Mission and Services

 The Critical Care Faculty at the UC Davis Children’s Hospital provides excellence in clinical care, advancement of care through research and a commitment to educating the next generation of Pediatric specialists. We are committed to improving the health of critically ill children through excellence in clinical medicine and a commitment to research and education.

The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the UC Davis Children's Hospital cares for approximately 1500 children every year. The Pediatric Cardiac Unit (PCICU) manages about 100-150 pediatric and neonatal cardiothoracic surgeries yearly. We treat a wide variety of conditions including severe infections, heart and lung failure, severe trauma or head injury, transplants, and provide dialysis and fiberoptic bronchoscopy in addition to the following state of the art services:

Pediatric Heart Center

  • Performing complex cardiac corrective surgeries as well as providing non-surgical interventions via cardiac catheterization.

Extra-Corporeal Life Support

  • ELSO recognized
  • Life saving service provided to adult and pediatric patients used when a patient's heart and/or lungs are so severely diseased or damaged that they can no longer support the life of the patient.

Pediatric Telemedicine

  • High-resolution video and audio system that allows our Pediatric Critical Care faculty to bring our expertise to hospitals in rural areas throughout Northern California via video consultation.

Supportive Therapies and Enhanced Palliative Services

  • Aim to prevent and relieve suffering while supporting patients and their families achieve the best possible quality of life.

Pediatric Transport Team

  • Dedicated pediatric transport team with access to fixed-wing, helicopter or ambulance services to bring patients from distant locations to our PICU 24-7 with paramount safety
  • Over 600 children transported yearly from rural and distant locations.

Additional commitment to the advancement of medicine via education and research are priorities for the Pediatric Critical Care division. Research among our group focuses on improving health care delivery within the hospital, providing improved healthcare services to rural and underserved children, health outcomes, clinical and translational research. The faculty is also involved in teaching the Pediatric Residents, 3rd and 4th year medical students, and providing lectures for nursing and physician groups throughout Northern California.

Critical Care Team

The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is staffed 24 hours a day by twelve board-certified Pediatric Critical Care specialists. The physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, and other specialists in the PICU work as a team to assess, diagnose and treat critically ill children.

James Marcin, M.D., M.P.H. Pediatric Critical Care Division Chief and Director of Pediatric Telemedicine Program for the Children’s Hospital. Dr. Marcin’s research involves improving healthcare through the application of telemedicine.

Sara Aghamohammadi, M.D. - Dr. Aghamohammadi recently joined our faculty and majority of her time is spent providing clinical care in the PICU/PCICU. Her interests focus on medical education for students, residents and nursing staff.

Costa Dimitriades, M.D. - Dr. Dimitriades has a primary commitment to clinical care in the PICU/PCICU. He has an interest in quality improvement and pediatric resuscitation education for the interdisciplinary team using high fidelity simulation.

John Holcroft, M.D. - Director of Children’s Hospital Transport Team and Director of Shriners. Dr. Holcroft has a primary commitment to clinical care in the PICU/PCICU. He has an interest in medical education for students, residents, nursing and transport staff, in addition to, outreach at area hospitals.

Stephanie Mateev, M.D. Director of Pediatric Cardiac ICU and Director of Extra-Corporeal Life Support. Her interests are the neurodevelopmental outcomes of critically ill patients, particularly those with congenital heart disease.

Theresa Murdock-Vlautin, M.D. – Director of Pediatric STEPS (Supportive Therapies and Enhanced Palliative Services) and Master Clinical Educator. Her interests include the multi-disciplinary care and support of patients and families dealing with chronic/terminal illness and medical education.

JoAnne E. Natale, M.D., Ph.D. - Director of the Pediatric ICU. Her research interests focus on quality improvement, sedation strategies in critically ill children and neurodevelopmental outcomes after traumatic brain injury.

Jennifer Plant, M.D., M.Ed. – Co-Instructor of record (IOR) for 3rd and IOR for 4th year medical student pediatric clerkships. Her focus includes medical education with improvement of patient care via simulation-based teaching. Her research interests also focus on medical education, assessment and curriculum development.

Viyeka Sethi, M.D. – Director of Resident PICU Rotation. Dr. Sethi has a primary commitment to clinical care in the PICU/PCICU with an added focus on fiberoptic bronchoscopy. She also has a interest in education for medical students, residents and nursing staff.

Heather Siefkes, M.D., MSCI - Dr. Siefkes recently joined our faculty and has a primary commitment to clinical care in the PICU/PCICU. Her research interests include early detection of critical congenital heart disease and outcomes related to pediatric critical illnesses. 

Jessica Signoff, M.D. - Dr. Signoff recently joined our faculty and has a primary commitment to clinical care in the PICU/PCICU. Her interests involve medical education, with research interests in severe sepsis and ECMO.

Our knowledgeable and experienced staff also includes

  • Pediatric critical care nurses, who have expertise in caring for critically ill children;
  • Child Life Specialists
  • Pediatric pharmacists
  • Pediatric nutritionists
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Physical therapists
  • Speech therapy
  • Occupational therapists
  • Social workers committed to the support of children and their family members.

Through the UC Davis Health System, we have at our disposal a roster of medical specialists with expertise in general Pediatric Surgery, Pediatric Cardiology, Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery, Neurosurgery, Hematology and Oncology, Pulmonology, and other specialties.


Critical Care Faculty Offices
Phone: 916-734-7840
Fax: 916-456-2235
Patient Referral: 1-800-UCD-4-KIDS (1-800-823-4543),  24 hours a day
Pediatric Intensive Care Transport: 916-734-7405
Pediatric Intensive Care Unit: 916-734-2994