppermann, professor and chair of emergency medicine and one of UC Davis’ principal investigators.

This new form of COVID-19 has been compared to toxic shock syndrome and a very uncommon childhood illness called Kawasaki disease. It is described as “Kawasaki-like” in a recent article in the journal The Lancet. Physicians say the new syndrome seems to affect the heart more frequently than typical Kawasaki disease and has been identified mainly in school-aged children rather than infants or toddlers.

Fortunately, UC Davis Children’s Hospital has seen only a few pediatric COVID-19 cases. None have been as severe as what other parts of the country and world have seen.

With limited information about risk factors, treatments and outcomes, the CDC has asked providers like UC Davis Health to closely watch for suspected cases.

“Children with this syndrome will likely have a persistent fever and a variety of inflammatory signs and symptoms, including cardiac, gastrointestinal, rashes and respiratory problems,” said Satyan Lakshminrusimha, professor and pediatrician-in-chief of UC Davis Children’s Hospital. “What we also know is that this condition can begin weeks after a child is infected with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Parents may not even know their child had been infected, which makes it especially challenging.”

To aid pediatric health providers in what to look for with their patients, Lakshminrusimha helped create an infographic that highlights unique signs and symptoms of the disease in children.

Both he and Kuppermann said their care teams are watching closely for any young patients suffering from fever, red eyes, rash and abdominal pain. The illness can progress rapidly to problems affecting the heart. The syndrome has caused what’s known as myocarditis. It affects the heart's ability to pump and causes rapid or abnormal heart rhythms.

“Kawasaki disease can affect the heart. But from what we understand in these severe but rare Kawasaki-like cases, there is a much higher frequency of cardiac problems and other critical inflammatory issues that frequently lead to low blood pressure and shock,” Kuppermann noted.

For severe and critical cases of pediatric patients with COVID-19, treatment may include management of pneumonia, respiratory failure, sepsis or septic shock, and secondary bacterial infection. These young patients may face a long hospitalization.

“Because this is so new, it’s been called the ‘mystery disease’ by some people,” Lakshminrusimha said. “The condition appears much more prevalent in children than that it was before the pandemic. However, is still very uncommon.”

UC Davis Children’s Hospital recently treated several patients with the Kawasaki-like illnesses, but testing did not show any association with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

“But we’re prepared for it,” added Lakshminrusimha. “It’s all part of the crucial pandemic research that will advance our clinical understanding about the preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for various conditions related to COVID-19 in children.”

202005_pillow-project-makes-uc-davis-leukodystrophy-clinic-patients-comfortable Fri, 15 May 2020 07:00:00 GMT 'Pillow Project' makes UC Davis Leukodystrophy Clinic patients comfortable <p>Young leukodystrophy patients who are seen at the UC Davis Midtown Ambulatory Care Center and UC Davis Medical Center will be getting specially made positioning pillows to make their visits more comfortable, courtesy of a partnership between the UC Davis Leukodystrophy Subspecialty Clinic and the Olivia Kay Foundation.</p> Young leukodystrophy patients who are seen at the UC Davis Midtown Ambulatory Care Center and UC Davis Medical Center will be getting specially made positioning pillows to make their visits more comfortable, courtesy of a partnership between the UC Davis Leukodystrophy Subspecialty Clinic and the Olivia Kay Foundation.

Leukodystrophies are a group of rare, metabolic, genetic diseases that affect the brain, spinal cord and often the peripheral nerves.

The pillows are handmade by the founders of the Olivia Kay Foundation and given to patients for support and comfort during their hospital stay. They are part of the foundation’s “Pillow Project,” which sends pillows to children in hospitals around the country. So far, the foundation has donated 25 pillows to UC Davis pediatric patients and plans to donate more. 

UC Davis pediatric neurologist William Benko and his team are in the process of joining the Leukodystrophy Care Network (LCN), a network of children's hospitals around the U.S. that provide a standard of care for patients with a leukodystrophy. During this process, Benko’s team is making connections with a number of  groups, including the Olivia Kay Foundation, that work to provide funding and resources to help patients with a leukodystrophy during their hospital visits and at home.

“The Olivia Kay Foundation was kind enough to gift the patients at the UC Davis Leukodystrophy Subspecialty Clinic with positioning pillows from their pillow project,” Benko said. “These are a great addition that will provide extra comfort during the numerous hospital visits that these patients often have.”

202005_uc-davis-pediatric-orthopaedic-surgeon-gives-teen-another-chance-at-sports Wed, 13 May 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis pediatric orthopaedic surgeon gives teen another chance at sports...and a future <p>Emma Voorhies' knee injury initially sidelined her, but thanks to UC Davis Children's Hospital, she can look forward to playing again.</p> The Voorhies family had tried everything. Physical therapy. Cortisone shots. Multiple X-rays and MRIs to determine the extent of Emma Voorhies’ knee injury. The teen was in so much pain, coupled with the anxiety of what the future would hold. Emma’s mom, Sherie Voorhies, was desperate to help her child.

“Emma wasn’t just sore, she was in absolute agony,” Voorhies said. “Her pain kept getting worse. I knew we were missing something.”

The Voorhies family was not giving up. A dedicated athlete at Oakridge High School in El Dorado Hills, Emma saw the handwriting on the wall. How could she continue to play sports if she could barely walk? What would this mean for her future?

A referral to UC Davis Health and Brian Haus, a highly recommended pediatric orthopaedic surgeon, was an “awesome blessing.”

“Within the span of three minutes, Dr. Haus knew exactly what Emma was dealing with,” Voorhies said. “We finally had a place to start.”

Emma Voorhies was full of questions and Haus answered each and every one of them. “Dr. Haus was insanely patient and even thanked Emma for being so prepared,” Voorhies said. “It took Emma eight months of varied failed treatments and incorrect diagnoses before she hit the doctor lottery jackpot!”

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UC Davis Children's Hospital ranked 8th nationally in pediatric orthopedics in the 2019-2020 US News & World Report "Best Children's Hospitals" rankings
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The initial diagnosis, patella plica syndrome, required arthroscopic surgery. The procedure date was set but it meant more waiting. A cancellation paved the way for Emma Voorhies to finally have her pain addressed. Or so the family thought.

“Emma’s injured knee was finally getting the help it needed,” Voorhies said. “But then during scoping, Dr. Haus found something else. Something that required more that just a scope and two-week recovery.”

Haus was incredibly thorough in examining Emma’s knee beyond her plica repair, said Voorhies. It was then that he discovered that Emma had an osteochondral fracture. The repair of an injury like this was more complicated than a scope. Emma was about to get an overhaul of her 14-year-old left knee.

One of the most unique attributes to Emma’s treatment plan was that her very own cartilage was grafted to a porcine (pig) membrane for implantation six weeks after harvest. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“I knew how detrimental it would be to Emma’s well-being if they put the surgery off. She was already struggling with the pain and it had taken an emotional toll,” Voorhies said. “We were thrilled when Dr. Haus said that Emma wouldn’t and shouldn’t have to wait.”

The operation proceeded as scheduled. The UC Davis Children’s Surgery Center was exactly where the Voorhies wanted to be, even amid the health crisis. “The hospital is the most sterile place to be during something like this,” Voorhies said. “The staff was very professional and there was no lack of passion.”

Emma Voorhies is on the long road to recovery. Rigorous physical therapy and icing each day will eventually alleviate her pain and lead Emma back to her beloved sports. For that, she’s willing to wait.

202005_six-tips-to-keep-children-safe-from-falling-from-windows Mon, 11 May 2020 07:00:00 GMT Six tips to keep children safe from falling from windows <p>Each year about 5,000 children are treated for window fall-related injuries in hospital emergency departments across the country. Here are some tips to help keep children safe from window falls.&nbsp;</p> Each year about 5,000 children are treated for window fall-related injuries in hospital emergency departments across the country. These falls and injuries are more common during the spring and summer months, since people tend to open their windows during warm weather.

According to Melissa Vanover, UC Davis general surgery chief resident, the fall rate is highest among children younger than 5 years of age. These young children are also at the highest risk for sustaining serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries.

“As families shelter in place at home and as the temperature continues to rise, we want to make sure that children are not at risk for these preventable injuries,” Vanover said. “Window screens are not designed to stop a child from falling.” 

At UC Davis Children's Hospital, about 40 children are hospitalized after falling from windows each year.  

Experts recommend the following tips for families:

  • Keep windows closed and locked where children are playing.
  • Do not leave windows open more than four inches.
  • Install stops on sliding windows to limit how far they open
  • Install window guards on all windows on the second story or higher.
  • Move furniture away from windows so children cannot climb on sofas, chairs or tables to access windows.
  • Do not leave young children at home unsupervised.

Other resources

Stop at 4 Campaign

202005_an-extraordinary-beginning-for-sisters-born-at-uc-davis-childrens-hospital- Fri, 08 May 2020 07:00:00 GMT An extraordinary beginning for sisters born at UC Davis Children's Hospital <p>Momo twins Isabella and Sofia Walker beat the odds in more ways than one.</p> Greg and Lucia Walker were thrilled when they got the news about Lucia’s pregnancy.

“At the first appointment we joked about being disappointed there was only one baby,” Greg Walker chuckled. “At the second checkup, it was like, ‘Huh?’”

They say to be careful what you wish for. The Walkers got it. They were having twins, which was double the joy.

But their joy turned to fear when they were told the babies were monoamniotic. Monoamniotic twins – often termed monoamniotic-monochorionic or “MoMo” twins – are only 1 percent of twin pregnancies in the United States. The babies shared an amniotic sac. Risks included umbilical cord entanglement and one twin receiving more nourishment. The parents feared both daughters would not survive.

“It’s rare and dangerous. The odds were not good,” Greg Walker said.

Lucia Walker was referred to UC Davis Children’s Hospital and immediately admitted. She spent six weeks in bed, being monitored by the UC Davis maternal- fetal medicine care team who provide highly specialized care for mother and baby before, during and after birth.

Isabella and Sofia were born Feb. 29, 2016 - Leap Day - at 32 weeks gestation.

“It was a scary journey with all the risk factors involved,” Greg Walker said. “We were so glad they were finally here.”

But the journey wasn’t over. The twins spent weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the only nationally ranked level IV nursery in the area, until they were strong enough to go home. 

“The NICU team was very reassuring,” Greg Walker said. “We felt fortunate to be at UC Davis.” 

Then the unthinkable happened. Lucia Walker had a stroke. 

“I rushed her to the ER and she was taken to the ICU,” Greg Walker explained. “The UC Davis ER staff was on top of it, just like they are in the NICU.”

Mom and babies remained separated, but the staff did all they could to keep Lucia’s spirits up. 

“They’d send pictures of the twins so my wife could see them,” Greg Walker said. “I have such fond memories of the staff.” 

By the time the twins and their mom got to go home, the Walkers had spent months in the hospital.

“From the doctors and nurses, to the cooks and janitors, UC Davis Children’s Hospital felt like our home away from home. It felt like family.”

Fast forward four years and Lucia, Isabella and Sofia continue to do well.

Leap Year babies Isabella and Sofia celebrated their first “official” birthday on Feb. 29, 2020 when they turned four. Isabella is a nurturing, compassionate mother hen while a strong willed, independent Sofia is a master of challenges.

“We feel very blessed,” Greg Walker said.

202005_uc-davis-childrens-hospital-celebrates-mom Fri, 08 May 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Children’s Hospital celebrates mom <p>Mothers of hospitalized pediatric patients received extra love and gratitude today at UC Davis Children&rsquo;s Hospital in celebration of Mother&rsquo;s Day.&nbsp;</p> Mothers of hospitalized pediatric patients received extra love and gratitude today at UC Davis Children’s Hospital in celebration of Mother’s Day. 

Thanks to donations from Nothing Bundt Cakes and Color Street Nails, moms received an individual bundtlet cake and nail polish set at the bedside. They also were treated to a choice of coffee or tea, and a handmade sugar scrub gift. This was coordinated by the UC Davis Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department.

The team also provided a craft project for kids – a wooden flower pot frame that kids could paint and decorate themselves. The child life team also took photos of each patient to put in the frame as a gift to mom.

“We know that being in the hospital during an important holiday or milestone event can be very difficult for our pediatric patients and their families, so we wanted to do something special to recognize all that our moms do – especially while caring for a hospitalized child. It was a wonderful feeling to be able to celebrate them, with help from our generous donors,” said Katherine MacDonald, programming coordinator with the UC Davis Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department who coordinated the celebration.   


202005_year-of-the-nurse-blog-bertha-ramirez-preciado-this-is-something-you-cant-learn-it-just-comes Thu, 07 May 2020 07:00:00 GMT Year of the Nurse blog, Bertha Ramirez-Preciado: 'This is something you can't learn; it just comes' <p>UC Davis Health nurse Bertha Ramirez-Preciado knows that nursing takes more than book learning. She shares one example of how she doesn't just provide a patient's health care &ndash; she supports her and her family in every sense.</p> Bertha Ramirez-Preciado

For Bertha, being a nurse means you work with the whole family and lead with compassion. This story is just one example of how she literally goes the extra mile(s) to support a patient, her family, her aspirations.

Hear Bertha's story, in her own words.

In celebration of Florence Nightingale's 200th birthday, 2020 is the Year of the Nurse. Beginning on National Nurses Week (May 6-12) and continuing throughout the year, a special blog will feature the stories, memories and motivations of UC Davis Health nurses.

Hear their words, and get to know why and how they invest such heart, passion, expertise and commitment in their life-changing work.

202005_chantry-receives-award-for-excellence-in-breastfeeding-research Thu, 07 May 2020 07:00:00 GMT Chantry receives award for excellence in breastfeeding research <p>Caroline Chantry, professor emerita at the UC Davis Department of Pediatrics and a volunteer clinical faculty member, is selected as this year&rsquo;s Patricia Martin Annual Awardee for Excellence in Breastfeeding Research by the <em>Journal of Human Lactation</em>.</p> Caroline Chantry, professor emerita at the UC Davis Department of Pediatrics and a volunteer clinical faculty member, is selected as this year’s Patricia Martin Annual Awardee for Excellence in Breastfeeding Research by the Journal of Human Lactation.

Chantry received this recognition for her significant research contributions concerning early breastfeeding patterns, the influence of maternal nutrition on breastfeeding outcomes, infants’ physiological responses to human milk feedings and safe infant feeding practices for women with HIV.

This award is given to a senior researcher with a history of excellence in breastfeeding research. The journal's editorial review board and the editors choose the award winner by majority vote.  

“I am most honored and grateful that the journal’s editorial board considered my body of research so worthy of merit,” Chantry said.

202005_10-ways-to-protect-your-child-from-drowning Tue, 05 May 2020 07:00:00 GMT 10 ways to protect your child from drowning <p>With the weather heating up, many people are heading to nearby swimming pools , rivers or the ocean. But drowning claims thousands of lives each year. Follow these tips to keep your children safe.&nbsp;</p> With the weather heating up, many people are heading to nearby swimming pools , rivers or the ocean. But drowning claims thousands of lives each year.


  • More than one in five fatal drowning victims are children 14 and younger.
  • For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for near drownings.
  • Of all children 1 to 4 years old who die from an accidental injury, one-third died from drowning.
  • Death from drownings remain the leading cause of accidental injury-related death for children ages 1 to 4.

“It is never okay to leave a child unattended in or around a pool, even for a few seconds,” said Misael Chavarin, community educator at the UC Davis Children’s Hospital Kohl’s Injury Prevention Program. “A responsible adult should always be designated to supervise children who are playing or swimming in or around water. Younger children should be watched with touch supervision, which means they kept within arm’s reach of an adult when they are in or near the water.”

Drowning prevention includes keeping a close watch on younger children in the house, as well. Children under age 1 are more likely to drown in bathtubs, buckets or toilets.

“Infants should never be left unattended in the tub for any reason. An older child or sibling in the tub with an infant is not a substitute for adult supervision,” Chavarin said.

Older teens, especially males between the ages of 15 and 19, are also at a high risk of drowning. Drowning deaths in this age group most often occur in rivers, lakes and oceans. Boat-related injuries account for a fifth of these cases. Often times these accidents are a result of high-risk behavior, drugs or alcohol.

Prevention tips

The most important thing to remember is that there is no substitute for your undivided attention. A drowning can occur in seconds. Most young children who drown in pools were last seen in the house less than five minutes before the drowning occurred. Most of the time one or both parents are home.

While your child is swimming, watch them at all times. Even looking at your cellphone by the pool could be enough time for a drowning to happen.

  • Air-filled or foam toys, such as water wings, noodles or inner tubes should not be used in place of life jackets (personal flotation devices). These toys are not designed to keep swimmers safe.
  • Keep the pool area completely enclosed with a fence at least five feet tall. An iron fence with vertical bars three inches apart and horizontal bars no closer than 45 inches together is recommended.
  • Pool covers and pool alarms can be helpful but do not serve as a substitute for a good fence. Children can become trapped under soft pool covers and can easily drown.
  • All gates around the pool should be self-closing and self-latching. The latch should be near the top of the fence.
  • Swimming lessons for children 4 years and older are now recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  • Remove all toys from the pool after children are done swimming.
  • Parents should keep toilet lids and bathroom doors shut around small children.
  • Any pail of liquid should not be left unsupervised on the floor. Children have been known to fall face-first into a bucket of water.
  • Pool owners and parents should take a basic CPR course. These courses are currently offered online by organizations including the American Red Cross at a low cost.
  • Communication is key. Talk to your children about the importance of water safety. Make sure younger children know the rules about being in or near the pool unsupervised. Talk with teens about the dangers of diving into the river from rocks or bridges. Explain why alcohol and drugs make it even more likely for a fatal drowning to occur.

Children should always wear a life jacket when around natural bodies of water. Parents and other adults should set a good example by always wearing theirs. Sacramento County law requires all children under age 13 to wear a life jacket in all public county waterways.


Safe Kids: Water Safety
AAP Water Safety and Drowning Prevention  

202004_tips-for-enjoying-the-great-outdoors-safely-during-covid-19 Fri, 01 May 2020 07:00:00 GMT Tips for enjoying the great outdoors safely during COVID-19 <p>As Californians continue to shelter in place, many are heeding the call of the great outdoors, especially with spring weather. But how do you do so safely, and still maintain social distancing?</p> As Californians continue to shelter in place, many are heeding the call of the great outdoors, especially with spring weather. But how do you do so safely, and still maintain social distancing?

Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, recently answered some questions about how to safely navigate the outdoors. 

Q: Is it safe for us to be spending time outdoors during this pandemic?

A: Yes, it’s okay to be outside. One of the great things about being outside is that the virus is more quickly diluted and so less infectious than inside, where air volume is more limited. In winter, we have more transmission of respiratory viruses because people are crowded together inside. As long as we maintain a distance from people who may be potentially infectious, there should be low risk of infection.

Q: What are some basic ground rules for spending time outside?

A: We definitely don’t want to be crowding onto the beaches as we have seen many people do. Social distancing is key. Make sure you are up to date on state and local regulations during COVID-19. Do you need to wear masks outdoors? Are local parks closed? These may be different, county by county. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend using playgrounds or water playgrounds. And now also is not the time to play any contact sports.

Q: How much distance should we stay away from others while outside?

A: COVID-19 is primarily transmitted via the respiratory route through droplet transmission. These are relatively large droplets so when you cough or sneeze, they fall to the ground. They are heavy enough that gravity takes over and aren’t suspended in the air. Generally, these droplets will travel about three feet. With a forceful cough or sneeze or a powerful wind, maybe they will go as far as six feet. If you stay greater than six feet apart from others, the virus is highly unlikely to be transmitted through droplet.

COVID-19 can also be transmitted by contact. If you contaminate a surface by coughing or sneezing on it, that will be potentially infectious to others who touch it. After touching park benches, for example, you will want to wash hands afterwards and ensure you don’t touch your face.  

Q: What are your recommendations for runners?

A: When I am on the bike trail and see someone coming toward me on my side, I cross over to the other side to maintain that six feet of distance when passing. If there are some areas that are narrow, you should judge when it is best to cross over to maintain that distance.

One of the benefits of being on the bike trail is that people using it are generally healthy. You aren’t going to have disease symptoms like coughing or sneezing and then go running (hopefully!). That being said, it doesn’t mean that a virus can’t be transmitted when symptoms are not present. There can be asymptomatic transfer that occurs even just by speaking, so it’s best to maintain that six feet of separation.

202004_parents-reminded-to-lock-the-car-put-keys-out-of-reach Wed, 29 Apr 2020 07:00:00 GMT Parents reminded to lock the car, put keys out of reach <p>With temperatures warming up in Sacramento, it&rsquo;s important to remember that it is never safe for a child or pet to be left alone in a car &ndash; even if the windows are rolled down.</p> With temperatures warming up in Sacramento, it’s important to remember that it is never safe for a child or pet to be left alone in a car – even if the windows are rolled down.

“During COVID-19, we are reminding families that it is never okay to leave a child in the car to go to the grocery store or perform any essential duty for any amount of time,” said Misael Chavarin, community education specialist at the UC Davis Children’s Hospital Kohl’s Injury Prevention program.

In 2019, 53 children died from heat stroke in cars. These cases happen when children are left unattended in a car – either adults mistakenly forget a child is on board or the child gains access to and gets stuck in an unlocked car without the parent’s knowledge.

Even if the outside temperature is relatively low, the vehicle’s interior temperature can rise very quickly. 

Experts recommend parents:

  • Always lock the doors and put the keys away. This prevents children from playing with keys or getting into the car without parents’ knowledge.
  • Look before you lock. Check the backseat every time you park your car, even if you think you are not carrying a child passenger.
  • Keep something you need in the backseat. Put your purse, cell phone, shoe or anything essential for your day in the backseat.
  • Travel with a stuffed animal. Keep a stuffed animal or toy in the car. Place it on the front passenger seat to serve as a reminder that a child is seated behind you.
  • If you see something, do something. If you see a child alone, call 911 immediately.

“There’s no safe amount of time for a child to be left in a car,” Chavarin said. “Don’t wait and see. Call 911 right away. And if they are unresponsive, get them out as quickly as possible.”

202004_pediatric-neurosurgery-team-at-uc-davis-saves-local-boys-life Thu, 23 Apr 2020 07:00:00 GMT Pediatric neurosurgery team at UC Davis saves local boy's life <p>To relieve pressure on his brain, Rhoen Papini had to have part of his skull removed.</p> At six months old, Rhoen Papini’s head swelled, accompanied by a 104 degree fever.

“Everything was fine and then it wasn’t,” said Rhoen’s mom, Amber Schayltz. “We didn’t know what was happening. We were panicked.”

Amber and Rhoen’s dad, Brian Papini, were referred to UC Davis Children’s Hospital. They got the diagnosis – craniosynostosis.

This condition, typically seen in newborns, involves an abnormal skull shape with restricted brain growth. Their son’s cranial bones had grown too fast, causing pressure in his skull. Fortunately, UC Davis has a craniofacial clinic and pediatric neurosurgeons who knew what to do.

“Both doctors, Marike Zwienenberg and Craig Senders, agreed he needed cranial surgery immediately,” Schayltz said. “They patiently walked us through what would happen, confident they could help Rhoen.”

Papini said the surgeons reassured them and calmed their nerves.

"They’re amazing physicians with equally amazing bedside manners. Both of us felt our son was in good hands,” Papini said.

In surgery, Rhoen Papini had a piece of his skull removed. The surgery was a success with no complications. Post-operative helmet therapy is all this little boy needed. Rhoen is cognitively and physically on track and celebrated his first birthday in March, a milestone his parents were thrilled to celebrate.

“I am a huge fan of UC Davis Children’s Hospital,” Schayltz said. “It is so fortunate that we have access to that level of care right here in Sacramento.”

202004_new-screening-provides-support-for-at-risk-families-during-covid-19 Thu, 23 Apr 2020 07:00:00 GMT New screening provides support for at-risk families during COVID-19 <p>UC Davis Children's Hospital this week launches a new screening to support families experiencing social and economic stressors amid COVID-19.</p> UC Davis Children’s Hospital this week launches a new screening to support families experiencing social and economic stressors amid COVID-19.

“This pandemic adds tremendous stress to parents – financial strain, decreased outlets for social interaction and childcare responsibilities – without a break. This is important for the well-being of all children. We also worry that without proper support for parents and families. Some children may be at higher risk for abuse,” said UC Davis Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Jihey Yuk.

Yuk pilots this program at the Sacramento County Health Center, with mentorship from Erik Fernandez y Garcia, an associate professor for pediatrics at UC Davis Health. They plan to refine the screening through quality improvement techniques and expand its use to all pediatric training clinics staffed by the UC Davis Division of General Pediatrics.  

Families that are identified with needs by the screening receive information and resources from local and community-based partners providing food distribution, domestic violence outreach, crisis hotlines, parenting hotlines, crisis childcare nurseries and substance use cessation support.

“We will screen all pediatric families, seen in-person or via telehealth. Our hope is that, by screening and fostering these discussions, we can help mitigate stressors and uncover opportunities to support families that might otherwise go unnoticed,” Yuk said.

202004_masks-pose-dangers-for-babies-toddlers- Thu, 23 Apr 2020 07:00:00 GMT Masks pose dangers for babies, toddlers <p>UC Davis pediatricians have one simple message: Masks can be deadly for children under the age of 2.</p> As more online vendors sell cloth masks to battle the novel coronavirus, UC Davis pediatricians have one simple message: Masks can be deadly for children under the age of 2.

“Masks may present a choking hazard for young children. Also, depending on the mask and the fit, the child may have trouble breathing. If this happens, they need to be able to take it off,” said UC Davis pediatrician Lena van der List. “Children less than 2 years of age will not reliably be able to remove a face mask and could suffocate. Therefore, masks should not routinely be used for young children.”

Online stores sell to adults and children alike. Elastic bands and the strings that go around the head can also be strangulation hazards for children.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not recommend masking for children under the age of 2 due to risks of suffocation. Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance, should not wear a mask, according to the CDC website.

“The younger the child, the more likely they will be to not wear the mask properly, reach under the mask and touch potentially contaminated masks,” said Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. “Of course, this depends on the developmental level of the individual child. But I think masks are not likely to provide much potential benefit over risk until the teen years.”

202004_uc-davis-pediatrician-shares-tips-on-talking-with-children-about-coronavirus Wed, 22 Apr 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis pediatrician shares tips on talking with children about coronavirus <p>UC Davis pediatrician Ellen McCleery offers tips for how to talk with your child about the coronavirus.&nbsp;</p> As families continue to navigate this current COVID-19 pandemic, UC Davis pediatrician Ellen McCleery acknowledges it is a stressful time for children and adults alike. She recommends that parents be available to talk about the pandemic and answer questions when kids are ready.

“Kids might not want to think about what is happening and that is okay. If your children approach you with questions or fears, talk openly about their concerns,” McCleery said.

McCleery offers the following tips for those conversations, as adapted from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

  • Answer honestly, even if the answer is “I don’t know.”
  • Validate kids’ thoughts and fears.
  • Keep in mind that children learn how to deal with stress by watching the adults around them.
  • Look for accurate information from public health authorities or established news outlets.
  • Take a break from the news. Be careful about any frightening images that may appear on the news.
  • Talk about all the helpers who are working to care for people.
  • Pay attention to signs that a child may need additional help from a mental health professional:
    • Sleep disturbances
    • Invasive thoughts or worries
    • Recurring fears
    • Reluctance to leave parents
  • If your child has experienced loss or serious illness during the outbreak, they may need additional support.
  • NPR produced a comic exploring some common kids’ questions about COVID-19. It is also available in Chinese and Spanish: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/02/28/809580453/just-for-kids-a-comic-exploring-the-new-coronavirus
  • Specific answers to questions a young child might ask (including “Why is that person wearing a mask?” and “Will I get sick?”) can be found here: https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/3265-answering-your-young-child-s-questions-about-coronavirus

McCleery also recommends the following, which are adapted from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

  • Children may act out when they are bored or frustrated. Try to prevent this as much as you can by establishing a schedule or routine and trying new activities frequently.
  • While a routine is helpful for you and your children, also try to be flexible and patient when your child doesn’t want to participate.
  • Talk to kids about their fears.
  • Give kids choices when you can and it is safe. Have them choose between two different activities or what they’d like to help make for dinner.
  • Encourage kids to learn about something new.
  • Keep in touch with family and friends via phone or video chat.
  • Talk about and plan activities to do as a family when we return to ‘normal.’
  • When disciplining, use time-outs, redirect bad behavior, praise good behavior and successes and know when not to respond. Always avoid physical punishment.
  • Take care of yourself as a caregiver. Take turns watching children, if possible. Walk away for a few minutes if you need a break and children are safe. Get enough sleep and eat well. If you are experiencing your own stress and feel that you need additional help, call your own doctor’s office to ask about mental health support.
    • You can contact a trained counselor at SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or by texting TalkWithUs to 66746.

Other parenting resources

202004_alex-lee-awarded-st-baldricks-foundation-summer-fellowship Tue, 21 Apr 2020 07:00:00 GMT Alex Lee awarded St. Baldrick's Foundation Summer Fellowship <p>Alex Lee, a second-year student at the UC Davis School of Medicine, was awarded a summer fellowship by the St. Baldrick&rsquo;s Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to childhood cancer research.</p> Alex Lee, a second-year student at the UC Davis School of Medicine, was awarded a summer fellowship by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to childhood cancer research. His mentor is Noriko Satake, associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at UC Davis Children’s Hospital and part of the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center team.

Lee has worked in Satake’s lab as a volunteer for about a year. He helped develop a patient-derived xenograft (PDX) mouse model for a rare pediatric leukemia. His fellowship project will investigate possible new molecular targeted therapies using this PDX model.

“Alex has bench research experience and a strong drive to be a physician scientist. I am really excited to have him in my lab,” Satake said. “This award allows Alex to take the lead on a research project and will help him become a physician scientist in hematology/oncology, the field that he hopes to enter following graduation.”

Satake says Lee’s summer project is investigating the therapeutic efficacy of two RAS inhibitors in the leukemia PDX models, which Lee helped develop. If successful, Lee’s project has the potential to translate the findings quickly to patients.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation Summer Fellowship is awarded to college or medical students whose mentor works in the field of pediatric oncology and whose research plan is already in place. Recipients receive a $5,000 grant to pursue a summer project.

202004_kidney-transplant-for-teen-made-possible-by-uc-davis-health-doctors-in-house-lab-scientists- Mon, 20 Apr 2020 07:00:00 GMT Kidney transplant for teen made possible by UC Davis Health doctors, in-house lab scientists <p>Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Alex Gonzalez received a kidney from a deceased donor on March 22. The organ was made available for transplant surgery only through the efforts of the UC Davis Health Department of Pathology and Lab Medicine.</p> Even in the time of a devastating global pandemic, good fortune can still shine. For 17-year-old Alex Gonzalez, who has known since last November that his kidney was failing, that life-changing call came in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.

Alex was scheduled to start dialysis treatment, three times a week, beginning in April. The only way to avoid going on dialysis was if a kidney donor became available, which was highly unlikely because UC Davis Medical Center had stopped accepting organs from live donors because of virus transmission risks.

The North Highlands teenager and his family would have to wait on the transplant list and hope for a kidney from a deceased donor. It was just another trial to endure and overcome for Alex, who was born without kidneys and helicoptered to UC Davis Medical Center as an infant, clinging to life.

Back then, he received a kidney from his mother and would grow up to be a relatively healthy boy and young adult. Eventually, however, he would need another kidney.

All through March, Alex’s energy waned and spirits ebbed as the world grappled with the coronavirus pandemic. But a kidney fortunately became available, and Alex underwent the much-needed operation on March 22. The physician who performed the surgery – Richard Perez, UC Davis Health’s chief of transplant surgery – also transplanted the kidney when Alex was 18 months old.

Now, Alex once again has high hopes for his future, free from a grueling regimen of dialysis sessions – thanks to Perez, Chief of Pediatric Nephrology Lavjay Butani and the quick turnaround of UC Davis Health’s indefatigable COVID-19 testing team.

202004_uc-davis-health-facility-dog-paloma-celebrates-third-birthday Mon, 20 Apr 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Health facility dog Paloma celebrates third birthday <p>When UC Davis Health facility dog Paloma turned 3 years old last week, staff and pediatric patients celebrated with mini bundt cakes, dog treats and rainbow party decorations.</p> When UC Davis Health facility dog Paloma turned 3 years old last week, staff and pediatric patients celebrated with mini bundt cakes, dog treats and rainbow party decorations.

The golden Labrador is part of the child life team on the UC Davis Children’s Hospital Pediatrics unit. She gives children cuddles when they receive treatments, helps to normalize the hospital environment and reduce any fear, anxiety or pain children may be feeling.

Donning a rainbow birthday hat and a scarf reading “Birthday Girl,” Paloma enjoyed the extra love and attention, including the Happy Birthday song, from her extended UC Davis Health family.  

“Events like these allow our patients an escape from the hospital experience for even a short time and allow them to just be kids. Our staff, too ... they need the distraction now more than ever,” said Amy Weinberg, child life specialist and Paloma’s handler.

Little Miss Party Planner, an event planning company that also sells “parties in a box,” donated the party supplies and refreshments.

Paloma is one of three facility dogs at UC Davis Health. Canine Companions for Independence, a non-profit organization that provides highly trained assistance dogs to hospitals and other community partners, gifted her to UC Davis Health. All facility dogs like Paloma undergo a two-year, intensive and specialized training and master more than 40 commands.

View photos from Paloma's birthday party. 

202004_uc-davis-pediatrician-offers-top-recommendations-for-learning-exploring-while-at-home Fri, 17 Apr 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis pediatrician offers top recommendations for learning, exploring while at home <p>As families continue the challenging work of balancing learning and living at home during COVID-19, UC Davis pediatrician Ellen McCleery recommends planning a few activities for children to help lend structure to the day.</p> As families continue the challenging work of balancing learning and living at home during COVID-19, UC Davis pediatrician Ellen McCleery recommends planning a few activities for children to help lend structure to the day.

“One of the most important things families can do is stick to a routine,” McCleery said. “Activities can easily be incorporated into a family routine to encourage learning and exploration while at home. I hope these activities and guidance will help families learn and explore while social distancing.”

Check out McCleery’s top recommendations for families.

At-home learning

Arts and crafts

Reading and storytime

  • Keep up your own reading routine at home! Many activities on this list can be combined with books about the same topic to enhance kids’ experiences.
  • Have grandparents or other family members read stories to kids over video chat.
  • Many libraries offer audiobooks or eBooks for check-out. Visit your local library website for more information.
  • Audible is offering free audiobooks for kids on its website.

Experience nature

If your family can get outside safely while practicing social distancing, there are many materials online to help guide outdoor adventures.

  • Try a nature walk scavenger hunt! Make a simple scorecard on paper and ask your child to find a leaf, a stick, flowers, a pinecone, something that flies, something that has fur, something that is rough, something smaller than your shoe, something that makes noise, etc.
  • The Waldorf Education Site offers their 100 Days of Nature Walks for free.

There are also many options for virtually exploring the great outdoors:

  • Virtually visit U.S. National Parks. Google Arts & Culture has compiled guided visits to Kenai Fjords, Hawai’i Volcanoes, Carlsbad Caverns, Bryce Canyon and Dry Tortugas National Parks. National park rangers bring you inside a volcano, through canyons and snorkeling with sea turtles.
  • If your child is interested in space, explore Mars with NASA’s Curiosity Rover. Access Mars uses real data and images collected from the Curiosity Rover to create a 3D experience on the surface of Mars.
  • The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has many live cams of different bird nests including Barred Owls, Red-tailed Hawks, Savannah Ospreys and birdfeeder watch. Talk with your child about birds you might see in your backyard or out on a walk and how they are similar or different than the birds you see in the Cornell birdfeeder watch.
  • National Geographic Kids offers many ideas for home science experiments, information and videos about different animals, and “Passport to Space” with “Missions” to different planets in our solar system.

Get active

It can be hard to get your kids enough active time, especially when playgrounds are off-limits. Keeping active indoors can be more challenging, but here are a few ideas:

  • The nature scavenger hunt outlined above can be adapted for indoors, too. Have your child find something that plays music, something that you use to build, something that keeps you warm, something that measures, etc.
  • Build a homemade obstacle course with materials you can find around the house.
  • Make numbers, letters or shapes on the floor with tape and have your child to run, hop or skip to the next destination. You can also make a “long jump” with tape or a path through the house to explore.

Explore music and art

There are many ways to explore art and music from all over the world online.

202004_maternal-and-newborn-health-experts-at-uc-davis-health-share-expertise-on-covid-19 Thu, 16 Apr 2020 07:00:00 GMT Maternal and newborn health experts at UC Davis Health share expertise on COVID-19 <p>UC Davis experts are sharing their expertise nationally and internationally in the care of pregnant mothers and newborns during the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> UC Davis experts share their expertise nationally and internationally in the care of pregnant mothers and newborns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some examples:

  • Satyan Lakshminrusimha, Mark Underwood, Elizabeth Partridge and Jean Wiedeman helped to co-author COVID-19 guidelines with neonatologists from Buffalo, NY, Padua, Italy, and Valencia, Spain. These recommendations were published this month in the American Journal of Perinatology, outlining the precautions and steps to be taken before, during and after the resuscitation of a newborn of a COVID-19-positive mother. The main focus of these recommendations are to provide choices to parents and involve them in shared decision-making.
  • The Journal of Perinatology, the official journal of the Section on Neonatal/Perinatal Medicine, American Academy of Pediatrics, also published a resource on COVID-19 this month to summarize available evidence and provide perinatologists and neonatologists with tools for managing their patients. Satyan Lakshminrusimha is one of six authors of this article.
  • Frank Ing, chief of pediatric cardiology and co-director of the UC Davis Pediatric Heart Center, co-authors a paper published this month in the Journal of Invasive Cardiology about resource allocation and decision making for pediatric and congenital cardiac catheterization during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  • The California Perinatal Quality Care Collaborative invited UC Davis experts to host a webinar on Friday to share their knowledge with medical providers across the state. Dean Blumberg, Herman Hedriana, Angelique Silva, Mark Underwood, Laura Kair and Satyan Lakshminrusimha presented. Watch the webinar.
  • Heather McKnight, chief of the division of pediatric hospital medicine at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, spoke at two COVID-19 shared learning sessions for Pediatric Hospital Medicine directors, hosted by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ subcommittee for Pediatric Hospital Medicine division directors.
  • Satyan Lakshminrusimha developed an infographic on caring for babies of mothers who test positive for COVID-19. The infographic has been downloaded more than 1,000 times on ResearchGate and has more than 5,000 impressions on Twitter.

“We are proud to participate in this global discussion about how to best care for mothers and newborns with COVID-19. We continue to provide information to parents, so they can be key partners in making informed decisions about the care of their newborn,” said Lakshminrusimha, physician-in-chief of UC Davis Children’s Hospital.  

202004_kids-considered-continues-covid-19-podcasts-invites-questions-from-the-public Thu, 16 Apr 2020 07:00:00 GMT Kids Considered continues COVID-19 podcasts, invites questions from the public <p>Kids Considered, the UC Davis Children&rsquo;s Hospital podcast hosted by Dean Blumberg and Lena van der List, continues to post weekly episodes, providing updates about coronavirus and what parents and families need to know in simple, straightforward language.</p> What is the latest news on coronavirus antibody testing? Why should children under the age of two not wear a mask? Should we be concerned about transmission from pets to family members? The latest Kids Considered podcast episode about COVID-19 answers these questions and more. It is now live: https://ucdavis.health/2K8t5GX

Kids Considered, the UC Davis Children’s Hospital podcast hosted by Dean Blumberg and Lena van der List, continues to post weekly episodes, providing updates about coronavirus and what parents and families need to know in simple, straightforward language.

UC Davis pediatrician Ellen McCleery is a guest host, providing information about how parents can talk to their children about COVID-19 and offer positive parenting tips while they are sheltering in place.

These COVID-19 episodes are released every Wednesday. The team welcomes questions from the public on coronavirus or other child health topics. To submit questions, please email kidsconsidered@gmail.com or leave a message at 916-915-3388.

For all episodes of Kids Considered, visit https://blog.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/twopedsinapod/

202004_uc-davis-medical-center-receives-prestigious-baby-friendly-designation Wed, 15 Apr 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Medical Center receives prestigious Baby-Friendly designation <p>UC Davis Medical Center proudly announces achieving the highly prestigious international Baby-Friendly designation by Baby-Friendly USA.</p> UC Davis Medical Center proudly announces achieving the highly prestigious international Baby-Friendly designation. After a rigorous review process, Baby-Friendly USA bestowed this certification to the Sacramento region’s nationally ranked medical center.

This distinguished honor demonstrates that UC Davis Medical Center adheres to the highest standards of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. These standards are built on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, a set of evidence-based practices recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) for optimal infant feeding support in the precious first days of a newborn’s life.

The positive health effects of breastfeeding are well documented and widely recognized by health authorities throughout the world. For example, the Surgeon General’s 2011 Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding stated that “Breast milk is uniquely suited to the human infant’s nutritional needs and is a live substance with unparalleled immunological and anti-inflammatory properties that protect against a host of illnesses and diseases for both mothers and children.”

UC Davis Medical Center joins a growing list of more than 20,000 Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers throughout the world, 604 of which are in the United States. These facilities provide an environment that supports breastfeeding while respecting every woman’s right to make the best decision for herself and her family.

“We are extremely proud to be recognized for the hard work of our team members throughout the Baby-Friendly process,” said Judie Boehmer, executive director of Patient Care Services at UC Davis Medical Center. “UC Davis Medical Center is committed to providing the support, education and resources moms need to successfully initiate breastfeeding and continue breastfeeding when they leave our care.”

About Baby-Friendly USA

As the accrediting body and national authority for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in the United States, Baby-Friendly USA is responsible for upholding the highest standards in infant feeding care by coordinating and conducting all activities necessary to confer the prestigious Baby-Friendly designation and ensure the widespread adoption of the BFHI in the US. Learn more about Baby-Friendly USA and the BFHI at www.babyfriendlyusa.org.

202004_new-report-details-safety-procedures-in-pediatric-endoscopy-during-covid-19 Wed, 15 Apr 2020 07:00:00 GMT New report details safety procedures in pediatric endoscopy during COVID-19 <p>A safety protocol for endoscopy that protects health care providers working with pediatric patients with possible COVID-19.</p> A team of UC Davis pediatric experts has developed a safety protocol for endoscopy that protects health care providers working with pediatric patients with possible COVID-19 infection. The protocol, published March 31 in Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, presented a framework to classify and mitigate the risks of COVID-19 infection by using limited protective resources.

Avoiding COVID019 infection in endoscopy

Endoscopy is a nonsurgical procedure used to examine a person's digestive tract using a flexible tube with an attached light and camera. It is considered an aerosol-generating procedure (AGP) with the potential of spreading airborne and droplet respiratory diseases such as COVID-19.

Pediatric COVID-19 patients requiring endoscopy present a unique challenge. They are disproportionately without symptoms or mildly ill but can still transmit the disease. During upper endoscopy, a patient’s coughing and gagging may generate aerosols, and those undergoing colonoscopy may pass gas or liquid stool that can carry the virus. Health care providers performing the endoscopy can be exposed to respiratory or gastrointestinal fluids from these patients.

As the risk of infection is substantial, adequate protection for health care providers during endoscopic procedures is critical

“We recognize the need to conserve PPE and other needed resources in anticipation of the surge of COVID-19 patients who require hospitalization,” said Daphne Say, assistant clinical professor in the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology at UC Davis Children’s Hospital and lead author on the report. “The protocol provides a detailed set of recommendations for the use of PPE, with the goal of ensuring the safety of the health care providers and the patients.”

The protocol is specific to pediatric cases, unlike guidelines published March 19 by the World Health Organization (WHO) for rational use of personal protective equipment (PPE), which included specific instructions for health care workers performing AGP on patients with known COVID-19.

Say said the protocol UC Davis Health developed is being shared with colleagues across the country who are using it as framework to make clinical decisions, especially in hospitals that don’t have the ability to conduct in-house COVID-19 testing.

“Ultimately, our goal with this protocol was to balance the need for patients to receive care (in spite of the concerns regarding the pandemic) but also to be safe and responsible,” Say said. 

Protocol includes recommendations on protective gear and safety measures

To make appropriate PPE decisions when COVID-19 testing is unavailable, endoscopists classify the patient risk based on symptoms and sick contacts of the patient. They should consider the higher probability that a child with no symptoms or a mildly ill child may be infected.

The report suggests limiting non-essential personnel for all endoscopic procedures, with no more than five individuals in the endoscopy suite at a time. It recommends the use of a negative pressure room to prevent airborne particles from dispersing.

When conducting an endoscopy in a neutral pressure room with a closed door, all personnel should don a powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR), use a water-resistant gown and a double layer of gloves. This room should remain closed for one hour after the procedure is complete to allow enough air exchange to evacuate suspended infectious particles. Appropriate signage should be placed outside the procedure room, indicating to others that an AGP is occurring or has just occurred.

At minimum, those in the pediatric endoscopy suite need to use gloves, water-resistant gowns, surgical face masks, eye protection and hair coverings for all endoscopic procedures. For patients requiring upper endoscopy and high-risk patients requiring colonoscopy, endoscopists need to utilize N95 respirators or equivalent, in addition to the PPE.

Scheduling of endoscopic procedures evaluates risks and benefits

According to the protocol, endoscopists need to prioritize emergent procedures such as foreign body retrieval, evaluation of gastrointestinal bleeding and procedures in hospitalized patients. They should limit outpatient procedures only to “essential” ones – defined as procedures that, if delayed more than eight to 12 weeks, would lead to harm or injury.

However, some children require endoscopy for their ongoing care and evaluation, irrespective of the COVID-19 pandemic. Delaying their procedures may compromise their health and strain future resources. In all cases, the endoscopy team needs to review the risks and benefits of endoscopy with patient families in advance of the procedure. Many patient families may choose to reschedule procedures until physical distancing restrictions have been lifted.

“Final decisions regarding the scheduling and timing of endoscopy will be made through shared decision making between the individual gastroenterologist, patient and the patient’s family,” Say said. “At the start of the shelter-in-place recommendations last month, many institutions locally chose to cancel all scheduled procedures entirely.  We didn’t take that approach here at UC Davis, which I know many people in the community thought was unusual.  I am so proud that we took a patient-centered approach to this crisis, acknowledging that just because a procedure was scheduled in advance doesn’t necessarily mean that it wasn’t essential.”

 # # #

Co-authors of this protocol are Arthur de Lorimier, Cathleen R. Lammers, JoAnne Natale, Satyan Lakshminrusimha, Jean Wiedeman and Elizabeth Partridge, all of UC Davis Health.

Study: Say et al. Risk Stratification and PPE Use in Pediatric Endoscopy During the COVID-19 Outbreak: A Single-Center Protocol. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. DOI:10.1097/MPG.0000000000002731


202004_uc-davis-pediatric-and-cardiac-intensive-care-unit-adds-snack-cart-for-families- Wed, 15 Apr 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Pediatric and Cardiac Intensive Care Unit adds snack cart for families <p>Parents and families on the UC Davis Pediatric and Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (PICU/PCICU) no longer have to leave their loved ones to get a snack in the cafeteria, thanks to UC Davis employee Teresa Campbell and the PICU team.</p> Parents and families on the UC Davis Pediatric and Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (PICU/PCICU) no longer have to leave their loved ones to get a snack in the cafeteria, thanks to UC Davis employee Teresa Campbell and the PICU team.

Campbell had brainstormed ways that the PICU team could provide additional support to families during the COVID-19 pandemic and came up with the simple idea of providing complimentary snacks. Campbell solicited food items and donations from the PICU staff and within 30 minutes, she had collected hundreds of dollars to start up the snack cart.

“I go around once a shift to all of the rooms and check in with parents, offering them items from the cart. It is amazing and humbling to see how touched they are and how their faces light up when I offer them something,” said Virpal Donley, interim nurse manager of the PICU/PCICU. “We hope to continue this long after all of the COVID-19 craziness settles down.”

In addition, the PICU/PCICU has a hot beverage cart, offering free tea, coffee and hot chocolate for families so they don’t have to leave their child’s bedside. This hot beverage cart is funded by PICU staff donations.

202004_chalk-art-trend-is-a-grateful-reminder-for-uc-davis-childrens-hospital-patient-families- Mon, 13 Apr 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Children's Hospital patient families make chalk art memories <p>For parents of sick or injured children, the current sidewalk chalk trend is more than just something to do while staying at home.</p> Although it’s only April, a holiday tradition is already underway. People are taking it to the streets, or more specifically, the sidewalk, driveway or patio. No, it’s not intricate candy cane light arches or snowmen blow-ups. It’s chalk art.

During the season of COVID-19, this offshoot of ‘Chalk the Walks,’ a national movement designed to share encouragement, takes on new meaning.

For some, decorated sidewalks help people find happiness during this time of crisis. Like the amazing messages left for #healthcareheroes around UC Davis Health’s campus in Sacramento. For others, chalk art offers a chance to get outside and enjoy the handiwork of neighbors – with masks on and six feet apart, of course.

For parents of UC Davis Children’s Hospital patients, however, chalk art gives them an opportunity they feared they’d miss - enjoying the gift of time spent with their sick or injured child.

Take Harper Bruckenstein. Five days after she was born at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Red Bluff, she went into heart failure. When she arrived at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, she and her family faced a life or death situation.

“Harper was diagnosed with truncus arteriosus (a rare type of heart disease) and needed immediate surgery,” said Jenneca Bruckenstein, Harper’s mom. “We didn’t know if she would make it.”

But with the help of the UC Davis Children’s Hospital care team, Harper Bruckenstein is a happy, healthy toddler now and her mom takes advantage of every opportunity to watch both Harper and her big sister, Khaleesi, grow.

“There’s nothing better than being made to stay home. I’m having way too much fun with my babes,” said Bruckenstein. “We’ve been crafting and baking up a storm. Chalk seemed like another good way to keep my girls busy and make some memories.”

The current Chalk the Walks trend is an opportunity for Amber Cunha as well. Her daughter, Avery, almost drowned two years ago. A Facebook plea from Cunha in March 2018 illustrates the terror felt at that time.

“She is such a brave little fighter, but she needs everyone’s help to get her through this so she can come home to her mommy and daddy,” Cunha posted. “Baby girl, mommy is here. Please come back to mommy. I love you soooo much.”

Like Harper, Avery was given a second chance.

“She needed to relearn how to walk, talk, sit up and eat. I was praying she would have the strength to fight and get back to herself,” said Cunha.

Avery struggled but made a full recovery. Today, Cunha captures on camera even the simplest moments spent with Avery, including her chalk masterpiece.

“Avery loves to color. So when I asked her if she wanted to color on the driveway, she got a huge grin on her face,” Cunha said. “She asked me to draw a lion. Then she roared. I laughed and made my best attempt at drawing it. We colored it in together.”

With social distancing forcing playgrounds and parks to close, caregivers, such as Bruckenstein and Cunha, and young children welcome a new reason to get some fresh air.

“Avery’s been trapped inside for so long, I knew she would love to be able to be outside safely,” Cunha said. 

“We needed to get out,” Bruckenstein added. “Plus, I have a terrible way of coming up with creative ideas.” 

Thank you, Chalk the Walks.

202004_qa-with-quality-and-safety-leader-ulfat-shaikh Mon, 13 Apr 2020 07:00:00 GMT Q&A with quality and safety leader Ulfat Shaikh <p>In February, Ulfat Shaikh, professor of pediatrics, was named the Paul V. Miles Fellowship recipient for 2020 by the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP). She answers some questions about her quality and safety goals in this new role.</p> In February, Ulfat Shaikh, professor of pediatrics, was named the Paul V. Miles Fellowship recipient for 2020 by the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP). Shaikh has co-led the annual UC Davis Healthcare Quality Forum with Fred Meyers over the last 10 years and offers a variety of quality improvement training and coaching opportunities to medical students, trainees, clinicians and staff at UC Davis Health.

Q: Tell us about the award you just received and the opportunities it presents to improve quality and safety.

A: The American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) Paul V. Miles Fellow award is given annually to an individual for contributions to improving the quality of care for children through leadership in quality improvement efforts. Each year's award has a focused area of expertise that the ABP calls for. For the 2020 award, special consideration was given to candidates who have used lean methods to escalate the rate of improvement and enhance the sustainability of improvement efforts within their organization.

The award gives me an opportunity to visit the ABP office in Chapel Hill to share knowledge that will inform the ABP's work in their mission to improve child health, specifically in the area of lean improvement methods. While there, I will also present grand rounds at Duke and University of North Carolina hospitals and meet quality improvement leaders there.

Q: You have had a long career in health care using traditional quality and lean methodologies. What have been some of your favorite moments?

A: My favorite moments all have to do with seeing the can-do spirit, creativity, resourcefulness and energy of my fellow clinicians and my trainees when they employ quality improvement methods in their own clinical settings to improve care for their patients. I am a glass-half-full kind of a person. As a practical optimist, I see problems and workarounds in clinical settings as potential quality improvement projects. Seeing how my trainees and colleagues change systems and workflows in the clinic or the ward to improve care for their patients is really energizing.

Q: What are your top areas of opportunity for quality over the next two to five years?

A: The first is an increased emphasis on ambulatory care quality. Improving the quality and efficiency of care, driving out waste, lowering costs and improving health outcomes, through tried and tested quality improvement methodologies such as lean and six sigma, is a high priority to me. I have been trained as a lean-six sigma black belt and see the power of the approach to accelerate and sustain improvements.

The second is increasing clinician engagement in quality improvement. The phrase "nothing about me without me" is often used in person-centered care to convey that medical decisions that directly affect a patient should not be made without involving them. I believe that the same should be true of any decision that involves clinicians. Just as there is a national movement, largely driven by patient advocates, to include patients in the co-design and co-production of care, we need to integrate frontline clinicians meaningfully in care redesign efforts. Workforce development in quality improvement and aligning clinicians' improvement efforts with the needs of the health care system is a high priority to me.

I feel fortunate to work at UC Davis Health where clinicians have the potential to influence the careers of tens of thousands of learners and the patients they serve, now and in the future.

202004_micro-preemies-lives-saved-by-uc-davis-childrens-hospital-transport-team-and-nicu Fri, 10 Apr 2020 07:00:00 GMT Micro-preemies' lives saved by UC Davis Children's Hospital transport team and NICU <p>Despite being delivered at only 24 weeks, the Headrick twins' care team was determined these boys would make it.&nbsp;</p> Twin boys, Brantley and Braxton Headrick, were eager to join the world. 

Born at 24 weeks gestation, the premature twins were flown from the Redding area to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at UC Davis Children’s Hospital in Sacramento. Thanks to the initial efforts of the Critical Care Transport Team at UC Davis Children’s Hospital – a team of specially trained pediatric and neonatal critical care nurses who provide the highest level of care en route to the hospital – Braxton and Brantley had a chance. 

Grateful their sons were alive, parents Christian and Payton Headrick faced a scary reality when they saw their boys. The newborns needed tubes to eat, to breathe, to live. From that moment on, the Headricks held their collective breath. 

“It was a second-to-second, minute-to-minute battle,” said Payton Headrick. “We never wanted to leave their sides because we did not know what would happen.” 

Brantley and Braxton fought the good fight. The babies had to be resuscitated every couple of hours. Braxton was septic and required surgery for a bowel perforation. He underwent Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) eye surgery to save him from blindness. 

But the twins were as keen and headstrong then as they are now and despite their early introduction to the world and multiple surgeries, both boys lived to see another day. And then another. The NICU team was a constant source of comfort for the Headricks.  

“We quickly realized the boys were in the best hands. The doctors and nurses at UC Davis Children’s Hospital are so knowledgeable,” said Payton Headrick. “The staff became like second parents, treating our children like they were their own, providing love and care in addition to saving their lives.” 

After more than five months in the NICU, the Headrick family could go home. 

“We’re so fortunate the twins received the amazing care they did,” Payton Headrick said. “I 100% percent tell everyone who’ll listen to go to UC Davis Children’s Hospital for everything. This hospital is simply the best.” 

Now 4 years old, these once fragile boys are the epitome of toughness. According to their parents, they’re independent, energetic and all boy. Getting dirty is their mission and Christian and Payton Headrick say that’s just fine with them.

202004_uc-davis-childrens-hospital-cancer-patient-still-smiling-after-treatment Thu, 09 Apr 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Children's Hospital cancer patient still smiling after treatment <p>Madelyn O'Brien was born with cancer, but she has never that stop her.</p> Before she was even born, Madelyn O’Brien faced unimaginable odds.

Diagnosed in utero with a tumor on her spine, Madelyn was four days old when she had the first of several surgeries at UC Davis Children’s Hospital

Then came the chemotherapy and this tiny baby fought for her life, losing her hair in the process. Through it all, Madelyn not only kept a brave face, but she actually smiled through the adversity, flashing her toothy grin and melting hearts. 

“She is so strong,” said Devin O’Brien, Madelyn’s dad. “We are so lucky.” 

More surgeries followed. The family spent months in and out of the hospital. But with expert care from the team at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, Madelyn returned home to Chico. Her most recent scan shows no sign of the tumor and for the time being, her treatment is complete. 

As her hair continues to grow, Madelyn, her parents and big brother – whom she affectionately calls, Bubba – look to the future with hope. 

“We absolutely loved all of the care Madelyn received at UC Davis Children’s Hospital,” said Vanessa Wright-Gosnell, Madelyn’s mom. “Madelyn is happy and healthy and doing great! She hit her one-year cancer free in August of 2019 and her labs remain low. It’s amazing.”

202004_Drowning-victim-gets-to-swim-again-thanks-to-uc-davis-picu Wed, 08 Apr 2020 07:00:00 GMT Drowning victim gets to swim again thanks to UC Davis PICU <p>Her love of water almost cost Avery her life. But the UC Davis PICU care team got it back.</p> It was a quiet weekday in February 2018. Amber Cunha was putting away supplies following an afternoon of crafts with her 19-month-old daughter Avery. She returned to find the sliding glass door open. Where was Avery? Face down in the family’s pool. 

Amber jumped in, pulled Avery out, dialed 911 and began performing CPR. Paramedics took Avery to a nearby hospital, her heart stopping twice. She needed 37 minutes of CPR and five rounds of epinephrine to be stable enough to be lifeflighted to the Pediatric and Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (PICU/PCICU) at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. The PICU/PCICU treats infants, children and adolescents who experience life-threatening infectious diseases or traumatic injuries, as Avery did. She was in critical condition.

And that was just the beginning of this family’s terrifying journey. Unable to eat or swallow, Avery required a feeding tube. A breathing machine and heart monitor kept her alive. IV tubing snaked everywhere.

“It was so frightening to see her like that,” Cunha said. “There were just so many tubes, so much equipment.”

Although MRI results showed no brain damage, Avery struggled to maintain head control and was unable to sit, roll over or speak. Her eyes could not track objects.

“It was like having a 6-month-old baby again,” Cunha said.

But this tenacious little girl was alive and she wasn’t through yet. Neither was her care team.

Specialists in speech, physical and occupational pediatric rehabilitation got to work, helping Avery relearn everything.

“Avery couldn’t speak and then two months later, she could yell, ‘Mama!’ across the room and say, ‘Thank you,’” said speech therapist Michelle Ramirez. “It was an amazing experience for our rehab team to see her make daily gains.”

These gains enabled Avery to return home, where she continues to thrive more than two years later.

“I cannot thank the health care team at UC Davis Children’s Hospital enough for saving my daughter’s life,” Amber said. “I am so grateful to have my daughter back. She is the same happy girl she was before.”

202004_new-surgical-technique-prevents-stoma-complications-after-appendicostomy Tue, 07 Apr 2020 07:00:00 GMT New surgical technique prevents stoma complications after appendicostomy <p>The risk of stoma complications after appendicostomy can be significantly lowered by a new surgical procedure.</p> The risk of stoma stenosis complications after surgery to treat certain gastrointestinal or urinary tract diseases can be significantly lowered by a new surgical procedure that preserves the blood vessels and the tip of the appendix, a UC Davis Health study has found.

The surgery, known as an appendicostomy, uses the appendix to connect an artificial opening (stoma) in the skin of the belly button to the colon (for antegrade colonic enema- ACE Malone procedure) or to the bladder (for Mitrofanoff procedure). It allows the delivery of an enema or emptying the bladder for patients with gastrointestinal or urinary tract diseases.

After surgery, some patients may experience complications such as stoma stenosis--the constriction or narrowing of the artificial opening. Stoma stenosis brings up to 40% of appendicostomy patients back to the operating room for surgical revision.

Innovation in appendicostomy

In 2012, Eric Kurzrock, the chief of pediatric urologic surgery and professor of urology and pediatrics at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, did not agree with the mechanics of the standard appendicostomy procedure, which requires removal of the appendix tip to create the stoma. He determined that making the opening in the appendix away from the tip would preserve the blood vessels and the blood supply to the stoma.

With the new procedure, the tip of the appendix is saved and used to secure the appendix to the fascia above the belly button. This step prevents tension on the stoma, especially from patients’ movements during the healing phase.

Stoma stenosis after appendicostomy

In the study published in The Journal of Urology, Kurzrock compared the incidence of stoma stenosis among patients who had traditional appendicostomy with those who received appendicostomy using the new procedure. He evaluated the medical records of 123 patients who underwent appendicostomy for ACE Malone or urinary diversion.

Kurzrock found that after standard stoma surgery (93 patients), stenosis occurred in 13% of cases, most within a year of surgery. With the new stoma technique (30 patients), no appendicostomy patient had stenosis, with follow up between one and seven years.

“After reviewing many possible factors that could be associated with stenosis, it was clear that the only factor associated with this complication was the procedural completion with the standard versus new technique,” Kurzrock said.

“This modification of the appendicostomy for urine diversion and ACE Malone will hopefully prevent this common complication.”

Study: Kurzrock, E. A New Appendicostomy Technique to Prevent Stomal Stenosis, The Journal of Urology. DOI:10.1097/JU.0000000000000711


202004_pediatric-patients-connect-to-art-music-therapy-via-zoom-during-covid-19-pandemic Mon, 06 Apr 2020 07:00:00 GMT Pediatric patients connect to art, music therapy via Zoom during COVID-19 pandemic <p>During the COVID-19 pandemic, the UC Davis Creative Arts Therapy team takes their daily art and music therapy groups out of the playroom and into each patient&rsquo;s room via Zoom software.</p> During the COVID-19 pandemic, the UC Davis Creative Arts Therapy team takes their daily art and music therapy groups out of the playroom and into each patient’s room via Zoom software.

Each pediatric patient receives log-in information, so they can join in remotely each day.

Art therapist Katie Lorain passes out art materials to each patient with directions for the Activity of the Day (AOD). Music therapist Tori Steeley leads music activities, offering musical instruments for those who want to play and taking song requests. iPads are available for children who want to log into the activities.

“We do these group activities each day and it has been surprisingly successful,” Lorain said. Virtual attendees include children from other pediatric units in the hospital, as well as patients who otherwise would not be able to participate in playroom activities due to their condition.

Recent art activities included creating rainbows from Model Magic Clay, making sensory stained glass, watercolor painting and making clay pots. 

The team also shares their creative arts therapy projects with the public every Friday at 3 p.m. on the Children’s Hospital Facebook page. Last Friday, they created mandalas.

“Although these changes have been made due to the need for social distancing, it has brought about some creativity and positive change that will potentially continue moving forward,” said Diana Sundberg, manager of Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department.  

202004_comprehensive-epilepsy-program-receives-highest-national-accreditation-rating Thu, 02 Apr 2020 07:00:00 GMT Comprehensive Epilepsy Program receives highest national accreditation rating <p>The UC Davis Medical Center&rsquo;s Comprehensive Epilepsy Program recently earned accreditation as a Level 4 epilepsy center, the highest rating awarded by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC).</p> The UC Davis Medical Center’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Program recently earned accreditation as a level 4 epilepsy center, the highest rating awarded by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC).

The NAEC is a non-profit association that supports epilepsy centers in delivering comprehensive care to people with epilepsy by setting standards of care, advocating for access to high quality epilepsy center services and providing resources and knowledge to its member centers.

“I’m very proud that our program is recognized as a level 4 epilepsy center by the NAEC,” said Masud Seyal, director of the Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratory and the epilepsy program. “We’re one of only a handful of epilepsy centers in Northern California that have this designation.”

The UC Davis epilepsy program is a leader in the medical and surgical management of complex epileptic disorders. The program provides a wide array of services including clinical neurophysiology, neuroradiology, neuropsychology, child neurology and nuclear medicine.

As a level 4 epilepsy center, the program is recognized as providing more complex forms of intensive neurodiagnostic monitoring, as well as more extensive medical neuropsychological and psychosocial treatment. Level 4 centers also offer a complete evaluation for epilepsy surgery and a broad range of surgical procedures for the condition.

“Our team at UC Davis includes four adult and pediatric epileptologists, epilepsy-trained neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists and EEG technologists,” Seyal said. “Several epilepsy-related research studies are also underway in the Departments of Neurology and Neurological Surgery that may lead to innovative treatments in the future.”


202004_uc-davis-pediatrics-cancer-patient-is-loving-his-life Wed, 01 Apr 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis pediatric cancer patient is loving his life <p>UC Davis Children's Hospital collaboration gives childhood cancer patient a chance at life.</p> First-time parents, Kyle and Geoff Westbrook of Sacramento, were concerned about their 18-month-old son, Marshall. His fevers were intermittent, but too frequent to attribute to usual childhood ills like teething. When his fever spiked, he was lethargic and wanted to be held all the time. He was a cuddler by nature, but this was different.

In coordination with their UC Davis pediatrician, the Westbrooks began monitoring, taking Marshall’s temperature daily. The fevers persisted.

“It had been going on for what felt like a long time and he seemed to be getting worse. I knew we were dealing with something serious, but I didn’t know what,” said Marshall’s mom, Kyle Westbrook. After blood tests in the morning, he was referred to UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center pediatric hematology/oncology and admitted to UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

“They expedited our admission and we got the initial diagnosis that day: B-cell high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia,” Westbrook said. “Marshall needed immediate treatment.”

That was the beginning of the Westbrooks’ journey into the world of childhood cancer and the world of UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

“It was amazing how quickly they shepherded us through the process, immediately enveloping us in all aspects of care,” Westbrook said. “They did a phenomenal job answering our questions and establishing trust with Marshall.”

That trust and collaborative approach to treating children would pay dividends for the family. Frequent visits to the Emergency Department, the Children’s Surgery Center and 10 hospitalizations could have been far more traumatic had it not been for the UC Davis team, said Westbrook.

“From the beginning, they set us up for success. The team tailored everything to meet the needs of Marshall and our family,” Westbrook said. “Not only was our son getting the best medical care, we were all learning how to cope. They offered skills and ideas well beyond the confines of the hospital room.”

Westbrook is especially grateful to the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy team for making Marshall’s time in treatment a positive experience and for keeping him on track developmentally.

“Child Life helped create a loving, accommodating environment. They transformed the hospital into a magical place,” Westbrook said. “It was a vibrant world for a child. I can’t tell you how much Child Life brought to us.”

Marshall is on his third cycle of maintenance and his body has been responsive to treatment. He now has a full head of hair and is “loving his life,” according to his mom. The Westbrooks have a long road ahead but look forward with confidence knowing UC Davis Children’s Hospital will continue to provide the comprehensive support they have come to count on.

202003_-child-life-team-chalks-up-hope-in-front-of-uc-davis-medical-center-cancer-center Tue, 31 Mar 2020 07:00:00 GMT Child Life team chalks up hope in front of UC Davis Medical Center, Cancer Center <p>The UC Davis Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy team have penned words of encouragment in sidewalk chalk in front of entrances to the UC Davis Medical Center and Comprehensive Cancer Center. &nbsp;</p> “There is a rainbow at the end of the storm.”

This is just one of the messages that the UC Davis Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy team have penned in sidewalk chalk in front of entrances to the UC Davis Medical Center and Comprehensive Cancer Center.  

Employees and visitors are also greeted with “Not all heroes wear capes ... some wear scrubs” and “Always look on the bright side of life.”

In child-like pastel colors and bold fonts, they send words of encouragement to all who see them.

“This is a tough time for all: the hospital staff, physicians and nurses as well as the patients and families. Our staff wanted to share positive messages for those entering the facility, both here at the hospital and at the Cancer Center,” said Diana Sundberg, manager of the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department. “It hopefully will be a bit of a bright spot in the day.”

The art is common among child life departments at children’s hospitals across the country. It is a spin off of the “Chalk your Walk” national movement that aims to share positive words of encouragement during the COVID-19 pandemic. The UC Davis Child Life team wanted to put their own spin on it.

Art therapist Katie Lorain and other child life specialists started creating sidewalk chalk art installations this week, complete with hand-drawn pictures of rainbows, sunshine, stars and even Winnie the Pooh. Nurses have also joined in to help encourage others.

“During this trying time, it can be difficult to feel connected to your support system, whether you are sheltering in place or working an essential job. Public chalk art serves as a witness to this struggle, joining staff, visitors and patients together through a shared viewing experience,” Lorain said. “Art reminds us that we are not alone, and in fact, we are both seen and heard.”

View photos of the sidewalk chalk installations. 

202003_an-unexpected-thank-you-from-the-picupcicu-goes-a-long-way Tue, 31 Mar 2020 07:00:00 GMT An unexpected thank you from the PICU/PCICU goes a long way <p>The Pediatric and Cardiac Intensive Care Unit recently reached out to the protective service officers in the <a href="https://health.ucdavis.edu/medicalcenter/">UC Davis Medical Center</a> with an unexpected thank you, and an even more unexpected candy basket in appreciation for all the extra support they have been giving patients and their families throughout the hospital.</p> In these unprecedented and stressful days for UC Davis Health and the entire community, one simple guideline might be that lots of people can use a thank you. Even better: A thank you with candy.

That was the thinking in the Pediatric and Cardiac Intensive Care Unit recently when they reached out to the protective service officers in the UC Davis Medical Center with an unexpected thank you, and an even more unexpected candy basket in appreciation for all the extra support they have been giving patients and their families throughout the hospital.

“They really deserve it,” said Virpal Donley, interim nurse manager of the PICU/PCICU. “We should tell them more often how much we appreciate them.”

Donley said the PICU/PCICU, which has a 24-hour visitor policy during normal times, has long relied on PSO officers to check in with the unit after 9 p.m. to see if a visitor should be allowed up.

“It’s a service we were always thankful to have,” she said.

In mid-March, before the medical center suspended all but a very few visits to patients in the battle again COVID-19, visitations were limited in the hospital but still allowed.

“The PSOs had to call for every single patient in the hospital all day.” Donley said. “Our unit discussed how much their workload had increased and wanted to say thank you for all their hard work to support our unit and the hospital. It can be easy to forget how much every unit and every person can help us care for our patients.”

202003_coronavirus-in-children-observations-from-wuhan-china Thu, 26 Mar 2020 07:00:00 GMT Coronavirus in children: Observations from Wuhan, China <p>New research from Wuhan, China provide insights on the manifestations of coronavirus infection in children.</p> In a Letter to the Editor, published on March 18, 2020 in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), researchers from China and the United States provide a report on the coronavirus infection in children hospitalized in Wuhan, China between Jan. 28 and Feb. 26, 2020. Kent Pinkerton, professor of pediatrics at the UC Davis School of Medicine, co-authored this study.

The letter, titled “SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Children,” presents the findings from an observational study, with valuable insights on the manifestations of the infection in children under the age of 15.

The researchers recruited all of the children who presented to Wuhan Children’s Hospital, the only children’s hospital testing for coronavirus in Wuhan, for possible severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. They assessed and tested 1,391 children and found 171 (12.3%) to be infected with coronavirus. From those infected, 104 (60.8%) were males.

Coronavirus in children

Symptoms varied in their manifestations and intensity: 16% showed no infection symptoms, 19% had upper respiratory tract infection and 65% exhibited pneumonia. Upon admission to the hospital, 29% of the children had tachypnea, a respiratory rate higher than the upper limit of the normal range, and 42% presented with tachycardia, a pulse rate higher than the upper limit of the normal range.

The study also found children infected with SARS-CoV-2 have similar, but milder symptoms compared to those seen in adults.

“Among the 171 children infected with coronavirus, there was a single death of a 10-month-old infant with multiple organ failure,” Pinkerton said.

Yet, the researchers voiced the need to determine the transmission potential of these younger patients, especially the asymptomatic, to guide the development of measures to control the ongoing pandemic.

“Even those children who showed no infection symptoms can be highly contagious with the ability to transmit the virus to other children and to hospital staff,” Pinkerton said. “This re-enforces the critical need to practice shelter-in-place and social distancing for everyone.”

Lu at al. (2020). SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Children. New England Journal of Medicine. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc2005073

202003_uc-davis-childrens-hospital-picu-saved-type-1-diabetics-life Wed, 25 Mar 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis PICU saves patient’s life <p>Jackson Manning&rsquo;s parents thought he had the flu. He didn&rsquo;t.</p> It was February 2018. Jackson’s parents thought he had the flu. Then one morning Mike and Tricia Manning awoke to find their only child unresponsive and turning blue.

He was rushed to UC Davis Children’s Hospital’s state-of-the-art Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). The PICU offers care for the most critically ill and injured children like Jackson. It wasn’t the flu. It was Type 1 diabetes.

Complications collapsed a lung and severe pneumonia had set in. Jackson was on a ventilator. He would spend 39 days in the hospital but persevered in his crusade to walk out of the hospital.

“This health care team not only cared for Jackson physically, but they did everything they could to keep his spirits up. These wonderful people literally saved our son's life.”

Arduous physical therapy followed. Jackson worked hard to get his strength back.

“When Jackson decides to do something, there’s no stopping him,” says mom, Tricia Manning.

With sheer will, Jackson can once again enjoy the simple, everyday things like talking, laughing, sleeping in his own bed, spending time with friends and playing with his cat.

“He’s my hero for pushing through like he did,” adds Mike Manning, Jackson’s dad.

Jackson is also back to playing sports, was the honorary team captain of the UC Davis Men’s Basketball team, was named the Children’s Miracle Network Champion Child for 2019 and has his sports commentating career in sight.

UC Davis Children’s Hospital’s A1C Masters Program helps kids like Jackson maintain their health by teaching young patients the life-saving skills to manage their diabetes.

“There’s always something out there to inspire you to work hard, get out of the hospital and live,” says Jackson. “Whatever disease you have, don’t let it stop you from living the life you’ve been planning.”

202003_uc-davis-childrens-hospitals-first-fetal-surgery-patient-is-a-precocious-three-year-old Tue, 24 Mar 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Children's Hospital's first fetal surgery patient is a precocious three-year-old <p>Matthew Saeturn-Angeles, UC Davis Children's Hospital's first ever fetal surgery patient, survives and thrives.</p> Still in his mother’s womb, Matthew Saeturn-Angeles’ parents were told he had hydrops, a condition involving an accumulation of fluid in his chest which can lead to stillbirth. During the previous three years, Bobby and Khae had dealt with infertility, miscarriage and the loss of a baby girl. Now their unborn son was facing a serious condition that threatened his life. The options were limited and risky. Fetal surgery seemed the best hope.

“We had our concerns and questions, but ultimately, we wanted to do what was in the best interest of the baby and me,” said mom, Khae Saeturn.

At 32 weeks gestation, doctors at the UC Davis Fetal Care and Treatment Center made a small incision in Khae’s stomach and placed a shunt to drain fluid from Matthew’s chest. The surgery was a success and the first of its kind at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

The UC Davis Fetal Care and Treatment Center, the first of its kind in inland Northern California, is home to renowned experts provide highly specialized care for mother and baby before, during and after birth, all under one roof. In addition to surgical interventions, the Center also has an extensive fetal care research program, including stem cell and tissue engineering for several fetal diseases.

Matthew was born at 33 weeks and spent two months in the UC Davis Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) before going home to his family in Elk Grove.

When the time came for Matthew to be discharged, his parents could hardly believe it. “We just wanted to scream down the hallways, ‘We're going home!'” Saeturn said. “In the car, we took a picture of each other with the baby and thought, Is this really happening? We were going home.”

Now almost three and a half, Matthew is hitting all his milestones and is a boy who loves animals and has a huge heart.

“He is such a sweet boy. He is talking up a storm and has lots of energy,” says Bobby Angeles, Matthew’s dad. “Without that procedure, who knows where we’d be.”

202003_home-based-video-visits-improve-glycemic-control-among-pediatric-type-1-diabetes-patients Mon, 23 Mar 2020 07:00:00 GMT Home-based video visits improve glycemic control among pediatric type 1 diabetes patients <p>Can remote video visits help improve glycemic control and clinic attendance for children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes?</p> Can remote video visits help improve glycemic control and clinic attendance for children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes (T1D)?

UC Davis researchers investigated this question and recently published their findings in the journal Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics.

“This study focused on how to make care for a chronic pediatric condition like type 1 diabetes more frequent and more accessible for patients who were not achieving optimal outcomes,” said Stephanie Crossen, pediatric endocrinologist at UC Davis Health and lead author of the study.

Crossen and her team supplemented quarterly in-person clinic visits with video visits for a population of pediatric T1D patients who have suboptimal glycemic control. Fifty-seven children under the age of 18 enrolled in the study. One half of participants were adolescents, and the majority lived more than 30 miles away from UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

Study participants had video visits with Crossen from their homes every four, six or eight weeks, depending on their hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels. Patients uploaded data from their diabetes devices before each video visit for Crossen to review.

The patients’ HbA1c levels, as well as frequencies of clinic visits and diabetes-related emergency department and hospital visits, were compared before and after the study.

After one year in the study, study participants demonstrated the following outcomes:

  • High patient satisfaction with the intervention (93% “very satisfied”)
  • Improved frequency of care (83% of participants completed four or more diabetes visits within a year, compared to only 21% prior to the study)
  • Improved glycemic control (mean HbA1c decreased from 10.8 to 9.6 among participants who completed the full year)
  • Increased use of diabetes technology including insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors (CGMs)
  • No significant change in diabetes-related emergency department and hospital visits

“By providing in-home telehealth visits every four to eight weeks as a supplement to the care they received at our clinic, we were able to significantly improve glucose control for 57 children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes,” Crossen said. “This is a great example of how connected health technology can help us improve patient experiences and health outcomes simultaneously for people living with a chronic condition.”

Other authors on the study are Nicole Glaser and James Marcin of UC Davis Health.

This research was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, through grant UL1 TR001860 and linked award KL2 TR001859.

202003_kids-considered-podcast-posts-weekly-covid-19-episodes Fri, 20 Mar 2020 07:00:00 GMT Kids Considered podcast posts weekly COVID-19 episodes <p>Why is &ldquo;flattening the curve&rdquo; so important? What are the risks to pregnant women and their babies? And what are the ins and outs about social distancing? The latest Kids Considered podcast episode about COVID-19 answers these questions and more.</p> Why is “flattening the curve” so important? What are the risks to pregnant women and their babies? And what are the ins and outs about social distancing? The latest Kids Considered podcast episode about COVID-19 answers these questions and more. It is now live: https://ucdavis.health/2xaD8bv

For the past three weeks, Kids Considered, the UC Davis Children’s Hospital podcast hosted by Dean Blumberg and Lena van der List, has been posting weekly podcast episodes, providing updates about coronavirus and what parents and families need to know in simple, straightforward language.

The pair will continue recording COVID-19 updates every Wednesday, posting to their podcast by Wednesday evening. They also welcome questions from the public.

For all episodes of Kids Considered, visit https://blog.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/twopedsinapod/

202003_how-uc-davis-childrens-hospital-is-prepared-for-covid-19 Wed, 18 Mar 2020 07:00:00 GMT How UC Davis Children’s Hospital is prepared for COVID-19 <p>As the only nationally ranked, comprehensive children&rsquo;s hospital in the Sacramento region, <a href="https://children.ucdavis.edu/">UC Davis Children&rsquo;s Hospital</a> is uniquely positioned to care for children with critical care needs, including children with COVID-19. Here are examples of the ways the team is prepared.</p> As the only nationally ranked, comprehensive children’s hospital in the Sacramento region, UC Davis Children’s Hospital is uniquely positioned to care for children with critical care needs, including children with COVID-19.   

Here are just a few examples of the ways the team is prepared:

  • Labor and Delivery has an assessment and treatment protocol to care for mothers who have or are suspected to have COVID-19.
  • New visitation policy limits the spread of infection.
  • All pediatric areas are equipped with protective equipment for hospital personnel.
  • All postpartum rooms can be converted to negative pressure rooms to accommodate mothers who have given birth and are suspected of carrying the COVID-19 virus.
  • The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) has an isolation room, if any babies who test positive for COVID-19 require intensive care.
  • The pediatric floor has negative pressure rooms for children with COVID-19.
  • The Pediatric and Cardiac Intensive Care Unit meets regularly and can provide advanced respiratory care, including extracorporeal life support (ECLS), to children with severe respiratory failure, a potential outcome of COVID-19.
  • The Children’s Surgery Center is prepared to provide surgical services as needed for children with COVID-19.
  • The dedicated pediatric infectious diseases team is available each day to offer infection prevention expertise.
  • Medical and nursing leaders of all pediatric inpatient units meet daily.

“From what we know so far, children are less likely to develop severe COVID-19, following infection with the novel coronavirus, compared to older adults. But we are taking this virus very seriously across our hospital,” said Satyan Lakshminrusimha, physician-in-chief at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. “We are proud that our children’s hospital team has been working together and is ready to care for children with COVID-19 and support families through this crisis.”

202003_uc-davis-childrens-hospital-pediatric-cardiology-patient-lives-to-share-his-story Wed, 18 Mar 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Children's Hospital pediatric cardiology patient is living his best life <p>Local teenager continues to thrive after multiple heart surgeries at UC Davis Children's Hospital.</p> Casey Dyke has been a patient of the UC Davis Children’s Hospital from day one. Actually, even before that.

Prenatal testing told Gina and Michael Dyke that their son would need a series of operations to correct a heart defect. A crucial valve was missing from his heart, inhibiting it from circulating oxygen-rich blood to his body.

Casey required the procedures sooner than expected. Just days after birth, he had his first heart surgery. The second operation happened in Casey’s room in UC Davis Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) while he was still recovering from the first procedure.

"We literally didn't know if he was going to make it, and we were scared to ask," said Gina Dyke. "All you're thinking is, 'He has to live.'”

By the time Casey was 4-years-old, he had four complex heart surgeries. His parents estimate that Casey spent a year in the PICU recovering from his heart surgeries and several other health problems.

Gina Dyke praises UC Davis Children’s Hospital, Children’s Miracle Network, and especially their pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon, Gary Raff, for their son being alive today. Casey is now a healthy and active teenager.

"It's amazing that a boy born with the odds against him can go on to have such a normal life. I'm extremely grateful for what UC Davis has done for him," Gina Dyke said.

202003_uc-davis-health--shriners-hospitals-partner-to-provide-expertise-to-spina-bifida-patients Wed, 18 Mar 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Health – Shriners Hospitals partner to provide expertise to spina bifida patients <p>For more than 25 years, UC Davis Children&rsquo;s Hospital has partnered with Shriners Hospitals for Children &mdash; Northern California to serve children with spina bifida like 2-year-old Remington MacCullough.</p> Every six months, Remington MacCullough travels from Esparto to the Spina Bifida clinic at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California in Sacramento and gets his ultrasound. 

He knows the drill. He knows the faces. They’re the same faces that have followed him since he was an infant.

“We have been going here since he was six months old. He gets an ultrasound. They look at the health of his kidneys and his bladder and then he goes to meet with his doctors and talk about the results,” said Chloe MacCullough, mother of Remington.

It is the routine for many spina bifida patients in inland Northern California.

For more than 25 years, UC Davis Children’s Hospital has partnered with Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California to serve children with spina bifida. The Spina Bifida Clinic, located across the street from UC Davis Children’s Hospital, is a unique collaboration, blending the expertise of UC Davis with Shriners, including physicians, registered dietitians, physical and occupational therapists, and ultrasound technicians in a child-friendly facility.

It’s a place of support and healing for children with spina bifida — and, since 2016 when the UC Davis Fetal Care and Treatment Center opened, it has been a place for children who have been treated with spina bifida in the womb.

“I think our partnership offers children with the best of both worlds,” said Maya Evans, medical director of the clinic. She works with children in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) at both facilities. “Our physicians come from PM&R, pediatric orthopaedics, pediatric neurology and pediatric urology. This arc that we offer provides a nice continuity of care for children who started with fetal surgery at UC Davis and takes them through adulthood.”

Once children reach the age of 18, UC Davis Medical Center is the next step in their care and can provide comprehensive services for adults with spina bifida. It is what caregivers call lifespan care.

Chloe MacCullough notes that the intimate setting at Shriners has been comforting and that the staff and Remington’s doctors have been incredibly kind and patient.

“The partnership between UC Davis and Shriners has given our family peace of mind when it comes to creating a plan for our son’s overall health. Knowing Remi has doctors who are working together to ensure he has the best care has made all the difference as we navigate his medical journey. The Spina Bifida Clinic at Shriners is a huge part of this, where we gain knowledge and equip Remi to live a full and successful life,” Chloe MacCullough said.

202003_wearable-device-assists-people-with-loss-of-bladder-function Fri, 13 Mar 2020 07:00:00 GMT Wearable device assists people with loss of bladder function <p>Researchers at UC Davis are designing a wearable device to help patients with spinal cord injury recognize bladder fullness.</p> UC Davis medical and engineering experts are teaming up to develop an under-clothing biosensor that can recognize in real time when someone’s bladder is full. Most people take that kind of biological awareness for granted, but it is lacking for the approximately half a million individuals in the United States with spinal cord injuries or spinal anomalies.

Those with neurogenic bladders — conditions in which bladder control is lost due to brain, spinal cord or neurologic problems — have to rely on a schedule rather than actual volume to empty their bladders. Many use catheterization, inserting a sterile catheter to drain the bladder into a bag, four to six times per day.

But relying on a clock, instead of actual volume, can lead to leaking or more serious problems, such as when urine volume unknowingly builds up in the bladder.

“You can get high pressure in the bladder pushing upwards, which can lead to kidney failure,” said Eric Kurzrock, chief of pediatric urologic surgery and a professor in the UC Davis Departments of Urologic Surgery and Pediatrics.

Kurzrock is working with Soheil Ghiasi, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. One of Ghiasi’s areas of expertise is embedded computing, bringing together the physical and cyber world for dedicated applications.

Also on the team is Lifeng Lai, an associate professor in the UC Davis Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering who specializes in machine learning and stochastic signal processing — working with signals that have uncertainty or may appear random.

The project received seed funding in 2017 from CITRIS, the accelerator program designed to advance University of California innovations. In February 2020, the team received a $389,926 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to continue developing and testing the device.

Ghiasi described how the noninvasive sensor will combine several sensing modalities, such as ultrasound, resonance sensing and light, to tell if a bladder is full or empty.

For example, the wearable device shines short bursts of near-infrared lights into the bladder. Detectors on the same device track and analyze how much of that light bounces back. Because water absorbs more light than the surrounding tissue, less and less light makes it back to the sensors as the bladder fills. Several such sensing modalities will be combined to monitor the bladder, which can then trigger a notice for the wearer or caregiver.

“The goal is to restore the ability to recognize bladder fullness in patients with spinal cord injury,” said Ghiasi. “This allows them or their caregivers to plan bathroom trips when they are actually needed and be able to avoid incontinence or health complications from an over-full bladder.”

Bladder sizes, shapes and locations vary greatly — a child’s bladder, for example, is located more forward in the abdomen than an adult’s — so the device will need to adapt to each person’s unique physique. And because it’s wearable, the biosensor may not end up in the exact same spot every day. To accommodate the wide range of variabilities, the team is using artificial intelligence algorithms to predict and monitor location, bladder size and volume.

Although it is being designed for people with spinal cord injuries or anomalies, it may have broader applications as well. Additional health conditions that can affect bladder function include diabetic neuropathy, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis.

The proof-of-concept studies have been promising. With the current NSF grant, the team will continue to refine the prototype and undertake new studies on people with and without spinal cord injuries or anomalies.

The University of California has filed a patent for Ghiasi and Kurzrock’s innovation, “System, device and method for bladder volume sensing.” The grant is supported through NSF award No. 1937158

202003_when-cardiac-arrest-hits-6-year-old-uc-davis-pediatric-heart-center-offers-lifesaving-care Thu, 12 Mar 2020 07:00:00 GMT When cardiac arrest hits 6-year-old, UC Davis Pediatric Heart Center offers lifesaving care <p>The UC Davis Pediatric Heart Center team detected patient Greyson Anable's very rare heart condition through exploratory heart surgery and were able to save the child&rsquo;s life.</p> Woodland resident Greyson Anable was a healthy, energetic 6-year-old, until he collapsed from cardiac arrest last month.

“His face was contorted and he just stopped breathing. 911 was called and my wife performed CPR until the paramedics came,” said Mike Rector, Greyson’s dad.

When paramedics arrived, they used an automatic external defibrillator (AED) to shock Greyson’s heart twice and were able to get his heart to start beating again. Then they transported him to UC Davis Children’s Hospital for diagnosis and treatment.

Greyson was placed on extracorporeal life support (ECLS), also known as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), which is one of the most advanced forms of life support available to patients experiencing acute failure of the cardiac and/or respiratory systems. The ECLS machine does the work of the heart and lungs, artificially oxygenating the blood and returning it to the body, allowing the patient's heart and lungs to rest and heal.

During this time, the UC Davis Pediatric Heart Center team performed tests to find the cause. When he wasn’t improving, a cardiac catheterization was performed and the team discovered that Greyson had coronary ostial stenosis, obstructing blood flow into the coronary arteries. This is a very rare diagnosis in children, and comes with a high fatality rate. He was quickly taken into the operating room for exploratory heart surgery. It was a risk, but proved to be one that was worth taking.

Once in the operating room, they found that the obstruction was caused by a hood of tissue that covered the opening of his left main coronary artery. Pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon Gary Raff was able to resect the hood of tissue and repair the coronary artery to normal function. 

“It’s a very rare heart condition and even rarer to diagnose this prior to autopsy,” Raff said. “We were able to provide excellent care for him because we function very well as a team and everyone had the opportunity to review and discuss the data and agree on a prudent, albeit unconventional, approach. In this day and age, surgeons rarely go to the operating room without a firm diagnosis. This is an example of teamwork at its best.”

UC Davis chief of pediatric cardiology Frank Ing said that Raff’s decision to operate urgently made all the difference.

“Most kids just die without having this diagnosis,” Ing said. “I’m proud that we were able to find the cause of his cardiac arrest and save this child’s life.”

Greyson is back home now and has returned to his usual energetic self. He recently celebrated his 7th birthday — a birthday he may not have seen without the help of the team at UC Davis Pediatric Heart Center.     

“I would say his experience at UC Davis was a good one. The doctors and nurses were very attentive and caring. As of now, Greyson is doing great,” Rector said.

202003_dr-seuss-books-needed-to-launch-new-nicu-graduation-process Wed, 11 Mar 2020 07:00:00 GMT Dr. Seuss books needed to launch new NICU graduation process <p>UC Davis Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy are rolling out a new NICU graduation process for all babies when they are discharged from the NICU. Babies will receive a grad cap, a grad certificate and a new copy of Dr. Seuss&rsquo;s book, &ldquo;Oh, Baby! Go, Baby!&rdquo;</p> The UC Davis Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department are rolling out a new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) graduation process for all babies when they are discharged from the NICU. Babies will receive a grad cap, a grad certificate and a new copy of Dr. Seuss’s book, “Oh, Baby! Go, Baby!”

"We thought it would be a nice way to mark this milestone for families and help instill an early love for reading," said Katherine Macdonald, programming coordinator with the UC Davis Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department. 

More than 700 books a year are needed to provide a new book for each NICU family. UC Davis faculty, staff, students and the public can help fund this project by purchasing a copy of "Oh, Baby! Go, Baby!" for $10 through their Amazon wish list: https://ucdavis.health/wednesdaywish.  

202003_uc-davis-childrens-hospital-receives-community-impact-grant-from-new-york-life- Tue, 10 Mar 2020 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Children’s Hospital receives Community Impact Grant from New York Life <p>Young Adult Bereavement Art Group at UC Davis Children's Hospital gets boost from New York Life.</p> UC Davis Children’s Hospital has been awarded a $24,000 Community Impact Grant from New York Life. The grant will support the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department’s Children’s Support Project.

The Children’s Support Project will provide services for children experiencing a serious illness of a parent, and children and siblings experiencing the death of a parent, brother or sister. Funding will offer children the opportunity to connect and build community with others who share similar thoughts, worries and concerns due to their common experiences.

“We are grateful for New York Life’s investment in the Young Adult Bereavement Art Group, which will change many lives for the better,” said Diana Sundberg, Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Manager. “Without the support from New York Life, we could not provide children the chance to enhance their coping skills and process their grief in relation to the illness and/or death of a loved one.”

Developing resiliency skills can help minimize the effects of the stress, anxiety and the unknown that accompanies a family member with a serious illness. The Children’s Support Project will provide a peer support program, bereavement art groups and bereavement educational material.

“I’m proud to work for a company that encourages its agents and employees to devote their time, energy and talents to support the needs and priorities of their local community,” said Bill Hagerty, agent for the company’s Northern California General Office. “We are pleased that our partnership will have a long-lasting impact on UC Davis Children’s Hospital and the children they serve."

The Community Impact Grant program awards grants of up to $25,000 to local nonprofit organizations, which are championed by New York Life agents and employees. Since the program’s inception in 2008, more than 600 grants totaling nearly $8 million have been awarded to nonprofits across the country. 

202003_uc-davis-caare-center-awarded-grant-to-provide-services-for-juvenile-trauma-response-court Thu, 05 Mar 2020 08:00:00 GMT UC Davis CAARE Center awarded grant to provide services for Juvenile Trauma Response Court <p>The UC Davis CAARE Center has been awarded a three-year grant for $112,478 by Sacramento County Public Defender&rsquo;s Office to provide services for a Juvenile Trauma Response Court in Sacramento County.&nbsp;</p> The UC Davis CAARE Center has been awarded a three-year grant for $112,478 by Sacramento County Public Defender’s Office to provide services for a Juvenile Trauma Response Court in Sacramento County. 

The services provided will include clinical assessments, case management, psychological testing, consultation and trauma treatment.

UC Davis CAARE Center’s Trauma Training Academy trainers Dawn Blacker, Brandi Liles and Jenny Landini were instrumental in applying for the grant. 

“Dr. Blacker, Dr. Liles and Jenny Landini have all been leaders in ensuring the recognition of traumatized youth at the Youth Detention Facility and promoting a trauma-informed model of treatment at the Youth Detention Facility, in probation, in the courts and with Child Protection Services,” said Satyan Lakshminrusimha, physician-in-chief of UC Davis Children’s Hospital. “It shows the impact of UC Davis Health on our community.”

202003_uc-davis-comprehensive-cancer-center-launches-new-adolescent-and-young-adult-oncology-program Thu, 05 Mar 2020 08:00:00 GMT UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center launches new Adolescent and Young Adult oncology program <p>UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center this week launched a new Adolescent and Young Adult oncology program. Patients will receive access to counseling and care that helps them manage the milestones and challenges that come with being a cancer patient at such a pivotal time of life.</p> UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center this week launched a new Adolescent and Young Adult oncology program. The program will provide coordinated services to advance the care of adolescents and young adults with cancer.

Adolescent and young adult cancer patients face unique challenges. They may be working toward completing high school, applying to college or pursing job training. They’re often beginning their careers, and may be starting a family or planning for one. Cancer makes all of these more difficult and more complicated.

The Adolescent and Young Adult oncology program (AYA) serves patients age 15-39, whether in active treatment or post-therapy survivorship. Through the AYA oncology program at UC Davis, patients also get access to counseling and care that helps them manage the milestones and challenges that come with being a cancer patient at such a pivotal time of life. The program will include psychosocial and supportive care, fertility preservation, genetic testing and survivorship support.

“Only 6 to 7% of all newly diagnosed cancer patients in the U.S. are adolescents and young adults so they often fall through the cracks. This program will create a supportive oncology program for these patients, providing not only the highest level of care as they are battling cancer, but addressing their social, spiritual and emotional needs. It’s a whole-patient care model,” said Marcio Malogolowkin, chief of pediatric hematology-oncology. “I hope our program will work as a model of care for all patients, training for future generations of care givers and for the development of novel research.”

Teen Cancer America, a nonprofit organization that develops specialized facilities and services for teens and young adults with cancer, will help fund the new program.

"It is a privilege to be partnering with such a prestigious health system as UC Davis in this vitally important initiative. Professor Malogolowkin and his team are world class. Adolescents and young adults with cancer will benefit from improved outcomes as a result of this essential program that is at the forefront of an emerging specialty,” said Simon Davies, executive director of Teen Cancer America. “We are grateful to the UC Davis leadership for having the foresight to join Teen Cancer America's pioneering movement to transform the treatment landscape for every young person with cancer in the U.S."

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated center serving the Central Valley and inland Northern California, a region of more than 6 million people. Its specialists provide compassionate, comprehensive care for more than 10,000 adults and children every year, and access to more than 150 clinical trials at any given time. Its innovative research program engages more than 280 scientists at UC Davis who work collaboratively to advance discovery of new tools to diagnose and treat cancer. Patients have access to leading-edge care, including immunotherapy and other targeted treatments. Its Community Outreach and Education program addresses disparities in cancer outcomes across diverse populations, and the center provides comprehensive education and workforce development programs for the next generation of clinicians and scientists. Through the Cancer Care Network, UC Davis partners with hospitals and clinical centers throughout the Central Valley and Northern California communities to offer patients expert care close to home. For more information, visit cancer.ucdavis.edu.

202002_uc-davis-health-adds-two-new-prenatal-diagnostic-center-clinics Wed, 26 Feb 2020 08:00:00 GMT UC Davis Health adds two new prenatal diagnostic center clinics <p>The two new prenatal diagnosis center clinics in Sacramento and Stockton are UC Davis Health&rsquo;s first satellite clinics to expand UC Davis Health&rsquo;s services for pregnant women.</p> As part of a continuing focus to help reduce the risk of high-risk pregnancies in inland Northern California, UC Davis Health has added two new Prenatal Diagnostic Center (PDC) clinics in Sacramento and Stockton, providing expecting mothers with comprehensive counseling, genetic screening and diagnostic testing for fetal anomalies such as chorionic villus sampling (CVS) and amniocentesis.

These two clinics, located at 1111 Exposition Blvd in Sacramento and at 1801 E. March Lane in Stockton, are UC Davis Health’s first satellite PDC clinics, expanding UC Davis Health’s services for pregnant women. Its main PDC is located in the Lawrence J. Ellison Ambulatory Care Center in Sacramento.

“These clinic locations provide more convenient access for patients with a high-risk pregnancy to receive maternal-fetal medicine services with UC Davis Health’s board-certified perinatologists,” said Shinjiro Hirose, director of the UC Davis Fetal Care and Treatment Center. “The PDC clinics partner with the UC Davis Fetal Care and Treatment Center, allowing for seamless access to our innovative fetal surgery center, if needed.”  

Those who are normally seen in the PDC:

  • Pregnant women who will be 35 or older on their due date.
  • Couples who already have a child with a birth defect or have a family history of birth defects.
  • Pregnant women with abnormal results from the California Prenatal Screening Test, a blood test that is usually combined with a special ultrasound in the first trimester to estimate the risk of specific birth defects.

“Pregnant women who have concerns about the health of their fetus now have more access to our world-class specialists in these community clinics,” said Herman Hedriana, chief of maternal fetal medicine at UC Davis Health.

UC Davis Health specializes in high-risk pregnancies, with inland Northern California’s most-advanced Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and nationally ranked obstetrics-gynecology (OB/GYN) care, rated among the Top 20 best in the nation.


202002_uc-davis-health-expands-neonatology-services-at-adventist-health-and-rideouts-nicu- Wed, 19 Feb 2020 08:00:00 GMT UC Davis Health expands neonatology services at Adventist Health and Rideout’s NICU <p>UC Davis Health is pleased to announce a new partnership with Adventist Health and Rideout (AHRO) that expands neonatology services at AHRO&rsquo;s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), effective Feb. 3, 2020.&nbsp;</p> UC Davis Health is pleased to announce a new partnership with Adventist Health and Rideout (AHRO) that expands neonatology services at AHRO’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), effective Feb. 3, 2020. 

The new neonatology partnership brings the world-class care of UC Davis Health to the Marysville area, offering UC Davis neonatologists on site for critically ill and premature babies and establishing a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week instant connection to UC Davis pediatric specialists. UC Davis Children’s Hospital was ranked 30th in neonatology nationally by U.S. News & World Report’s 2019-2020 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings.

“This partnership with UC Davis is yet one more step Adventist Health is taking to bring high-quality care to Marysville,” said Rick Rawson, president of Adventist Health and Rideout Medical Center. “Leveraging the expertise of UC Davis neonatologists so families can access the care they need without having to leave the area is an exciting step in our journey to transform the health of our community.”

The team uses leading-edge technology to help families stay in their communities through tele-neonatology consults. The UC Davis Pediatric Telemedicine program was the first of its kind in the United States, providing physicians and patients with real-time remote consultation and evaluation through interactive, high-definition video and audio communication.

“When a baby needs care in the NICU, I see how difficult it is for a mother to be separated from her new baby. I feel privileged to better support these babies and their families in Marysville with a high level of care, close to home,” said UC Davis neonatologist Deepika Sankaran who is on staff at AHRO. “We are collaborating with local providers and helping to lower the number of patient transports to Sacramento.”  

“We had our first telemedicine consult with AHRO and it went very well. We were able to successfully provide the care the baby needed and keep the patient in Marysville,” said UC Davis neonatologist Payam Vali. “We are committed to utilizing the technology of telemedicine to provide specialty care to the patients and families we serve in this region.”  

AHRO delivers about 2,000 babies per year and currently has a six-bed NICU.  With the new partnership, offering UC Davis Health’s multi-disciplinary resources and expertise, AHRO is in the process of applying for California Children’s Services (CCS) designation as a level II (Intermediate Care) NICU.

UC Davis Health is a nationally-ranked leader in teaching, research and health care delivery, and the UC Davis Medical Center is one of the top five hospitals in California, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. UC Davis Children’s Hospital offers the broadest range of pediatric specialty care in the region, and in 2019, it was re-verified as a Level I Children's Surgery Center by the American College of Surgeons. As an academic medical system, UC Davis Health has an important social responsibility to both discover and share knowledge that advances health and health care delivery.

Adventist Health and Rideout is part of Adventist Health, a faith-based, nonprofit integrated health system serving more than 80 communities on the West Coast. The hospital in Marysville provides acute care services, emergency care, heart, vascular and stroke care, women’s health services, senior care, skilled nursing care, Alzheimer’s, dementia care, assisted living and cancer care affiliated with UC Davis Medical Center. Adventist Health and Rideout employs more than 2,100 employees and has approximately 349 physicians on the medical staff.

202002_ihop-pancake-drive-through-raises-funds-for-uc-davis-childrens-hospital Tue, 18 Feb 2020 08:00:00 GMT IHOP pancake drive-through raises funds for UC Davis Children's Hospital on Feb. 24 <p>On Monday, Feb. 24, UC Davis employees, students and the public can drive through, eat their fill of short-stack pancakes and make a donation to support sick and injured children at UC Davis Children's Hospital, as a lead-up to IHOP&rsquo;s National Pancake Day.</p> On Monday, Feb. 24, UC Davis employees, students and the public can drive through, eat their fill of short-stack pancakes and make a donation to support sick and injured children at UC Davis Children's Hospital as a lead-up to IHOP’s National Pancake Day.

The pancake drive-through event will be held in Lot 12, adjacent to the UC Davis Education Building, 4610 X Street in Sacramento from 6 to 10 a.m. Pancakes will be served for a suggested cash donation of $5. Children's Hospital patients will be invited to visit the event and receive a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes.

The event is being held to promote IHOP National Pancake Day on Tuesday, Feb. 25, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at participating IHOP restaurants nationwide. Now in its 13th year, Pancake Day encourages IHOP patrons to donate what they would have paid for a short stack of buttermilk pancakes to support Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. 

Proceeds from National Pancake Day are anticipated to raise $5 million nationwide for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. All proceeds from the Sacramento drive-through event will benefit UC Davis Children's Hospital, Sacramento's Children's Miracle Network Hospital. Last year, Sacramento Pancake Day sales raised a total $87,485 for UC Davis Children's Hospital. 

202002_care-close-to-home Wed, 12 Feb 2020 08:00:00 GMT Care close to home <p>When Tyana Raya-Paderes&rsquo;s twins arrived early at 36 weeks, NICU care was available close to home in Lodi and they did not need to be transferred to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. Instead, UC Davis Health physicians work with Adventist Health Lodi Memorial nurses and staff to provide world-class care at Adventist Health Lodi Memorial. &nbsp;</p> When Stockton resident Tyana Raya-Paderes’s twins arrived early at 36 weeks, they both needed immediate care in the Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of Adventist Health Lodi Memorial Hospital.

Baby Finnly experienced some belabored breathing and required the help of a CPAP machine after birth, but was discharged after one day.

Baby Ruby was only 3 pounds 10 ounces at birth and had more growing to do in the NICU.

Thankfully for Raya-Paderes, NICU care was available close to home in Lodi and they did not need to be transferred to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. Instead, UC Davis Health physicians work with Adventist Health Lodi Memorial nurses and staff to provide world-class care at Adventist Health Lodi Memorial.  

It has been a formula for success since the partnership between Adventist Health Lodi Memorial and UC Davis Health started in July of 2018. Since then, Adventist Health Lodi Memorial has seen a measurable reduction in length of hospital stay and decreased percentage of patients needing transport to Sacramento, about 37 miles away.

Adventist Health Lodi Memorial was licensed as a level II NICU by the California Department of Health in December of 2018, a designation which demonstrates the level of advanced specialty care available in the NICU which was previously not available in the Lodi area.

“When I think of what it would be like if we had to go to Sacramento for my daughter’s care, I think of traffic, the additional cost of gas, time spent driving. We have a 3-year-old at home as well, and we would have to find someone who could take care of him while we were there,” said Raya-Paderes, who is grateful that she didn’t have to face these additional challenges.

But beyond the geographical convenience, Raya-Paderes has been grateful for the compassionate care she received from her daughter’s NICU physician, Moina Snyder, a UC Davis hospitalist assigned to Adventist Health Lodi Memorial.   

“Dr. Snyder was just phenomenal. Literally the best. She was easy to talk to, very insistent on communicating with us and she understood how much I didn’t want to give my babies formula and made sure that they were strictly breastfed,” said Raya-Paderes. “She also put things in perspective for me so I could cope with the fact that I had to leave her in the hospital for two weeks. It eased my mind a little more because she communicated what was going on at all times.”

For Snyder, it was all in a day’s work.

“I’m glad that we can help patients like Tyana directly in their community. No one plans for their child to be in the NICU so we want to bring our expertise to help families during this difficult time – and being close to home can make a world of difference,” Snyder said.

202002_ulfat-shaikh-named-2020-paul-v-miles-fellow Fri, 07 Feb 2020 08:00:00 GMT Ulfat Shaikh named 2020 Paul V. Miles Fellow <p>The American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) has named Ulfat Shaikh, professor of pediatrics and director of health care quality at UC Davis Health, the 2020 Paul V. Miles Fellow. This award is given annually to a pediatrician dedicated to improving the quality of health care for children.</p> The American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) has named Ulfat Shaikh, professor of pediatrics and director of health care quality at UC Davis Health, the 2020 Paul V. Miles Fellow. This award is given annually to a pediatrician dedicated to improving the quality of health care for children.

Shaikh has authored more than 70 peer-reviewed and invited publications, largely focused on improving health care delivery. She is passionate about teaching quality improvement (QI) principles to medical students, residents, clinical staff, and clinical faculty, and in coaching medical professionals through QI projects. She is the co-chair of the UC Davis Health Quality Forum, which is held each spring.

“Dr. Shaikh has extensive experience in quality improvement and has been trained in both traditional health care QI and lean methodology. She has trained countless pediatricians in quality improvement methods and recognizes the importance of physician engagement in improvement efforts, something critical to the ABP as we try to help pediatricians engage meaningfully in quality improvement as a component of their Continuing Certification,” said Keith Mann, ABP vice president for Continuing Certification.

Shaikh will visit the ABP offices in Chapel Hill and give grand rounds at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at Duke University medical schools.

Related links

ABP names Dr. Ulfat Shaikh 2020 Paul V. Miles Fellow 

202002_uc-davis-caare-center-employees-honored-by-department-of-social-services Fri, 07 Feb 2020 08:00:00 GMT UC Davis CAARE Center employees honored by Department of Social Services <p>Jenny Landini, Dawn Blacker, Brandi Liles from the UC Davis CAARE Center were recognized by the California Department of Social Services in honor Human Trafficking Awareness month in January.&nbsp;They were honored by the Department of Social Services in the first Human Trafficking Awareness Month Awards Ceremony.</p> Jenny Landini, Dawn Blacker, Brandi Liles from the UC Davis CAARE Center were recognized by the California Department of Social Services in honor of Human Trafficking Awareness month in January. They were honored in the first Human Trafficking Awareness Month Awards Ceremony.

Jenny Landini, a UC Davis CAARE Center clinical social worker, was awarded an “Above and Beyond” award for her clinical work with sexually exploited youth by Michelle Callejas, director of Sacramento County’s Department of Child, Family and Adult Services.

“[Jenny Landini] is greatly respected by social workers, probation officers, judges, social providers and most importantly, the young people that she serves,” said Callejas.

Associate director and co-training director Dawn Blacker and licensed psychologist Brandi Liles were recognized for the first “Innovation for Improvement” award for their innovative approach to educating staff and community partners in Sacramento to provide care to families and youth whose lives have been affected by sexual exploitation.

“Dr. Liles and Blacker have developed leading-edge programs and trainings to Sacramento County as we continue to improve our practice. Their creativity and innovation have helped to improve the lives of youth and families in Sacramento County,” said Callejas.  

The UC Davis CAARE (Child and Adolescent Abuse Resource and Evaluation) Center is recognized nationally as a model program for the evaluation and treatment of child maltreatment as well as training of mental health providers in empirically-based treatments. The CAARE Center’s mission is to provide patient care, teaching, research and prevention initiatives on behalf of abused and neglected children and children and youth identified as high risk.

202002_the-truth-behind-7-popular-old-wives-tales-about-being-sick Thu, 06 Feb 2020 08:00:00 GMT The truth behind 7 popular old wives’ tales about being sick <p>Does chicken soup have healing properties? Is it better to starve a cold and feed a fever? UC Davis pediatricians Dean Blumberg and Daphne Darmawan debunk some popular old wives&rsquo; tales about being sick.</p> As we head deeper into cold and flu season, we asked UC Davis chief of pediatric infectious diseases Dean Blumberg and UC Davis pediatrician Daphne Darmawan to shed light on common cold and flu myths and old wives’ tales.

Q: Can cold weather make you sick?

DD: We do know there’s some seasonality with getting these respiratory illnesses, but I think it has more to do with people being indoors and crowded together in rooms when it’s cold outside. It’s not that the weather itself is actually making people sick.

DB: There is a survival advantage among many common respiratory viruses. Humidity drops when we are indoors with the heaters are on and viruses like influenza can survive a longer time in those conditions.

Q: Should we “starve a cold and feed a fever”?

DD: Eat as much as you are willing to, but it’s more important to stay hydrated.  

DB: Yes, hydration is much more important. If you are sweating with a fever, you will be losing more of your fluids.

Q: Should you avoid dairy when you’re sick?

DD: Whatever you have an appetite for, you should eat. If you can stomach cereal and milk, go ahead and have it.

DB: I’ve heard that dairy increases your secretions, but I’m not aware of any data to show that is true. If you want to have some cheese or milk, go for it.

Q: Does gargling saltwater cure a sore throat? 

DB: I’m not aware of any evidence to show that saltwater helps, but if it makes you feel better, do it. When you’re sick with a respiratory infection, you might be breathing more from your mouth. This means your throat can dry out get really sore. Gargling with saltwater or just water can help soothe the dryness of a sore throat.

Q: Do cold compresses or cold baths help with fever?

DD: A cold bath is not something that I want if I am feeling sick. It just gives me the chills. Chills are your body’s way of telling you to raise your body temperature.

DB: Fever is good to fight infection. Unless your child has a medical condition like febrile seizures, it’s okay to wait until the fever breaks to bring temperature back down. You can also use acetaminophen and ibuprofen. It’s OK to have a fever.  

Q: Does Vitamin C help with colds?

DD: We know that Vitamin C boosts immunity, but once you are already sick, it doesn’t help. As long as your child is eating a generally healthy diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, they don’t need extra vitamins. They will get their Vitamin C from fruits and vegetables in their natural packaging and get other benefits like fiber and other vitamins. It’s much better to go the natural way.

DB: Taking a megadose of Vitamin C doesn’t help because you don’t retain it. But taking Vitamin C regularly might help prevent colds. Once you have a cold, there is no data to show that you get better faster by taking vitamin C.

Q: Does chicken soup have healing properties?

DD: Well, there are a lot of nutrients in chicken soup. There’s protein in the chicken and vitamins in the vegetables. And it makes you feel good.

DB: Most people make chicken soup with onions, celery and carrots and these have vitamin C and Vitamin K. It doesn’t hurt. If you are huddled over a hot bowl of soup, it probably helps break up secretions and also the broth helps keep you hydrated. If you are vegetarian like me, you can try vegetable soup.

202001_uc-davis-childrens-hospital-approved-for-41-million-in-research-funding-for-study-comparing-standard-and-virtual-pediatric-trauma-care- Fri, 31 Jan 2020 08:00:00 GMT UC Davis Children's Hospital approved for $4.1 million in research funding for study comparing standard and virtual pediatric trauma care <p>A research team at <a href="https://health.ucdavis.edu">UC Davis Health</a> has been approved for a $4,199,464 funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).</p> A research team at UC Davis Health has been approved for a $4,199,464 funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). The team is led by UC Davis Center for Health and Technology director and Pediatric Clinical Research vice chair James Marcin, professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics Nathan Kuppermann and associate professor of surgery and trauma medical director Joseph Galante.

The study will compare the current standard of pediatric trauma care with the virtual pediatric trauma center model. The current standard calls for patients to be transferred to a level I pediatric trauma center. In the virtual pediatric trauma center model, telemedicine such as videoconferencing brings the expertise of a level I pediatric trauma center to any hospital emergency department.

The project will evaluate the patient and family experience of both models, as well as measure stress, examine access to health care services needed and weigh out-of-pocket costs following the injury of a child.

“The current approach is to send all children with all types of injuries to a level I pediatric trauma center, but nearly 20 percent of the time, children can be managed with expert support through telemedicine. This study will focus on which model the families of these children prefer,” Marcin said.

The study was selected for PCORI funding through a highly competitive review process in which patients, clinicians and other stakeholders joined clinical scientists to evaluate the proposals. Applications were assessed for scientific merit, how well they will engage patients and other stakeholders and their methodological rigor among other criteria.

“This project was selected for PCORI funding not only for its scientific merit and commitment to engaging patients and other stakeholders, but also for its potential to fill an important gap in our health knowledge and give people information to help them weigh the effectiveness of their care options,” said PCORI interim executive director Josephine P. Briggs. “We look forward to following the study’s progress and working with UC Davis Health to share the results.”

The award has been approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract.

PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions. For more information about PCORI’s funding, visit www.pcori.org.

202001_wild-bills-tattoo-a-thon-set-for-feb-29 Fri, 31 Jan 2020 08:00:00 GMT Wild Bill's Tattoo-a-thon set for Feb. 29 <p><a href="http://wild-bills.com/tattooathon/tattooathonindex.htm">Wild Bill&rsquo;s 19th annual Tattoo-a-thon</a> will take place on Saturday, Feb. 29, from 8 a.m. to midnight at Wild Bill's. All proceeds - including tips - will be donated to support the UC Davis Pediatric and Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.&nbsp;</p> Wild Bill’s 19th annual Tattoo-a-thon will take place on Saturday, Feb. 29, from 8 a.m. to midnight at Wild Bill's. More than thirty tattoo artists have volunteered to work 16 hours during this year’s event and all proceeds – including tips – will be donated to UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

"Wild Bill and his talented group of artists have given so much over the years to the kids at UC Davis Children's Hospital," said Jacquelyn Mills, senior director of development at UC Davis Children's Hospital. "Their donations make a real impact in helping families in our region and beyond. We are so grateful for their continued partnership."

The 2019 event raised $15,000 for UC Davis Children's Hospital, bringing the total amount raised over the past 18 years to more than $248,000. Wild Bill and his artists are recognized for their contributions on the donor wall at the entrance of the UC Davis Pediatric and Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. A room in the Pediatric and Cardiac Intensive Care Unit was also named after Wild Bill for his contributions.

Wild Bill’s is located at 115 Lincoln Street in Roseville. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 916-783-9090 or visit their website.

202001_art-therapy-provides-kids-in-the-hospital-with-familiar-surroundings-away-from-home Thu, 30 Jan 2020 08:00:00 GMT Art therapy provides kids in the hospital with familiar surroundings away from home <p>Thanks to a collaboration with wall art app, <a href="http://icm-tracking.meltwater.com/link.php?DynEngagement=true&amp;H=3ZUQjNycMu7D%2Fe%2Bm%2FOmi3Qi1eTNrfRb0HcFplK3KYerw%2B6SfjwwI9nS2L3nPY0jYVWCYaUR3FVhcLmAltBYFuMrdDvBhW4DhPjnAPnobF621iG3rGmTqhK426azcdBu%2F&amp;G=0&amp;R=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mixtiles.com%2F&amp;I=20200129191038.00000cb715f9%40mail6-53-ussnn1&amp;X=MHwxMDQ2NzU4OjVlMzFkOGFhMTIwNGM1OWE1OWU3OTlmZDsxfDEwNDY3NTk6dHJ1ZTs%3D&amp;S=1aXFz2uE8IgivQu9kem_F9waU5FLYL3hTz1_E9ym0kE">Mixtiles</a> &mdash; which turn phone pics into 8"x8" photo tiles that stick and re-stick to walls &mdash; children at UC Davis Children&rsquo;s Hospital can have photo frames surrounding their walls with images of family members, friends and even pets.</p> Being hospitalized often means being away from family and friends. But children at UC Davis Children’s Hospital can now have their loved ones around them at all times, even if they aren't able to be there in person.

Thanks to a collaboration with wall art app, Mixtiles — which turn phone pics into 8"x8" photo tiles that stick and re-stick to walls — children at UC Davis Children’s Hospital can have photo frames surrounding their walls with images of family members, friends and even pets.

Children naturally communicate through art and play, but it can be difficult to talk about one’s feelings surrounding a diagnosis, treatment, and hospital stay. At UC Davis Children’s Hospital, art is used to help children express themselves, relate to others, and share their experiences. During art therapy sessions, patients created digital artwork, which was printed on Mixtiles and shown in an art gallery located on the pediatric unit.

“With the help of Mixtiles, they are able to display their artwork and personal photos of family and friends, which helps them relate to their peers in the hospital and members of their community at home,” said Katie Lorain, MPS, ATR-BC, an art therapist at UC Davis Children's Hospital. “When a child is hospitalized, reinforcing connections to family and friends can help children cope with their hospitalization and concentrate on healing.”

UC Davis Children's Hospital is the Sacramento region's only nationally ranked, comprehensive hospital providing care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults with primary, subspecialty and critical care. It includes the Central Valley's only pediatric emergency department and level I pediatric trauma center, which offers the highest level of care for its critically ill patients, as well as a level I children’s surgery center.

“We are delighted to be able to work with an institution as distinguished as UC Davis Children’s Hospital,” said David Katz, CEO of Mixtiles. “The great thing about Mixtiles is that our wall art can stick and re-stick to walls, allowing the children to move their artwork around the hospital, take it home with them and even bring it back with them, should they need to return. The work being done by the hospital staff on a daily basis is truly inspiring and we’re gratified to have the opportunity to bring some joy to the children through this collaboration.”

Related links

Katie Lorain, art therapist at UC Davis Children's Hospital - KFBK

202001_shriners-hospitals-for-children-and-uc-davis-health-consider-a-closer-alliance Tue, 28 Jan 2020 08:00:00 GMT Shriners Hospitals for Children and UC Davis Health consider a closer alliance <p>Leaders from <a href="https://www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/sacramento">Shriners Hospitals for Children</a> and <a href="https://health.ucdavis.edu">UC Davis Health</a> have entered into talks to consider ways that their partnership can positively impact the care of children in the region. The goal of the talks is to build on the success of the partnership between these two organizations that dates back to the early 1990s, when the Shriners made the decision to build a new, multi-disciplinary hospital in Sacramento.</p> Leaders from Shriners Hospitals for Children and UC Davis Health have entered into talks to consider ways that their partnership can positively impact the care of children in the region. The goal of the talks is to build on the success of the partnership between these two organizations that dates back to the early 1990s, when the Shriners made the decision to build a new, multi-disciplinary hospital in Sacramento.

The current Affiliation Agreement between Shriners Hospitals and UC Davis, in place since 1997, made it possible to jointly achieve nationally recognized programs and treatment specialties as well as attract and retain internationally recognized doctors and scientists. Together, the Northern California Shriners Hospital and the UC Davis Children’s Hospital rank as one of the nation’s top 10 providers of pediatric orthopedic care by U.S. News and World Report.

The recent decision by the Shriners Hospitals for Children Board of Trustees to significantly expand programs in Sacramento paves the way for the development of a pediatric powerhouse. “I know people often say it, but at Shriners we mean it - our mission reflects a commitment to improving the lives of children. The decision to establish a national pediatric center of excellence in the heart of Northern California is an investment in the lives of kids today and for generations to come.” said Jerry G. Gantt, Chairman of the SHC Board of Trustees. Both organizations share the commitment to providing the highest quality of patient care, to teaching the next generation of health care providers and to scientific research focused on improving clinical outcomes. 

“We now have the opportunity to explore a range of programmatic and organizational options that will build upon our tremendous success so far,” said Brad Simmons, Interim CEO of UC Davis Health. “The working collaboration between UC Davis Children’s Hospital and Shriners Hospital, across the street, has already resulted in the development of nation-leading pediatric care and brought new research to families in our region. We are excited to explore more ways we can provide more care to more children in the community.”

Representatives of Shriners Hospitals for Children and UC Davis Health have initiated robust exploratory discussions.  

“Our discussions are focused on how we can better serve the next generation of children. Our goal is to build on the accomplishments the existing partnership has made possible and to identify new and innovative ways to ensure that children with complex needs have access to exceptional medical care,” said Margaret Bryan, administrator and CEO of the Northern California Shriners Hospital.

It is expected that a future course for the partnership will be identified in the next six to nine months.

About Shriners Hospitals for Children

Shriners Hospitals for Children is changing lives every day through innovative pediatric specialty care, world-class research and outstanding medical education. Located at 2425 Stockton Boulevard in Sacramento, Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California is a regional pediatric medical center providing care to children with orthopaedic conditions, spinal cord injuries, burns, cleft lip, scars from any cause, gastro-intestinal diseases, ano-rectal disorders, chest wall malformations and other complex surgical needs. Admission is based on age and diagnosis. Care is provided regardless of the families’ ability to pay. Shriners Hospitals for Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and relies on the generosity of donors. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law. For further information call (916) 453-2000 or go online to www.shrinerschildrens.org

202001_spirit-halloween-donates-71943-to-uc-davis-childrens-hospitals-child-life-fellowship-program Mon, 27 Jan 2020 08:00:00 GMT Spirit Halloween donates $71,943 to UC Davis Children’s Hospital’s Child Life Fellowship Program <p>Spirit Halloween continues support of UC Davis Children's Hospital through Spirit of Children Program</p> For sick and injured children, being hospitalized is likely one of the scariest times in their lives. But thanks to ongoing support from Spirit HalloweenUC Davis Children’s Hospital Child Life Fellowship Program was developed, allowing the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy department to expand services to more patients and families.

Over the last 10 years, this program has provided 17 six-month child life fellowships. Annual donations from Spirit Halloween’s Spirit of Children program, including a check for $71,943 for 2019, fund this program which provides additional training and supervision for individuals aspiring to be certified child life specialists. Many of these fellows have been hired into career positions within the department, enabling more children, siblings and caretakers access to tools and programs that help minimize anxiety, strengthen understanding and bolster coping skills.

Donations from Spirit Halloween have allowed the department to expand career staffing to the children’s surgery centerpediatric infusion center and pediatric radiology, sharing the benefit of these services across the children’s hospital. Over the last two years, Spirit Halloween funding has also provided a child life student education coordinator position. The addition of this staff member has allowed the department to make improvements to the child life student education program which positioned the department to apply and receive an Association for Child Life Professional Internship Accreditation. UC Davis Children’s Hospital was the first hospital in Northern California to receive this accreditation and the third in the state. Spirit Halloween’s Spirit of Children program still funds this position for 24 hours per week so we can continue to provide a rigorous and highly regarded training program.

“When Kirk and Shanda Pierce and Spirit Halloween first called me and wanted to partner, I could have never imagined what an impact this campaign would have,” said Diana Sundberg, UC Davis Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy manager. “Spirit Halloween was the catalyst for our Fellowship Program and has given us the means to provide services to children we would have never been able to reach before. We are so grateful for this relationship for more than 10 years.”

The specialty retail store has donated more than $500,000 to UC Davis Children’s Hospital during that time, with every cent going toward the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy department.

“It has been amazing to see the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy department grow and have so much depth,” said Spirit Halloween operator, Shanda Pierce. “The success of this fellowship program makes it a model for other children’s hospitals. Our Spirit Halloween employees take great pride in being a part of helping local kids have a hospital experience that is a little less scary.”

About Spirit Halloween

Spirit Halloween is the largest Halloween specialty retailer in the country with over 1,300 locations in strip centers and malls across North America. Celebrating more than 30 years in business, Spirit is the premier destination for all things Halloween, offering one-stop shopping for everything from costumes and décor, party goods to accessories. In addition to being a fun and interactive event for shoppers, Spirit stores offer complete selections of costumes and accessories for infants/toddlers, children, ‘tweens, teens and adults, along with exclusive décor you won’t find anywhere else.

About Spirit of Children

At the heart of Spirit Halloween is Spirit of Children, a program which focuses on making hospitals less scary for kids and their families. Since its inception in 2007, Spirit of Children has raised more than $55 million for the Child Life department at hospitals across the country. Donations to Spirit of Children stay within local communities, with 100 percent of funds going toward a child’s life. For the 2019 Halloween season, Spirit of Children supported more than 140 hospitals across the country, with a goal to raise a record $10 million. Spirit encourages customers to help make a difference in a child’s life this Halloween season by donating at their local Spirit Halloween or spreading awareness via Facebook and Instagram using #SpiritofChildren and #MoreCowbell in their photos.

202001_healthy-and-low-cost Mon, 27 Jan 2020 08:00:00 GMT Researchers test whether SNAP benefits are enough to afford a healthy diet <p>Can people in low-income households afford to eat a diet that meets current U.S. healthy dietary guidelines?</p> Can people in low-income households afford to eat a diet that meets current U.S. healthy dietary guidelines?

Researchers from UC Davis, the Mechoopda Indian Tribe (MIT) of Chico Rancheria and the Northern Valley Indian Health, Inc. investigated this question. They had the participation of families in the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria, where 88% of the population surveyed lived in households with an income of less than $35,000 a year. The study was published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

“While good nutrition is associated with a reduction in chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease and cancer, the cost of healthy eating has been a barrier for people in low-income households, especially if they are on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) government subsidies,” said Dennis Styne, one of the researchers and chief of pediatric endocrinology at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. “We wanted to research this in the real world with members of the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria to see if SNAP enables low-income households to afford healthy foods.”

This study was part of a longer-term, community-based participatory research project with the tribe, with a goal to improve the health of this Native American community and their understanding of the benefits of clinical research. Community members decided on a preliminary menu with healthy foods that they enjoyed. From there, they investigated and determined the cost of the ingredients at 13 local grocery stores in Chico.

In developing a two-week meal plan for a family of four (father, mother and children ages 7 and 10), their criteria for food and ingredients included the following:

  • Menus needed to meet USDA guidelines for healthy eating
  • Portions needed to be realistic
  • Processed food was reduced to lessen the amount of fat and salt in diets
  • Menus were time-friendly because most people do not have time to cook multiple hot meals every day
  • Varied meal options were provided so people would not become bored from eating the same healthy foods
  • Menus should be affordable.

"In addition to food cost, the other factors considered were access to stores, time for meal preparation, and whether the menus included culturally appropriate foods," said lead author Karen M. Jetter, from the Agricultural Issues Center at the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Davis. 

The research team developed a two-week menu comprised of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Fresh vegetables were incorporated in every meal. When food was purchased from a supermarket offering bulk items, the daily cost ranged from $19 to $31 for four people, with an average daily cost of $25.

Some of the study’s key findings:

  • Access to stores that sell low-price bulk items is important to being able to afford a healthy diet
  • Affordable healthy menus can be achieved using a different mix of proteins and whole-grain products (for example, beans instead of higher-fat proteins, or oatmeal and corn products such as tortillas instead of whole-wheat breads)
  • Tortillas and oatmeal were increased to achieve whole-grain and fiber recommendations
  • The menus balanced daily targets over two weeks, not every day, making it possible to add occasional treats into the menu
  • Menus meeting USDA dietary guidelines can stay within the low-cost range, but only if people shop entirely at a bulk supermarket, where bulk foods such as grains and dried beans can be purchased by weight.

“The food choices that people make help reduce incidences of chronic disease and impact our ability to live a healthy life. This study is important because it demonstrates the real impact of government policies and subsidies on day-to-day life. Policy makers can view this study to determine if any changes in government subsidies are needed,” Styne said.

This project was part of a larger project funded by the National Institutes of Health Grant No. 1RC4DK89859-01.

202001_donut-dash-raises-funds-for-uc-davis-child-life-on-march-7 Thu, 02 Jan 2020 08:00:00 GMT Donut Dash raises funds for UC Davis Child Life on March 7 <p>The 12th annual Donut Dash will take place Saturday, March 7, at 8:30 a.m. at William Land Park in Sacramento. Proceeds will benefit the UC Davis Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department.</p> The 12th annual Donut Dash will take place Saturday, March 7, at 8:30 a.m. at William Land Park in Sacramento. Proceeds will benefit the UC Davis Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department.

Donut Dash participants will run four miles, stopping at the two-mile mark to eat four doughnuts (or six doughnut holes) at Marie's Donuts, before racing to the finish line. The Donut Dash is open to competitive runners, casual joggers and families.

Last year's Donut Dash (as well as its companion races, the Duck Dash and the Scoop Scoot) raised $66,713 for the department. Funds raised were used to purchase items for pediatric patients including a gaming table, art supplies, books and music and support programs including Beads of Courage for hospitalized children at UC Davis Children's Hospital.  

The Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department at UC Davis Children’s Hospital helps to minimize the anxiety of hospitalization, increase understanding and strengthen coping skills while helping children to continue their typical growth and development.

To register, visit http://donutdash.org/ and choose to support the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. 

Download the flyer. 

201912_tips-for-flu-prevention Fri, 27 Dec 2019 08:00:00 GMT Tips for flu prevention <p>Depending on your age and health, the flu can be a minor nuisance or a threat to your life. With cases currently on the rise, it is a good time to take steps to protect yourself.</p> Depending on your age and health, seasonal influenza — or "the flu" — can be a minor nuisance or a threat to your life. It is a viral illness that causes fevers, chills, sweats, headache and muscle aches. It can also lead to fatigue, a painful cough, sore throat, and sinus and chest congestion. With flu currently on the rise throughout the U.S., it's a good time to take steps to prevent it. 

Cold vs. flu

Flu is different from mild viral infections such as colds that typically cause sore throats and runny noses. Flu symptoms tend to be worse, strike suddenly and last longer.  

While flu symptoms can last from several days to a couple of weeks, most people start to get better after two or three days. In some high-risk groups of people, however, severe symptoms can develop.

Serious complications can include pneumonia, bronchitis, or a worsening of existing heart conditions or diabetes. In fact, more than 60,000 Americans died of flu and its complications during the 2018-2019 season, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Getting a flu shot, hand washing and other preventions can ward off the flu and avoid putting loved ones at risk.

Six tips for preventing flu

Recommendations for preventing the flu are easy to follow — and can make all the difference in staying healthy now and throughout the year:

Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases, shares information about the flu.
  1. Get a flu vaccination. According to the CDC, the vaccine is the single best way to prevent the flu. The agency recommends the vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older. Flu vaccines are designed to protect against the three or four viruses predicted to be common during the upcoming season. It’s best to get a vaccine as soon as it becomes available at the start of fall, however getting vaccinated in December or January is still beneficial. Annual vaccination is especially important for people at high risk of flu-related complications: the young, the elderly, people with chronic diseases, and those who live with or care for high-risk individuals.
  2. Wash your hands. Use soap and water often, especially after coughing or sneezing. Carry alcohol-based hand cleaners in your car, backpack or purse when soap and water are not available.
  3. Keep your distance. Avoid contact with people who are sick. People with the flu can spread it to others up to about six feet away. If you're ill, stay home. This will help prevent others from getting sick.
  4. Cover your cough. Use a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It can prevent the spread of germs. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper arm or elbow. Sneezing and coughing into your hand puts the virus in an excellent spot for spreading the disease.
  5. Don't contaminate. Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread this way, which is why hand washing is so important.
  6. Maintain good health. Get plenty of sleep. Drink lots of water and eat nutritious foods. Get regular exercise. Manage stress. Being healthy improves your immunity and helps fight the flu.

The vaccine

The flu vaccine comes in two forms:

  • The shot. This is an inactivated vaccine, which is safe for people over 6 months of age. Side effects can include soreness, redness and swelling of the injection site, low-grade fever and muscle aches.
  • The nasal spray. This is for some healthy people who are between 2 and 49 years of age. Side effects can include runny nose, headache, sore throat and cough.

Ask a doctor

There are some people who should not get a flu vaccine without first consulting a physician, according to the CDC. Talk to your doctor:
  • If you had severe reaction to flu vaccination in the past
  • If you developed Guillian-Barré syndrome after receiving flu vaccine previously
  • If you currently have a moderate or severe illness with a fever
  • About your children who are younger than 6 months of age
For more information about flu vaccine safety, visit the CDC website.


Treatment of the flu is mainly directed at alleviating symptoms.

  • Fever, aches and pains can largely be treated by over-the-counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Coughs can be alleviated with cough medication and sometimes even a teaspoon of honey (but only for those over 1 year old).
  • Antiviral therapy may shorten illness by a day or more, but it needs to be started within the first 48 hours of the illness. Patients who would like antiviral treatment should contact their health care providers early in the illness.
  • Fatigue can be relieved with rest and fluids.
  • Sinus and nasal congestion can be reduced with a humidifier or vaporizer.
  • And remember — the flu is a viral infection, not a bacterial one. Antibiotics will not help this go away any faster than your own immune system! 

More resources

Flu information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

UC Davis Health flu page

Preventing flu discussion with Dean Blumberg on Capital Public Radio (2018 interview)

Dean Blumberg talks about the flu vaccine on Capital Public Radio (2019 interview)

UC Davis Health Facebook Live about the flu with Dean Blumberg and Monica Mattes

201912_erik-fernandez-y-garcia-appointed-to-first-5-sacramento-commission Fri, 20 Dec 2019 08:00:00 GMT Erik Fernandez y Garcia appointed to First 5 Sacramento Commission <p>Erik Fernandez y Garcia, associate professor of clinical pediatrics, was appointed this week to the First 5 Sacramento Commission by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors.</p> Erik Fernandez y Garcia, associate professor of clinical pediatrics, was appointed this week to the First 5 Sacramento Commission by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors. His appointment is now effective and runs through July 30, 2023.

The First 5 Sacramento Commission consists of 14 members with experience in early childhood health and development. As a funding agency, the Commission invests in programs that serve the needs of children and families in Sacramento County.

“I am a native of the Meadowview neighborhood of Sacramento and have always looked for every opportunity to improve the health and well-being of the children in Sacramento County. I am honored and humbled to be selected as a member of the Sacramento County First 5 Commission,” Fernandez y Garcia said. “It will allow me to use my expertise in intergenerational mental health services research and family-centered, culturally-humble pediatric care, as well as a lifetime of knowledge of and love for the Sacramento area, to assist the commission in accomplishing its important work.”


201912_nordstrom-partners-with-cmn-hospitals-this-holiday-season Mon, 16 Dec 2019 08:00:00 GMT Nordstrom partners with CMN Hospitals this holiday season <p>When you purchase a $10 giving-tree card at a Sacramento area Nordstrom store, your donation will help provide life-saving care, education and research at UC Davis Children&rsquo;s Hospital.</p> Nordstrom is making the season brighter for children at UC Davis Children’s Hospital by partnering with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to support children’s hospitals across the U.S. & Canada.

When you purchase a $10 giving-tree card at a Sacramento area Nordstrom store, your donation will help provide life-saving care, education and research at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

Learn more & donate online now: https://bit.ly/2r0U4yv 


201912_voting-begins-for-ace-hardwares-coolest-christmas-contest- Fri, 13 Dec 2019 08:00:00 GMT Voting begins for Ace Hardware's Coolest Christmas Contest <p class="entry-title fusion-post-title" data-fontsize="34" data-lineheight="40">A vote for Emigh is a vote for UC Davis Children&rsquo;s Hospital.</p> The Ace Hardware Coolest Christmas Contest is back and we need your help! Visit https://woobox.com/br5skc and vote for Emigh Hardware, which is fundraising for UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

The Ace Hardware store with the most votes will receive a $7,500 donation made in the store’s name to its supporting Children’s Miracle Network hospital. Second place will receive $5,000 and third place will receive $2,500. You can vote once a day. The contest ends December 20 at 9:59 p.m. PST.

201912_49ers-star-sacramento-native-delivers-toys-to-uc-davis-childrens-hospital Thu, 12 Dec 2019 08:00:00 GMT 49ers star, Sacramento native delivers toys to UC Davis Children’s Hospital <p>San Francisco 49ers star and Sacramento native Arik Armstead brought holiday cheer to UC Davis Children's Hospital by delivering toys to children undergoing treatment.</p> Every kid looks forward to opening presents at home during the holiday season, but some children will be spending the holidays in the hospital.

So every December, San Francisco 49ers defensive star Arik Armstead brings toys to the children at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

Armstead, who played football and basketball at Pleasant Grove High School in Elk Grove, bought hundreds of toys, electronics and gift cards for kids undergoing treatment.

Children and their parents visited a hospital playroom packed full of stuffed animals, footballs, dolls and Star Wars toys.

The 6’7”, 290-pound Armstead and his family helped babies, children and teens pick out their favorite toys and handed out gift cards.

“It’s a lot of fun for me to be able to come here and try to have a positive impact on young people’s lives,” Armstead said. “It’s nice to put a smile on their faces and try to take away some of the negative thoughts on what they are going through at the time.”

Arik Armstead helping a little girl pick out toysChildren beamed with excitement as they shopped through the overwhelming assortment of goodies, as Armstead encouraged them to take as much as they wanted.

“I think sometimes we take for granted our blessings and what we have in life,” Armstead said. “These kids are going through the toughest times – the toughest things imaginable – and it puts it in perspective of how fortunate we are and the blessings we do have. And I think people should be reminded of that.”

After kids came through the playroom to pick out toys, Armstead loaded up a cart and went bedside to deliver gifts to children who can’t or don’t feel well enough to leave their hospital bed.

This is the fourth year Armstead has delivered toys at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. He said it’s great to come back every year and have fun with the kids.

“It’s fun every year to be able to come here and put a smile on the kids’ faces,” Armstead said. “I’m able to hang out with them and hope that this moment can get them through the tough times. It’s a huge blessing to have the opportunity to do this and to be fortunate enough to come here. And I’m sure I have just as much fun as they do.”

Arik Armstead showing a boy a ball

201912_sacramento-modular-railroaders-thanked-for-almost-a-decade-of-service-to-uc-davis-childrens-hospital Fri, 06 Dec 2019 08:00:00 GMT Sacramento Modular Railroaders thanked for almost a decade of service to UC Davis Children’s Hospital <p><span>Going to the doctor&rsquo;s office is not something kids typically look forward to. Unless, that is, they&rsquo;re headed to the pediatric specialty clinic at the&nbsp;</span><a href="https://health.ucdavis.edu/medicalcenter/cliniclocations/primarycare/sac_25212200p.html">Glassrock Building</a><span>&nbsp;at&nbsp;</span>UC Davis Health where&nbsp;<span>a train runs continuously and has for years, thanks to a local group of railroad enthusiasts.</span></p> It’s been close to 10 years since the Sacramento Modular Railroaders began tending to the train in the pediatric specialty clinic at the UC Davis Glassrock Building. In honor of the group’s commitment to UC Davis Children’s Hospital, they were recognized by hospital administration.

“Your passion and generosity make a huge difference to the kids we take care of,” said UC Davis Children’s Hospital’s vice chair of clinical affairs Kevin Coulter, as he addressed the group. “It’s a huge gift to give patients something that interrupts their worry.”

The Sacramento Modular Railroaders took over for another railroad club back in 2011 and have routinely cleaned the track and repaired the equipment ever since.

“We rebuild and refurbish every couple months,” said Bob Warner, part of the Glassrock train “crew” since the club took over. “It usually takes two of us to service it. One on the ladder and the other on the ground to catch him,“ he quipped.

A highlight of going to the doctor’s office, the train has been a welcome sight for patients and caregivers alike.

“These trains are fantastic for nervous children and parents,” said Janette Lee, chief administrative officer at UC Davis Health. “It’s a distraction, even if only for a moment.”

“See that? When we see a child enter the waiting area and say, ‘Ohhhhh,’ like that boy just did … that’s why we do it,” added Warner.

But this passion project provides more than a moment of awe. The train – there are four in rotation, including a holiday train, and the direction of travel changes every couple of months – runs continually and people visit the second floor to see it, even if they don’t have an appointment.

“I’ve been here 17 years and kids just love it. Once they know it’s here, they continue to stop by,” said Jodie Gallegos, supervisor of pediatric ambulatory services.  “They come off the elevator just to check it out.”

201912_out-of-state-family-chooses-uc-davis-childrens-hospital-for-life-changing-heart-procedure Fri, 06 Dec 2019 08:00:00 GMT Out-of-state family chooses UC Davis Children's Hospital for life-changing heart procedure <p>Internationally renowned interventional cardiologist Frank Ing does for Katie Herrmann what others can't: perform a <span class="stories-excerpt">patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) closure on the tiniest of patients.</span></p> From the beginning, Katie Herrmann faced incredible odds.  She was diagnosed with Trisomy 18, an extra chromosome which disrupts development and can lead to death.

Born early at 2 pounds, 7 ounces in Pennsylvania, Katie’s prematurity and Trisomy 18-related medical complications threatened her life. Among the challenges: a hole in her heart that wasn’t closing called patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). Failure of this hole to close is common in premature infants like Katie, but many physicians cannot perform the PDA closure on babies that small.

“She was so tiny,” said Katie’s mom, Kelly Herrmann. “[Doctors in Pennsylvania] were reluctant to perform the procedure she needed. They told us to wait until she got bigger.” But would she? The Trisomy 18 prognosis is often grim.

Katie Herrmann lives in Reno, NV with her parents and brother, Jackson. The family chose UC Davis Children's Hospital for Katie's PDA closure.

The family struggled and so did Katie. She needed a tracheostomy so she could breathe. Respiratory therapists were called in. Katie’s care was becoming more complicated by the minute and all of this was taking place ahead of an impending move to Reno, Nev.

“We didn’t know where we were going to get care,” Herrmann said. “Reno did not have a catheterization lab. We could go to Las Vegas, Utah or California.”

Enter UC Davis Children’s Hospital. The Herrmanns heard about Frank Ing, chief of pediatric cardiology at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. A specialist in using less-invasive methods to treat heart and vascular conditions in children, Ing not only reassured the family he could perform the PDA, he shared that he could have performed the procedure when Katie was just two pounds.

“Dr. Ing told us Katie was a heavyweight compared to other babies he has performed PDAs for,” Katie’s father, Jeremy Herrmann said.

It was the promise of help for their daughter that they were looking for. Katie was transferred to UC Davis Children’s Hospital. The PDA closure was successfully performed by Ing using a coil, a method not explored by others they had spoken with.

“We love Dr. Ing. He is the best person we have dealt with. He was simply not going to take no for an answer and was determined to help Katie,” Jeremy Herrmann said. “I loved his attitude.”

The Herrmanns have since returned to Reno and will continue Katie’s care there. Their experience has encouraged them to not only advocate for their daughter, but for other preemie and Trisomy 18 parents as well.

“Had we known about Dr. Ing right after Katie was born, we would have done the surgery earlier and perhaps avoided some of the other complications we have faced since,” Kelly Herrmann said. “Trisomy 18 parents are often told their children will likely die. We want to pass on what we’ve learned so parents know what’s out there and do what’s best for their kids to save their lives.”

201911_diana-farmer-recognized-for-global-leadership Thu, 21 Nov 2019 08:00:00 GMT Diana Farmer recognized for global leadership <p>UC Davis Health's leading pediatric and fetal surgeon <a href="https://health.ucdavis.edu/team/surgery/1592/diana-farmer---fetal-surgery---pediatric-surgery---surgery---pediatric-sacramento"></a>has won a 2020 <span><a href="https://universitas21.com/get-involved/u21-awards/u21-award">U21 Award</a></span>.</p> Pediatric and fetal surgeon Diana Farmer of UC Davis Health has won a 2020 U21 Award for advancing global perspectives in her field.

U21, formerly Universitas 21, is a network of research universities, including UC Davis, that collaborate across borders and nurture international knowledge exchange.

Farmer is chair of the UC Davis Department of Surgery and surgeon-in-chief of UC Davis Children’s Hospital. She first recognized the importance of a global view in surgery as a medical student, when she accepted an opportunity to study in Asia. That experience had a lasting impact on her practice and leadership.

As a surgeon, she has continuously worked to correct inequities that exist globally in health care. Her work has focused on access to surgical treatment, particularly for children. As a mentor and educator, she has created unique opportunities for surgical students to learn abroad and address global health challenges.

“Dr. Farmer is recognized worldwide as a leader in innovative surgery techniques and she has long been known for her spirit of collaboration and advocacy, working to reduce barriers for her patients, students and colleagues,” said Dean Allison Brashear of the UC Davis School of Medicine. “We are all so proud that Dr. Farmer has been recognized by U21 for the global impact of her work.”

Farmer is recognized worldwide as a leader in surgery for children. She is especially known for her skilled surgical treatment of birth defects. She is an expert in cancer, airway and intestinal surgeries in newborns. Her research focuses on the safety and effectiveness of treating spina bifida before birth. She is developing a new stem cell therapy for repairing damaged neural tissue in spina bifida patients.

In 2010, Farmer was inducted as a fellow into the Royal College of Surgeons of England, becoming only the second woman surgeon from the United States to receive this prestigious honor. In 2011, she was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, one of the highest honors in medicine.

“Collaborating across disciplines and borders has become increasingly important, and Dr. Farmer’s pioneering leadership, both at UC Davis and around the world, has been instrumental in advancing global opportunities in medical education,” Joanna Regulska, vice provost and associate chancellor of global affairs at UC Davis. “At home and abroad, her commitment, advocacy and innovation are nothing short of inspiring.”

The award will be formally presented during the U21 Annual Presidents’ Meeting in May 2020.

Surgery is one of many significant strengths of UC Davis Health, where some of the world’s most skilled and compassionate surgeons are part of the care team. More information is at health.ucdavis.edu.

Global Affairs at UC Davis has a mission of inspiring global curiosity, understanding, and engagement — on campus, in California and around the world. More information is online.

201911_qa-on-vaping-related-lung-injuries Wed, 20 Nov 2019 08:00:00 GMT Q&A on vaping-related lung injuries <p>UC Davis pediatric pulmonologist Rory Kamerman-Kretzmer shares his insights on e-cigarettes and why children and adults should steer clear.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 2,000 cases of vaping-associated lung injury have been reported across the United States. UC Davis pediatric pulmonologist Rory Kamerman-Kretzmer shares his insights on e-cigarettes and why children and adults should steer clear.   

Q: What makes e-cigarettes and vaping use so worrisome?

A: There are tens, if not hundreds, of different chemicals that are potentially contained in different forms of vaping liquid and so-called “juice.” Some of them are thought to cause cancer. It’s not regulated strictly enough. Vaping liquid that is advertised as “pure,” “nicotine-free” or “pure nicotine” does not mean it is absent of various chemicals that are dangerous.

It’s advertised or talked about as just water vapor, which isn’t an accurate characterization of a substance that contains a lot of different chemicals.

A lot of vaping pens or devices turn these chemicals into extremely fine particles. One of the things that we know is that fine particles make their way further into the lungs. Large particles are filtered out by the nose and the throat. Medium-sized particles hit your main airways, which is the trachea -- your main air tube -- or the large airways of the lungs. The finest particles make it all the way to the end portion of the lung, which is called the alveoli. That’s the part that is critical in moving oxygen and carbon dioxide into and out of the body and is arguably the most fragile part of the lung. We worry that the tiniest particles getting into that part of the lungs might be part of the reason why vaping is dangerous. But again, it would help to have more scientific data on all of this.

Q: Do we know what is causing these vaping-related injuries and deaths?

A: Our understanding of this is still limited. The CDC has asked all physicians who have seen these cases across the nation to report them so they can gather as much data as possible and get a better understanding of what is happening. What we have gathered so far is that a lot of the cases seem to involve vaping liquid that contains marijuana-related substances, including THC or synthetic forms of THC, which is one of the psychoactive substances in marijuana. We also think a lot of the lung injury-related cases involve vaping juices or vaping liquid that were unregulated or sold on the black market.

When you buy a pack of cigarettes over the counter, I don’t want to say that that is as regulated as I would prefer, but it is manufactured using a standardized process, according to the nicotine and cigarette industry. A lot of vaping liquids are either completely unregulated or sometimes are modified by the shop selling them or the person using them. Particularly liquids that are bought on the black market and shared between friends or family members. We don’t necessarily know what is in that liquid. According to data collected by the CDC, liquids bought on the black market, or were modified by people before they used them -- particularly with the addition of substances that are derivatives of marijuana -- are more associated with lung injury.

At least 10% of the cases, according to the CDC, had no association with marijuana whatsoever. The only active ingredient found was nicotine, so I don’t want to leave the impression that vaping pure nicotine is safe either.

Q: What are the signs or symptoms of vaping associated lung injury?

A: The symptoms are vague: decreased appetite, chills or night sweats. Maybe feeling a little out of breath or feeling like you can’t exercise as much as you could before. Maybe you’ve noticed that climbing a flight of stairs or walking a few blocks is harder than it used to be, even though you are still a relatively young, fit person. This can progress to more coughing and more shortness of breath.

If you are someone who vapes and notice respiratory symptoms, you should see a physician and be evaluated as soon as possible.

We see mood disorders, including increased anxiety and increased rates of depression related to nicotine use. Also, we see trouble with impulse control, acting out, attention-deficit, hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)-like symptoms. The brain continues to develop until 25 years of age, and we worry that nicotine use early on may permanently change the way the brain develops. I encourage parents to look out for those types of symptoms, particularly if there has been a recent change in their child’s or teenager’s behavior.

Of course, there are a variety of reasons kids may be experiencing anxiety, depression or acting out, so I’m not trying to imply that nicotine is the only cause. But it’s on the list of causes.

Q: What do these symptoms look like when vaping-associated lung illness gets worse?

A: We’re seeing profound inflammation of the lungs. If it’s airway disease, that inflammation prevents air from getting into the lungs effectively because an inflamed airway narrows as it swells. If it’s related to the fine tissue at the most distant portion of the lung called the alveoli, that profound inflammation and immune reaction can prevent the body from exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide. In the worst cases, that means we have to put in a breathing tube and start a ventilator for that patient to try to get them over this massive wave of inflammation.

We also use anti-inflammatory medications like steroids, if we need to. In the worst cases, we have to use ECMO, which is a machine that exchanges oxygen and carbon dioxide. It’s related to heart-lung bypass and it’s a form of emergency life support that maintains the body’s functions while the heart and lungs are completely shutting down. This is a very serious thing when the most severe cases of vaping-associated injury happen.

Q: How prevalent is vaping among children?

A: We know that there are lots of kids who vape. As of 2018, one in five high schoolers had vaped in the past 30 days. For middle school, it was one in 20 kids who had vaped in the past 30 days. Our current numbers may be even higher. The other concern is, as of 2016, 70% of kids had been exposed to vaping-related advertisements. As you know, a lot of these products are advertised with flavors that naturally appeal to kids, in addition to adults. A lot of the flavors are fruit-based, candy-based, stuff that kids enjoy and all of those are risk factors for getting kids addicted to nicotine early on in life.

Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances that people use and that it is extremely difficult to quit. We’ve known this for years. I worry that getting addicted early in life is setting kids up for long-term health consequences.

My fear about vaping is that we’re going to have a second wave of nicotine addiction and nicotine-related disease over the coming decades.

Q: How should parents talk to their children about vaping?

A: Parents should be talking to their kids early about the risks of nicotine use in any form, including vaping, and keeping an open, honest conversation with their kids. For parents who may be smoking or vaping themselves, they can be talking about how they hope to quit at some point and how they would never want their son or daughter to abuse these substances themselves.

We want kids to feel that they can talk to their parents, their teachers and their physicians about the substances they are using in a nonjudgmental fashion so we can educate kids about the risks and help them discontinue use of these substances. Starting these conversations early in your child’s life so they know it’s a safe topic is going to help. We also know that kids who start vaping are a lot more likely to use traditional cigarettes in the future and potentially move on to more dangerous substances and drugs, so that’s why it’s really important to get ahead of this.

Additional resources

CDC information on e-cigarettes and lung injury

Do you vape? Stop!

201911_customized-human-milk-provides-targeted-nutrition-for-premature-babies Wed, 20 Nov 2019 08:00:00 GMT Customized human milk provides targeted nutrition for premature babies <p>Premature babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at UC Davis Children&rsquo;s Hospital will get customized breast milk, fortified with the nutrients, thanks to a new Miris human milk analyzer machine donated by the Children&rsquo;s Miracle Network.</p> Premature babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at UC Davis Children’s Hospital will get customized breast milk, fortified with the nutrients they need to support their growth and wellness, thanks to a new Miris human milk analyzer machine donated by the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN).

The NICU team launched a “liquid gold” campaign this month to inform families with babies in the NICU about the new machine and the importance of breast milk. The campaign encourages mothers to provide a five-milliliter breast milk sample for analysis.

“The machine will tell us what we need to add to the breast milk to help the preemies grow,” said Kara M Kuhn-Riordon, neonatologist and assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

Based on the analysis for calorie content and key nutrients such as protein, fat and carbohydrates, the milk is fortified to suit each infant’s growth needs.

“We are so excited about this individualized, targeted nutrition for the babies,” said Kuhn-Riordon. “We work with mothers to provide babies with the best nourishment they can get.”

Born at least three weeks before their expected delivery date, premature babies usually have very low birth weight. They need extra protein, fat, vitamins and minerals to help them grow and build strong bones. Fortified breast milk provides these babies with the nutrients needed to support their growth and brain development.

UC Davis Children’s Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a designated Level IV nursery, the highest level for the most acute care, in the Sacramento region. Its special care nursery is a Level II-designated unit for children who are seriously ill but expected to recover more rapidly.

The NICU admits infants who are born at UC Davis Children’s Hospital or are transferred from other hospitals within the 33-county service area stretching from Central California to the Oregon and Nevada borders.

201911_a-webcam-for-every-nicu-bed Mon, 18 Nov 2019 08:00:00 GMT Constantly connected: A webcam for every NICU bed <p>All Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) beds at UC Davis Children&rsquo;s Hospital are now set up with a webcam, providing parents and families with a 24/7 lifeline to see their baby remotely.</p> Every Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) bed at UC Davis Children’s Hospital is now set up with a webcam. This allows parents and families to see their baby through a secure connection from a home computer, tablet or cellphone 24/7, even when they are not at the bedside. The expansion to every bed is the latest development in the UC Davis FamilyLink program, a NICU webcam program for patient families, which expanded access in October.

“This is the best thing. When I can’t make it in because I am sick or out of town, I love the webcams because I can see him if I’m missing him,” said Ruby Moran, whose son is in the NICU.

The program now also features an upgraded web portal with increased security and a user-friendly interface. A streamlined enrollment process gives families access to FamilyLink upon admission to the NICU.

“Our families come from all over Northern California, some from very far distances, and many are here for a long time. Many have to go back and forth for their job or to care for their other kids, and it’s stressful to have a baby in the NICU,” said UC Davis neonatologist Kristin Hoffman, who started the FamilyLink program in 2015 along with UC Davis Health technical supervisor George Wu. “This is a way that families can still be connected to their baby when they are not able to be at the hospital.”

Aaron Ridgway live 90 minutes from UC Davis Children’s Hospital. He and his wife use FamilyLink each night to see their baby in the NICU.

“It has been indispensable as a means of staying connected to our baby. Frankly we wouldn’t have the same attachment or rapport with his carers without it,” Aaron Ridgway said.

The program has been customized by UC Davis Health. Webcams and flexible tripods are mounted on infant isolettes, warmers and cribs in all 49 NICU beds. The program is funded by a Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals grant. Hoffman was selected by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in 2019 to receive the CMN Achievement Award, a national honor that goes to one caregiver, team, or unit that has significantly elevated the care of children and has specifically been impacted by Children's Miracle Network Hospitals’ funds.

Hoffman noted that usage of the system has jumped up since access was expanded in October.

“Since we expanded access to our system, it’s been amazing. I’m seeing many more families using the webcams. That’s been so rewarding because we’ve worked really hard to make it available for all families who come to our NICU,” Hoffman said.

201911_farmer-becomes-a-regent-of-the-american-college-of-surgeons- Thu, 14 Nov 2019 08:00:00 GMT Farmer becomes a regent of the American College of Surgeons <p>Diana Farmer has been elected to the Board of Regents of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). The 24-member board formulates policy and directs the affairs of the ACS.</p> Diana Farmer has been elected to the Board of Regents of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). The 24-member board formulates policy and directs the affairs of the ACS.

A highly regarded pediatric and neonatal surgeon and stem cell scientist, Farmer is the Pearl Stamps Stewart Professor of Surgery and chair of the Department of Surgery at UC Davis Health. She also is surgeon-in-chief of UC Davis Children's Hospital.

Farmer is well known for her skilled surgical treatment of congenital anomalies, her investigations of the safety and effectiveness of treating spina bifida before birth, and her expertise in cancer, airway and intestinal surgeries in newborns.

An ACS fellow since 1998, Farmer has already served on many ACS governing bodies. Most recently, she was chair and vice chair of the Board of Governors.

More information about the ACS is at www.facs.org.

More information about UC Davis Health, including its surgery department and children’s hospital, is at health.ucdavis.edu.

201911_car-seat-safety-tips-for-families-using-rideshare-services-taxis Thu, 07 Nov 2019 08:00:00 GMT Car seat safety tips for families using rideshare services, taxis <p>What do families need to know when using a rideshare service like Uber and Lyft with their children?</p> Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft, along with taxi services, have become a common mode of transportation in urban areas including Sacramento.

But what do families need to know when traveling with their children?

Current car seat laws in California require:

  • All children under the age of 8 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall to be transported in the backseat of the vehicle in an appropriate child seat.
  • Children younger than 2 years or under 40 pounds to ride in a rear-facing car seat. 

While California car seat laws apply to rideshare and taxi cab drivers, those companies are not required to provide car seats for child passengers.

“Whether taking a quick trip to the airport or travelling from hotel to an amusement park, parents should bring a car seat for every child. They should make sure it’s properly secured in the rideshare or taxi cab vehicle,” said Misael Chavarin, UC Davis Children's Hospital Kohl's Injury Prevention Program community educator.

Those travelling with children who plan to use a rideshare or taxi service should follow these safety tips:

  • When ordering a ride, include a message to the driver that you are travelling with a child in a car seat.
  • Before the driver arrives, check the model of the vehicle to make sure it will accommodate the type and number of car seats you have. This is especially important for rear-facing car seats, which may not fit into smaller vehicles. Consider paying the additional fare for a larger vehicle.
  • Make sure you know how to install your car seat with both the LATCH system and the vehicle seatbelt. One may work better that the other to secure your car seat in the rideshare vehicle. 
  • Refresh your installation skills by watching a quick video on how to install your rear-facing seat, forward-facing seat, or booster seat.
  • Plan ahead for how you will keep your child safe while you are installing the car seat. Rideshare and taxi cab services are used most often in busy urban areas with heavy traffic nearby.

Check out the UC Davis Trauma Prevention Program Child Passenger Safety web page for more information on car seat safety and installation tips.  

201911_b-infantis-reduces-intestinal-inflammation-in-infants Mon, 04 Nov 2019 08:00:00 GMT B. infantis reduces intestinal inflammation in infants <p><em>B. infantis</em>, a strain of probiotic bacteria, reduces intestinal inflammation in infants, a new study shows.</p> In a recent study published in Pediatric Research, researchers have demonstrated that colonizing infants with a specific strain of probiotic bacteria --B. infantis EVC001--reduces intestinal inflammation up to 55-fold compared to infants receiving breastmilk only.

Previous studies have shown that Bifidobacterium longum infantis (B. infantis), a strain of bacteria naturally residing in the infant gut, has been nearly eliminated in infants born in industrialized countries. This sharp decrease in B. infantis is believed to be due to modern health practices such as increased antibiotics use, formula feeding and C-section deliveries.

The researchers on the study hypothesize that the lack of B. infantis in the gut may be at the root of the recent rise in autoimmune conditions.

“If the absence of B. infantis has played a role in the rise in inflammation-related diseases, reintroducing it early in life could significantly reduce the occurrence of some of these conditions,” said Mark Underwood, co-author on the study and professor of pediatrics and chief of neonatology at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

B. infantis and intestinal inflammation

The study looked at 37 families of bacteria commonly found in the infant gut, including families that contain bacterial strains sold as health supplements. Bifidobacteriaceae was the only gut bacterial family found to be correlated with a significant reduction in key markers of inflammation.

Health care providers look for signs of intestinal inflammation by measuring key markers such as cytokines, calprotectin and endotoxin. The study showed that infants who received B. infantis EVC001 produced significantly lower levels of these three markers, compared to infants in the control group.

The babies colonized by B. infantis EVC001 showed a significant reduction in pro-inflammatory cytokines - peptides associated with increased intestinal permeability, a condition that may influence the development of Type 1 Diabetes.

Infants with low Bifidobacterium showed levels of fecal calprotectin – a protein released during intestinal inflammation - similar to those shown to cause twice the risk of asthma and atopic dermatitis in term infants. Babies with higher Bifidobacterium abundance had lower levels of fecal calprotectin.

Finally, infants with high levels of Bifidobacterium showed a four-fold lower concentration of fecal endotoxin, which drives TLR4-based inflammation - a key factor in the onset of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a common intestinal condition among very preterm newborns that is often fatal.

The reduction in inflammation was shown to persist when measured 30 days after the last B. infantis EVC001 feeding. This indicates that this bacterial strain may be unique in its ability to colonize the gut for an ongoing protective effect.

Collaborators on the study include researchers from Evolve Biosystems Inc, University of Nebraska and UC Davis Health.

201911_uc-davis-childrens-hospital-launches-virtual-holiday-toy-drive Fri, 01 Nov 2019 07:00:00 GMT VIDEO: UC Davis Children's Hospital launches virtual holiday toy drive <p>UC Davis Children&rsquo;s Hospital will launch its first virtual holiday toy drive this year at https://toydrive.ucdavis.edu.</p><p>&nbsp;</p>
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UC Davis Children’s Hospital will launch its first virtual holiday toy drive this year at https://toydrive.ucdavis.edu.

This will replace the hospital’s traditional toy drive at the UC Davis MIND Institute. The new online format will allow staff to better accommodate the individual needs of patients, while providing donors with the opportunity to “shop” from the comfort of their home.

Funds donated will be used to purchase toys, games, crafts, electronics and more so every child spending the holiday season in the hospital will receive a gift. Remaining funds will be used to purchase gifts for hospitalized children throughout the year. The gifts might help kids mark the end of treatment or the completion of tests and other procedures, and stock the hospital’s play spaces with toys, games and other activities year-round.

“It is our hope that the community will consider joining us again this year in our efforts to improve the hospital experience for children during the holiday season,” said Diana Sundberg, manager of the UC Davis Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department. “We are hopeful that this new online format will help us make the holidays brighter for our patients and families.” 

201911_video-trick-or-treating-fun-country-fair-style-at-uc-davis-childrens-hospital Fri, 01 Nov 2019 07:00:00 GMT VIDEO: Trick or treating fun, country fair-style, at UC Davis Children's Hospital <p>Hospitalized children at UC Davis Children&rsquo;s Hospital didn't miss out on trick or treating today. The children's hospital team brought the trick or treating fun to the kids.</p>
This video is best viewed in Chrome or Firefox.


Hospitalized children at UC Davis Children’s Hospital didn't miss out on trick or treating today. The Davis 7 pediatric nurses and the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy team brought the trick or treating fun to the kids.

Patients and family members were dressed up in costume - many of which were provided by Spirit Halloween - and were given bags to go trick-or-treating through the hospital’s hallways.

Employees from UC Davis Health departments staffed different doors on the pediatrics unit, providing treats for children who knocked. Patients also visited different stations with face painting, family photos, games and activities, with the help of volunteers.

This year's theme was country fair, with many staff members dressed as farmers and animals. Trick or treating doors resembled barns. Mylar balloon animals decorated the halls. 

For nurse manager Angie Marin, Halloween is a labor of a love.

“There are no do-overs for Halloween. You can’t put on your costume and knock on doors on November 1st or any other day and get a treat,” said Marin. "Children start getting excited about Halloween in September. They look forward to this day with such anticipation. For a couple of hours, we are able to help them forget about their illness and just celebrate being a kid."

201910_uc-davis-childrens-hospital-unveils-new-high-tech-child-friendly-ambulance Mon, 28 Oct 2019 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Children's Hospital unveils new high-tech, child-friendly ambulance <p>The UC Davis Children's Hospital has a new ride -- see the new Children's Hospital ambulance.&nbsp;</p> UC Davis Children’s Hospital has a new ride and it is not your average ambulance.

With a child-friendly design and medical features to safely transport the tiniest of patients, the new ambulance brings patients to UC Davis Children’s Hospital from referring hospitals. The hospital's coverage area includes 33 counties in inland Northern California.

The new ambulance made its debut on the road this month. It is funded by a Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals grant and operated by NORCAL Ambulance

Built for kids

Some of the new ambulance's features include:

• A state-of-the-art transport isolette, or incubator for premature newborn infants. It is equipped with the latest medical equipment to provide the most advanced care for vulnerable neonatal patients.
• A pediatric gurney that can be safely secured during travel.
• Ventilators capable of multiple kinds of ventilation. Nitric oxide is also available.
• Dual-functioning air conditioning and heater system to cool or warm the air rapidly, which is especially important during hot Central Valley summers.
• Touch screen control panel to operate equipment with ease.
• Safety harness seat belts for all medical personnel.
• Crew cab space for comfortably transporting family members.
• An Automatic Vehicle Locator and Global Positioning Satellite System to track the vehicle.
• A DVD player so patients can watch a movie.

View a 360-degree tour of the ambulance. 

The team behind the ambulance

The new ambulance is staffed by UC Davis Children’s Hospital Transport Team members.

The UC Davis Children’s Hospital Transport Team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More than 800 children are transported each year to UC Davis Children’s Hospital via the UC Davis Children’s Hospital Transport Team.

UC Davis Children's Hospital's Transport Team is the most comprehensive in Northern California, with the capability of traveling by ground via ambulance or by air via fixed-wing (Sacramento Executive Airport) or rotor wing (hospital helipad). Team members include advanced practice registered nurses with neonatal and critical care experience. They specialize in bringing an advanced level of care to infants and children at surrounding community hospitals, where expertise and resources may not be available.

201910_back-from-the-depths-of-postpartum-depression Wed, 23 Oct 2019 07:00:00 GMT Back from the depths of postpartum depression <p>For the first four months of her baby&rsquo;s life, Tiffany Loesch was overwhelmed by feelings of panic, anxiety and hopelessness.&nbsp;Luckily for Loesch, she had a family friend who had heard about Zulresso, the first intravenous (IV) drug for the treatment of postpartum depression to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March 2019. Loesch asked her physician about the treatment and was referred to UC Davis Medical Center.&nbsp;</p> For the first four months of her baby’s life, Tiffany Loesch was overwhelmed by feelings of panic, anxiety and hopelessness.

“After giving birth, it was like all of the happiness that I once felt was stripped away and turned into a dark hole of despair,” Loesch said.

As months passed, simple tasks like sleeping, eating and having a conversation became challenging.  

“I felt like a shell of the person I once was,” Loesch said. “There are no words to describe the pain and suffering that I felt.”

Luckily for Loesch, she had a family friend who had heard about Zulresso, the first intravenous (IV) drug for the treatment of postpartum depression to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March 2019. Loesch asked her physician about the treatment and was referred to UC Davis Medical Center, the Sacramento region's only nationally ranked academic health center and Sacramento's No. 1-ranked hospital.

UC Davis Medical Center is also where Zulresso, also known as Brexanolone, was first developed by UC Davis neurologist Michael Rogawski. In laboratory-based and clinical research, Rogawski and his colleagues discovered the neuroactive steroid allopregnanolone could treat postpartum depression. Zulresso is only available to patients at select, certified health care facilities like UC Davis Medical Center. 

Loesch was scheduled for an office consultation with physician Shannon Clark from the UC Davis Maternal-Fetal Medicine Department to see if she would be a viable candidate for Zulresso treatment.

Clark, who is double boarded in family medicine and psychiatry, regularly treats women with postpartum depression and recognized those signs and symptoms in Loesch.

Postpartum depression strikes one in nine new mothers in the United States. Symptoms can include crying spells, insomnia, appetite loss, mood swings and panic attacks.

A return to her old self

Tiffany Loesch with son Liam
Following her Zulresso treatment, Tiffany Loesch is now able to enjoy life again with her son Liam.

Clark hoped that the one-time, 60-hour Zulresso infusion would be the right treatment to bring Loesch back from the depths of her depression. Loesch was admitted to UC Davis Medical Center for treatment.

After only 24 hours of the Zulresso infusion, Loesch was shocked and happy to feel her old self returning.

“Almost all my anxiety had lifted. My appetite returned. My mood was elevated and I began to feel happy again. I was more talkative,” Loesch said.

By the end of her Zulresso treatment, Loesch said it felt like a reset button had been pushed.

Clark has seen firsthand the life-changing outcomes of her patients like Loesch thanks to Zulresso. It has made her a believer.

“Postpartum depression can be severely debilitating in all areas of normal daily function at a time when a woman is already impaired by sleep deprivation and isolation just by caring for a newborn under any circumstances. I am happy to say that even I have been surprised by the profound effect treatment with Zulresso has afforded our patients - rapidly bringing their mood symptoms to remission. It has been rewarding to be a part of the treatment process,” Clark said.

These days, Loesch is back home in Humboldt County and cherishing life again with her baby, Liam.

“I think this drug will give a lot of moms their life back and hopefully take away months and months of suffering,” Loesch said. “I really feel blessed and grateful for my experience and the UC Davis Medical Center staff for making this all possible for me.”

201910_rite-aid-awards-50000-to-uc-davis-childrens-hospital-money-will-fund-project-adam Thu, 17 Oct 2019 07:00:00 GMT Rite Aid awards $50,000 to UC Davis Children's Hospital, money will fund Project Adam <p>Cardiac awareness continues in local schools, courtesy of Rite Aid</p> UC Davis Children’s Hospital was awarded $50,000 by The Rite Aid Foundation’s KidCents Grant Program. The foundation is awarding $2.3 million to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals across the nation. The grants will enable local children’s hospitals to advance initiatives focused on improving the health and wellbeing of children in the communities Rite Aid serves.

UC Davis Children’s Hospital will use its grant funding to support Project Adam, a program to help bring automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to schools. Established at UC Davis Children’s Hospital in 2015, Project ADAM Sacramento is the first California affiliate.

Rite Aid has been supporting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals for a quarter of a century. Every year, Rite Aid associates from across the country come together to raise money through the annual Miracle Balloon CampaignIn 2018, the campaign raised $4.5 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to help administer life-saving care, purchase medical equipment and provide critical funds to more than 90 hospitals located in Rite Aid communities.


About The Rite Aid Foundation

Since its inception in 2001, The Rite Aid Foundation has awarded more than $63 million to nonprofit organizations. Additionally, Rite Aid, through the efforts of its customers, supplier partners and associates, has also raised more than $92 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals across the country since 1994.

Rite Aid/Kid Cents logo
The Rite Aid Foundation developed KidCents as a way to do even more to help the kids in the communities Rite Aid serves.

About KidCents

Through the KidCents program, members of Rite Aid’s loyalty program, wellness+ rewards, can round up their in-store or online purchases to the nearest dollar and donate their change to KidCents. Members can also choose to direct their change to a specific KidCents charity by visiting www.kidcents.com. Through KidCents’ Step Up Fund, The Rite Aid Foundation provides a matching donation of $500 for every $500 a charity raises in contributions through the wellness+ rewards program, up to a maximum of $5,000. For more information, visit www.kidcents.com.

About Rite Aid Corporation

Rite Aid Corporation, which generated fiscal 2019 annual revenue of $21.6 billion, is one of the nation’s leading drugstore chains with 2,464 stores in 18 states and pharmacy benefit management (PBM) capabilities through EnvisionRxOptions and its affiliates. At Rite Aid, we have a personal interest in our customers’ health and wellness and deliver the products and services they need to lead healthier lives. Information about Rite Aid, including corporate background and press releases, is available through the company’s website at www.riteaid.com.



201910_uc-davis-pediatric-aerodigestive-is-first-of-its-kind-in-inland-northern-california Mon, 14 Oct 2019 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Pediatric Aerodigestive is first of its kind in inland Northern California <p>The new UC Davis Pediatric Aerodigestive Center is now open and accepting patient referrals. It&rsquo;s the first and only center of its kind in inland Northern California.</p> The new UC Davis Pediatric Aerodigestive Center is now open and accepting patient referrals. It’s the first and only center of its kind in inland Northern California.

Located in the renovated fourth floor suite of the UC Davis Glassrock Building in Sacramento, the UC Davis Pediatric Aerodigestive Center provides a specialized team approach for children with complex airway, pulmonary, upper digestive tract, sleep and feeding disorders. Now, instead of visiting multiple offices to see various specialists, patients can find the care they need in one place.

The Center’s care teams treat:

  • Larynx and trachea disorders such as airway obstruction, tracheostomy management, severe laryngomalacia
  • Esophageal and swallowing disorder such as dysphagia and aspiration, eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Pulmonary disorders such as chronic aspiration, chronic wet cough, snoring and obstructive sleep apnea

The team provides customized, streamlined care for children with conditions that span multiple specialties. This team approach will improve coordination of care and reduce patients’ number of procedures, imaging and anesthesia exposures. As a regional and national referral center, this center will also allow more convenient scheduling and appointments for our patients who travel long distances to see specialists.

“We are so excited to add the Pediatric Aerodigestive Center to our long list of exceptional care here at UC Davis Health,” said D. Gregory Farwell, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. “By bringing together world-class experts in pediatric otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, pulmonology, gastroenterology and surgery, we can provide the highest quality, coordinated care for pediatric patients with disorders of the upper airway and gastrointestinal tracts. Developing this center is a great example of our commitment to bring the most sophisticated, patient-centered approach to all of our patients, especially those with these difficult conditions.”

For more information, visit the UC Davis Pediatric Aerodigestive Center webpage.

201910_uc-davis-health-nurse-named-ancc-magnet-nurse-of-the-year Fri, 11 Oct 2019 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Health nurse named ANCC Magnet Nurse of the Year <p>UC Davis Health NICU nurse Christa Bedford-Mu was named National Magnet Nurse of the Year for New Knowledge, Innovation and Improvement at the American Nurses Credentialing Center National Magnet Conference in Orlando, Fla.</p> NICU nurse Christa Bedford-Mu was named National Magnet Nurse of the Year for New Knowledge, Innovation and Improvement at this week’s American Nurses Credentialing Center National Magnet Conference. Created in 2010, this recognition is given to five nurses annually for outstanding contributions in innovation, consultation, leadership, and professional risk-taking. Bedford-Mu joins Christi DeLemos as the second UC Davis Health nurse in three years to receive this honor.

Bedford-Mu is a board-certified neonatal clinical nurse specialist and a key participant in innovative telehealth programs at UC Davis Children's Hospital. She is a lead contributor to Supporting Pediatric Research on Outcomes and Utilization of Telehealth, a tele-visit and telehealth project aimed at improving the transition from NICU to home.

As part of the neonatal team, Bedford-Mu conducts pre-discharge live, interactive video visits with rural pediatricians providing detailed information about complex care. She also participates in post-discharge video visits with families, connecting both in the home environment and the medical provider's office. This program has allowed for earlier discharge, increased parental and provider satisfaction, and reduced readmission rates.

Bedford-Mu is committed to raising the standard for UC Davis Health partner facilities through subspecialty education that reduces the need for risky transport to a higher level of care. Over the last year, she was instrumental in designing an educational program for new UC Davis Health partners. The program focused on developing a broad range of nursing competencies through individualized educational plans and didactic educational programs with on-site mentorship. While still new, the program has allowed dozens of children to remain at their local facility, allowing families to stay in their homes, near their support networks, decreasing family stress, financial burden, as well as health care costs.

“Christa’s inspirational work illustrates the promise of telehealth to improve access to expert care in a patient-centric platform while reducing costs,” said Toby Marsh, Chief Nursing and Patient Care Services Officer. “She is a pioneer that challenges us to think differently, plan differently and imagine a better way to care for high-risk infants. I hope the entire health system joins me in congratulating her on this prestigious award.”

201910_sacramento-republic-fcs-cleats-for-causes-highlights-father-daughter-uc-davis-health-patients Fri, 04 Oct 2019 07:00:00 GMT Sacramento Republic FC's Cleats for Causes highlights father-daughter UC Davis Health patients <p>Can cleats tell a story? Sacramento Republic FC today launched its latest pair of one-of-a-kind cleats that will be up for auction, which tells the unique patient story of UC Davis neurosurgery patients Kevin Arredondo and his 11-year-old daughter Gianna, along with Sacramento Republic FC midfielder and childhood cancer survivor Ray Saari.</p> Sacramento Republic FC today launched its latest pair of one-of-a-kind cleats that will be up for auction now through the end of October. Featuring bright, child-friendly colors, the cleats tell the unique patient story of UC Davis neurosurgery patients Kevin Arredondo and his 11-year-old daughter Gianna, along with Sacramento Republic FC midfielder and childhood cancer survivor Ray Saari. Watch the video.

Kevin and Gianna Arredondo were treated at UC Davis Health for cerebral cavernous malformations, a genetic condition in which clusters of blood vessels form in the brain, that can cause seizures and affect mobility. Kevin Arredondo received surgical care from UC Davis neurosurgeon Fady Girgis, while Gianna received surgery from UC Davis pediatric neurosurgeon Marike Zwienenberg.

The cleats were designed by Sacramento artist Kevin Lee, after the Arredondo family and Ray Saari met Lee for a brainstorming session at the hospital. Some design elements on the cleats:

• One purple shoelace, signifying Ray’s ribbon for testicular cancer
• One red shoelace, signifying the Gianna and Kevin’s ribbon for Angioma Alliance, the organization for those affected by cavernous malformations
• “Ralph Breaks the Internet” references since Gianna watched this movie while getting her MRI in the hospital
• Magic Kingdom imagery since the Arredondo family enjoys Disneyland
• The eagle and the bear, Ray and Gianna’s favorite animals

Proceeds on the sale of the cleats will benefit UC Davis Children's Hospital. Those interested can bid online here: https://www.sacrepublicfc.com/cleats-for-a-cause.

201910_uc-davis-childrens-hospital-re-verified-as-level-i-childrens-surgery-center-by-american-college-of-surgeons Thu, 03 Oct 2019 07:00:00 GMT UC Davis Children's Hospital re-verified as Level I Children's Surgery Center by American College of Surgeons <p>UC Davis Children&rsquo;s Hospital has been re-verified as a Level I Children&rsquo;s Surgery Center&nbsp;by the American College of Surgeons (ACS). The designation from the ACS Children&rsquo;s Surgery Verification Quality Improvement Program focuses on the nation&rsquo;s first and only multi-specialty standards of surgical care for pediatric patients. UC Davis Children's Hospital was the first hospital on the West Coast to earn&nbsp;this distinction.</p> UC Davis Children’s Hospital has been re-verified as a Level I Children’s Surgery Center by the American College of Surgeons (ACS). The designation from the ACS Children’s Surgery Verification Quality Improvement Program focuses on the nation’s first and only multi-specialty standards of surgical care for pediatric patients. UC Davis Children's Hospital was the first hospital on the West Coast to earn this distinction.

The American College of Surgeons' Children's Surgery Verification program was developed to improve the quality of children's surgical care by creating a system that allows for a prospective match of every child's individual surgical needs with a care environment that has optimal pediatric resources. The guidelines ensure that children needing surgery receive care from a multidisciplinary program with quality improvement and safety processes, data collection and appropriate resources for patients.

The level I verification -- the highest of three -- was first awarded to UC Davis Children’s Hospital in 2016 after an extensive site visit by an ACS team of surveyors. The survey team consisted of experienced children’s surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses who reviewed the hospital’s structure, processes and clinical outcomes data. 

“The transformation in facilities and surgical care services for children at UC Davis in the past five years has been nothing short of remarkable! The commitment to children's surgical care by our team is validated and verified by this recognition by the American College of Surgeons,” said Diana Farmer, chair and Pearl Stamps Stewart professor of the UC Davis Department of Surgery and surgeon-in-chief at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. “It signifies to parents throughout California that they can be certain that the highest level of surgical care for their children in the country is found right here.”

To become a verified center, UC Davis Children’s Hospital met essential criteria for staffing, training, and facility infrastructure and protocols for care, ensuring its ability to appropriately care for children who are surgical patients. 

A Level I Children’s Surgery Center:

  • has specialty trained children’s surgeons in every discipline, who are able to care for newborns, children and teens
  • offers pediatric anesthesiologists who are available to provide round-the-clock care
  • provides dedicated operating rooms for children available 24 hours a day
  • participates in a national data registry that yields semiannual reports on the quality of its processes and outcomes, thus identifying opportunities for continuous quality improvement
  • trains future leaders in education and research 
  • leads the way in community service and outreach

About the American College of Surgeons

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to improve the quality of care for the surgical patient by setting high standards for surgical education and practice. The college has more than 82,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world.

201910_blood-flow-screening-to-improve-detection-of-critical-congenital-heart-defects-in-newborns Wed, 02 Oct 2019 07:00:00 GMT Blood flow screening to improve detection of critical congenital heart defects in newborns <p>Heather Siefkes, assistant professor of pediatric critical care at UC Davis Children&rsquo;s Hospital, was awarded National Institute of Child Health and Human Development grant to improve critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) early detection in newborns by establishing a threshold to blood flow levels.<br /><br /></p> Each year, 7,200 newborns in the United States are diagnosed with critical congenital heart disease (CCHD), a life-threatening heart defect. CCHD is a present-at-birth heart dysfunction that prevents the heart from pumping blood effectively or reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood.

The standard screening tool to detect CCHD after birth and before the baby goes home is a pulse oximeter test which measures the oxygen level in the baby’s blood.

“The oxygen saturation screen using oximeters has improved CCHD detection, but unfortunately, it still misses about 900 cases annually in the U.S. alone,” said Heather Siefkes, assistant professor of pediatric critical care at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

Siefkes, who was awarded a Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) grant last month, is working on improving CCHD detection in newborns by measuring their blood flow levels in addition to the blood oxygen levels.

“My research is looking at the potential of adding another screening measurement using the same pulse oximeter, but to detect the blood flow,” she added.

Unlike the oxygen level in blood, the blood flow measurement varies a lot. Until now, physicians do not know which blood flow threshold would indicate a possible CCHD diagnosis. Siefkes’ research will help identify this screening threshold by applying artificial intelligence techniques that accommodates for the variation in the blood flow value.

With the NICHD grant, Siefkes and her team will enroll 700 newborn babies at five hospitals, including UC Davis Children’s Hospital. Based on the blood flow screening of the babies, the researchers will develop a machine learning/artificial intelligence model to identify the perfusion (blood flow) value that can predict CCHD.

“Many years back, my mentor asked me what gave me ‘fire in the belly’?” Siefkes added. “One day during my fellowship, I received a transport call for a two-week-old baby who came to the emergency room very sick. It was clear that the baby had CCHD that went undetected by the afterbirth oximeter test. The late diagnosis meant a very bad outcome for the baby, and for me, it started a fire and a commitment to prevent this missed diagnosis from happening again.”

Siefkes is also supported by a UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC) KL2 Program Scholar Award.