The UC Davis Department of Pediatrics has the only pediatric nephrology, renal transplant and pediatric home peritoneal dialysis program in the Sacramento region. The Nephrology Clinic cares for children on dialysis and those with chronic kidney disease (CKD), renal transplants, hypertension, urinary tract infections, glomerulonephritis, stones, renal tubular acidosis, systemic lupus erythematosus (and other autoimmune disease) and hydronephrosis (and other prenatally diagnosed renal anomalies). Diagnostic and therapeutic services performed by the section include:

  • peritoneal dialysis
  • hemodialysis
  • continuous dialysis
  • ambulatory blood pressure monitoring
  • renal biopsy
  • renal transplantation

Our nephrologists are widely sought for their consultation services by health care professionals in the Northern California, Southern Oregon, Northern Nevada, and the Greater Sacramento area. We attribute our success to our team approach in which transplant surgeons, urologists, social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, dietitians, pharmacists and clinical nurses participate in the care of our patients.

Members of our team are recognized nationally for advances in treatment and research studies benefiting patients who have CKD and those with renal transplants. The section is also very active in providing medical education to all levels of learners (preclinical and clinical medical students, residents, faculty and nursing staff) using a variety of teaching techniques. Members of our section are also engaged in clinical trials, multi-center national research projects and quality improvement collaboratives. We are active in research related to medical education, hypertension, glomerulonephritis, hypercalciuria/stone disease, and ways to improve graft survival and quality of life of children with renal transplantation by using newer medications and treatment approaches. Recently completed and ongoing studies are looking at:

  • Effectiveness of health care providers in recognizing hypertension in high-risk populations such as children with CKD, diabetes, and obesity
  • Benefits and challenges associated with novel steroid-free immunosuppressive regimens in children after renal transplants
  • Correlation between microalbuminuria and serum inflammatory markers in adolescents of different ethnic backgrounds and of varying BMI
  • Diagnostic tests for hypercalciuria
  • Development of valid tools to measure resident performance as teachers and clinical role models
  • Clinical trials for children affected by focal segmental glomerulonephritis and electrolyte abnormalities associated with chronic kidney disease

Faculty and Staff

Lavjay Butani, M.D.

Dr. Butani, Professor of Pediatric and Chief of Pediatric Nephrology, has board certification from the American Board of Pediatrics in pediatric nephrology. He is a member of the American Society of Nephrology, and the International Pediatric Transplantation Association. His research interests are focused on improving the outcomes after kidney transplantation by optimally using newer immunosuppressive medications and regimens for children and studying the implications of calcium excretion in the urine on the risk of stones and osteoporosis in children of different ethnic backgrounds. Dr Butani is passionate about medical education and is the Director of Student Development in the Office of Medical Education.

Maha Haddad, M.D.

Dr. Haddad, Professor of Pediatrics, joined UC Davis in 2006. She trained at UT Southwestern in Dallas, Texas. She is Board Certified from the American Board of Pediatrics in Pediatric Nephrology, and a member of several professional organizations including the American Society of Nephrology, the American Society of Pediatric Nephrology, and the International Pediatric Nephrology Association. Dr Haddad is the Medical Director of Pediatric Dialysis, has established the Outpatient Pediatric Dialysis Program, and oversees inpatient pediatric dialysis including peritoneal, hemodialysis and pediatric continuous renal replacement therapy. One of her main passions is education of others including patients, families and medical students and residents.

Arundhati Kale, MD

Dr. Kale joined the nephrology team in 2017 as Professor of Pediatrics.  She serves as the Medical Director of the Pediatric kidney transplant program.  She is board certified in Pediatric Nephrology and a member of the American Society of Pediatric Nephrology and the International Pediatric Transplant Association.  She has extensive experience in the treatment of pediatric kidney disorders and actively participates in the teaching mission of the department with lectures, small group discussions both at the bedside and under formal settings for medical students, residents and ancillary staff.  Her research interest is in the field of transplantation to improve outcomes and also validate new tests in pediatric transplant patients that may decrease need for invasive procedures.

Stephanie Nguyen, M.D., M.A.S.

Dr. Nguyen, an Associate Professor of Pediatrics, joined UC Davis in 2010. Dr. Nguyen is the medical Director of Pediatric Hypertension Clinic and ambulatory blood pressure monitoring program. Dr. Nguyen is interested in pediatric hypertension and its outcomes in children at risk for cardiovascular disease. Her current research projects include investigating the role of diet and obesity on the development of kidney disease and hypertension, studying outcomes of hypertension and kidney disease in children with diabetes mellitus, and participation in multicenter research collaborations.

Olivia Johl, RN

Olivia Johl is a registered nurse with 12 years of experience working with renal transplant patients. She graduated with her BSN from CSUS in 2005 and has been working at UC Davis since 2005. She has experience working as a staff nurse on the inpatient transplant unit where she served as a preceptor to new nurses and as a charge nurse. She also worked in the outpatient transplant department as a transplant coordinator where she helped organize and coordinate the evaluation of pre-kidney transplant patients. She has been the clinical resource nurse for pediatric nephrology since 2015. She is currently an affiliate member of the American Society of Pediatric Nephrology and a member of the American Nephrology Nurses Association.  

Bertha Ramirez-Preciado, RN

Bertha Ramirez-Preciado received her nursing license in 1998. She began her work with pediatrics in 2001 at UCSF Children’s Renal Center. Her work at UC Davis Health began in 2005 in the Acute Renal Dialysis department where she served patients aged 0-99+ years in both hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. In 2016, she joined the UC Davis Pediatric Nephrology team to start the first Pediatric Peritoneal Dialysis program in the Sacramento area. Her involvement with the Pediatric PD program has granted her recognition as a Daisy Award Honoree, and Children’s Miracle Network nominee. She trains parents, caregivers and patients to safely and efficiently perform peritoneal dialysis at home. She performs a home visit to assure a safe environment, recommends corrections to prevent infections and orders supplies needed to carry out treatments at home. She is a current member of the American Nephrology Nurses Association and Children’s Hospital Association SCOPE collaborative research group.

Rodrigo Almiro, BSN, RN, CNN

Rodrigo Almirol is a Registered Nurse, who competed his Bachelors degree in nursing and recently joined the Pediatric Nephrology team (May 2019) in the Department of Pediatrics. Rodrigo is certified by the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission since 2009 and a member of CHA (Children Hospital Association) since 2019. He has a wide variety of work experience in different modalities of dialysis (PD, Hemodialysis, CRRT) in acute and chronic settings for pediatric and adult patients. He is currently working as a Peritoneal dialysis nurse for children with advanced chronic kidney disease, teaching and training children and their families on how to perform peritoneal dialysis at home and offer support to them.

Vincent Fong, L.C.S.W.

Vincent Fong is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, specializing in working with children and families. Vincent graduated with a Masters in Social Work in 2003 and received licensing as a Clinical Social Worker in 2008. He has received extensive training in areas of counseling, crisis management, child welfare, and medical social work. The social worker in the Nephrology Clinic works closely with families assisting them with a variety of services that impact their child's health. With the diagnosis of kidney disease there are a number of stressors that can and do arise. The social worker is trained to offer supportive services and referrals to help families cope during this stressful time.

Jenny Mein, R.D, CSP

Jenny Mein is a Registered Dietitian, who has over 15 years experience working as a Pediatric Dietitian. Ms Mein joined UCDMC in 2014.  She is part of the multidisciplinary nephrology team, working with families and children to improve the nutritional status of pediatric nephrology patients. She is responsible for performing nutrition assessments, developing nutrition care plans and counseling pediatric patients with a wide range of complex medical conditions in pediatric nephrology outpatient clinics. Ms. Mein is a Certified Pediatric Specialist and a member of the Renal Dietitians Practice Group and the Pediatric Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group.