Craig M. McDonald, M.D.

Chair, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

To see if Craig M. McDonald is accepting new patients, or for assistance finding a UC Davis doctor, please call 800-2-UCDAVIS (800-282-3284).



Neuromuscular Medicine

Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine

Locations and Contact

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

4860 Y St.
Sacramento, CA 95817

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Additional Numbers

Physician Referrals

800-UCD-4-KIDS (800-823-4543)

Philosophy of Care

Dr. McDonald believes in team-based multidisciplinary care for patients with complex health challenges due to neuromuscular diseases. He describes his mission as providing collaborative, coordinated care while pursuing the discovery of innovative therapeutics to improve health, function, and quality of life. His overall long-term vision is to provide hope for a healthier, more functional individual through compassionate care and bold innovation.

Clinical Interests

Dr. McDonald is a pediatric physical medicine & rehabilitation physician who is board-certified in neuromuscular medicine and pediatric rehabilitation medicine. He is an internationally recognized expert in clinical management, rehabilitation, and precision therapeutics for children and adults with neuromuscular diseases. He has an internationally known reputation for the treatment and evaluation of children and young adults with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular diseases.

Research/Academic Interests

Dr. McDonald’s research has focused on the development of novel therapeutics for neuromuscular diseases. He conducts clinical trials and natural history studies in muscular dystrophies using novel outcome measures developed specifically for clinical trials. His work has contributed to the development of precision-based therapeutics for Duchenne muscular dystrophy and the first two approved therapies targeting the dystrophin gene abnormalities that cause Duchenne muscular dystrophy.


Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Pediatric Orthopaedics

Center/Program Affiliation

UC Davis Children's Hospital
Center for Neuroscience

Undergraduate School

A.B., Human Biology, Stanford University, Stanford CA 1982

Medical School

M.D., University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle WA 1987

Other School

M.S., Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington Graduate School, Seattle WA1991


Pediatric Rehabilitation, University of Washington, Seattle WA 1989-1992


Pediatrics, UCLA, Los Angeles CA 1987-1989


Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Washington, Seattle WA 1989-1991


Pediatric Rehabilitation, University of Washington, Seattle WA 1991-1992

Annual "Top Doctors in Sacramento" List by Sacramento Magazine (2011-2021), 2021

Carrell-Krusen Award, 42nd Annual Carrell-Krusen Neuromuscular Conference, 2020

Distinguished Researcher Award, American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine, 2019

Carolyn Braddom Ritzler Research Award, Association of Academic Physiatrists, 2019

McDonald CM, Gordish-Dressman H, Henricson EK, Duong T, Joyce NC, Jhawar S, Leinonen M, Hsu F, Connolly AM, Cnaan A, Abresch RT; CINRG investigators for PubMed. Longitudinal pulmonary function testing outcome measures in Duchenne muscular dystrophy: Long-term natural history with and without glucocorticoids. Neuromuscul Disord. 2018 Nov;28(11):897-909. doi:10.1016/j.nmd.2018.07.004. Epub 2018 Aug 29. PMID:30336970.

Conklin LS, Damsker JM, Hoffman EP, Jusko WJ, Mavroudis PD, Schwartz BD, Mengle-Gaw LJ, Smith EC, Mah JK, Guglieri M, Nevo Y, Kuntz N, McDonald CM, Tulinius M, Ryan MM, Webster R, Castro D, Finkel RS, Smith AL, Morgenroth LP, Arrieta A, Shimony M, Jaros M, Shale P, McCall JM, Hathout Y, Nagaraju K, van den Anker J, Ward LM, Ahmet A, Cornish MR, Clemens PR. Phase IIa trial in Duchenne muscular dystrophy shows vamorolone is a first-in-class dissociative steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Pharmacol Res. 2018 Oct;136:140-150. doi:10.1016/j.phrs.2018.09.007. Epub 2018 Sep 13. PMID:30219580.

McDonald CM, Wong B, Flanigan KM, Wilson R, de Kimpe S, Lourbakos A, Lin Z, Campion G; DEMAND V study group. Placebo-controlled Phase 2 Trial of Drisapersen for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2018 Jul 11;5(8):913-926. doi:10.1002/acn3.579. PMID:30128316.

Bartlett A, Kolb SJ, Kingsley A, Swoboda KJ, Reyna SP, Sakonju A, Darras BT, Shell R, Kuntz N, Castro D, Iannaccone ST, Parsons J, Connolly AM, Chiriboga CA, McDonald C, Burnette WB, Werner K, Thangarajh M, Shieh PB, Finanger E, Coffey CS, Yankey JW, Cudkowicz ME, McGovern MM, McNeil DE, Arnold WD, Kissel JT; NeuroNEXT Clinical Trial Network and on behalf of the NN101 SMA Biomarker Investigators. Recruitment & retention program for the NeuroNEXT SMA Biomarker Study: Super Babies for SMA! Contemp Clin Trials Commun. 2018 Jul 20;11:113-119. doi:10.1016/j.conctc.2018.07.002. Erratum in: Contemp Clin Trials Commun. 2020 Dec 10;20:100688. PMID:30094386.

Shieh PB, Mcintosh J, Jin F, Souza M, Elfring G, Narayanan S, Trifillis P, Peltz SW, Mcdonald CM, Darras BT; THE ACT DMD STUDY GROUP. Deflazacort versus prednisone/prednisolone for maintaining motor function and delaying loss of ambulation: A post HOC analysis from the ACT DMD trial. Muscle Nerve. 2018 Nov;58(5):639-645. doi:10.1002/mus.26191. Epub 2018 Sep 27. PMID:30028519.

McDonald CM, Henricson EK, Abresch RT, Duong T, Joyce NC, Hu F, Clemens PR, Hoffman EP, Cnaan A, Gordish-Dressman H; CINRG Investigators. Long-term effects of glucocorticoids on function, quality of life, and survival in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy: a prospective cohort study. Lancet. 2018 Feb 3;391(10119):451-461. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32160-8. Epub 2017 Nov 22. PMID:29174484.

Goemans N, Mercuri E, Belousova E, Komaki H, Dubrovsky A, McDonald CM, Kraus JE, Lourbakos A, Lin Z, Campion G, Wang SX, Campbell C; DEMAND III study group. A randomized placebo-controlled phase 3 trial of an antisense oligonucleotide, drisapersen, in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Neuromuscul Disord. 2018 Jan;28(1):4-15. doi:10.1016/j.nmd.2017.10.004. Epub 2017 Dec 6. PMID:29203355.

Kolb SJ, Coffey CS, Yankey JW, Krosschell K, Arnold WD, Rutkove SB, Swoboda KJ, Reyna SP, Sakonju A, Darras BT, Shell R, Kuntz N, Castro D, Parsons J, Connolly AM, Chiriboga CA, McDonald C, Burnette WB, Werner K, Thangarajh M, Shieh PB, Finanger E, Cudkowicz ME, McGovern MM, McNeil DE, Finkel R, Iannaccone ST, Kaye E, Kingsley A, Renusch SR, McGovern VL, Wang X, Zaworski PG, Prior TW, Burghes AHM, Bartlett A, Kissel JT; NeuroNEXT Clinical Trial Network on behalf of the NN101 SMA Biomarker Investigators. Natural history of infantile-onset spinal muscular atrophy. Ann Neurol. 2017 Dec;82(6):883-891. doi:10.1002/ana.25101. Epub 2017 Dec 8. PMID:29149772.

McDonald CM, Campbell C, Torricelli RE, Finkel RS, Flanigan KM, Goemans N, Heydemann P, Kaminska A, Kirschner J, Muntoni F, Osorio AN, Schara U, Sejersen T, Shieh PB, Sweeney HL, Topaloglu H, Tulinius M, Vilchez JJ, Voit T, Wong B, Elfring G, Kroger H, Luo X, McIntosh J, Ong T, Riebling P, Souza M, Spiegel RJ, Peltz SW, Mercuri E; Clinical Evaluator Training Group; ACT DMD Study Group. Ataluren in patients with nonsense mutation Duchenne muscular dystrophy (ACT DMD): a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial. Lancet. 2017 Sep 23;390(10101):1489-1498. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(17)31611-2. Epub 2017 Jul 17. PMID:28728956.

To view more of Dr. McDonald's publications, please visit his PubMed link here.