Veronica Ahumada-Newhart, M.A., Ph.D. for UC Davis Health

Veronica Ahumada-Newhart, M.A., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics

Veronica Ahumada-Newhart is not currently accepting new patients. For assistance finding a UC Davis doctor, please call 800-2-UCDAVIS (800-282-3284).



Health Informatics

Human Development



Locations and Contact

Education Building

Center for Health Technology
4610 X Street
Sacramento, CA 95817

Get Directions

Phone: 916-734-5675

Additional Numbers

Clinic Phone


Philosophy of Care

I am interested in partnering with families whose children are restricted to home or hospital environments due to risk of illness or health concerns. My goal is to always conduct thoughtful, child-centered research that empowers families, communities, and healthcare teams to advocate for improved technologies and social practices that contribute to positive health, developmental, and behavioral outcomes.

Clinical Interests

Dr. Ahumada’s research is focused broadly on the role of interactive technologies in human development and behavior in individuals with medical conditions or disabilities. Dr. Ahumada’s current research is focused on the use of tele-operated and social robots for social connectedness, inclusion, and safety. She serves as principal investigator of a $1 million dollar National Science Foundation (NSF) National Robotics Initiative grant, to create better telerobots for children who are restricted to their homes due to medical conditions or disabilities. Ahumada is  also co-PI on a $1.2 million dollar University of California, Multicampus Research Projects and Initiatives grant to create telemanipulation robots for healthcare worker safety and social inclusion of individuals with medical conditions.

Research/Academic Interests

Ahumada's research encompasses strong interdisciplinary efforts between medicine, health informatics, computer science, robotics, and learning sciences. Her research interests include tele- & social robots, social connectedness, health equity, robot-mediated child development and behavior, inclusion, and emerging interactive technologies that facilitate improved health outcomes.


Child Development and Behavior

Center/Program Affiliation

UC Davis Children's Hospital
Center for Health and Technology

Other School

M.Ed., Learning, Design, and Technology, University of Georgia, Athens GA 2004

Other School

Ph.D., English Language and Literature, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda CA 1993

Other School

Ph.D., Education/Informatics: Human Development in Context, UC Irvine, Irvine CA 2018


Informatics Postdoctoral Fellowship, UC Irvine School of Medicine, Irvine CA 2018-2021

Expanding Diversity and Gender Equity (EDGE) in Tech, Early Career Athena Award, University of California, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute, 2022

American Pediatric Society, Society for Pediatric Research, Journeys & Frontiers In Pediatric Research, Early Career Investigator, 2021

Ahumada V, Riek L. Telerobots for informal learning in schools. ACM/IEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, Workshop on Robots4Learning. 2021 March. 4fd0v8gv doi:10.5281/zenodo.5214124.

Ahumada V, Hernandez JM, Badillo-Urquiola K. A call for action: Conceptualizing assets-based inclusive design as a social movement to address systemic inequities. An assets-based inclusive design framework. CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Extended Abstracts (CHI ’21 Extended Abstracts), Yokohama, Japan. 2021 May 08–13.

Wolff F, Ahumada-Newhart V, Eccles J, Moeller J. Telepresence robots outperform traditional videoconferences in higher education: A longitudinal study. American Educational Research Association (AERA). 2021.

Ahumada V, Eccles J. A Theoretical and Qualitative Approach to Evaluating Children’s Robot-Mediated Levels of Presence. Technology, Mind, and Behavior. 2020 Jun 30;1(1). doi:10.1037/tmb0000007.

Ahumada-Newhart V, Olson JS. Going to School on a Robot: Robot and User Interface Design Features That Matter. ACM Trans Comput Hum Interact. 2019 Jul;26(4):25. doi:10.1145/3325210. PMID:31692962.

Reich S, Ochoa W, Gaona A, Salcedo Y, Espino G, Ahumada-Newhart V, Lin J, Diaz G. Disparities in Caregivers’ Experiences at the Dentist with their Young Child. Academic Pediatrics. 2019. doi:10.1016/j.acap.2019.03.006.

Ahumada-Newhart V, Olson JS. My student is a robot: How schools manage telepresence experiences for students. CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. 2017:342–347. doi:10.1145/3025453.3025809.

Ahumada-Newhart V, Warschauer M. How robots could help chronically ill kids attend school. The Conversation. 2017.

Ahumada-Newhart V, Warschauer M, Sender LS. Virtual inclusion via telepresence robots in the classroom: An exploratory case study. International Journal of Learning Technologies. 2016;23(4):9-25.

Warschauer M, Ahumada-Newhart V. Broadening our concepts of universal access. Universal Access in the Information Society. 2015;15(2):183-188. doi:10.1007/s10209-015-0417-0.