NEWS | January 22, 2019

School of Medicine grad to become California Surgeon General


A UC Davis School of Medicine graduate and nationally recognized expert on childhood trauma has been selected by California Gov. Gavin Newsom to be the state’s first-ever surgeon general.

Nadine Burke Harris Nadine Burke Harris

Nadine Burke Harris, a pediatrician and founder of the Center for Youth Wellness – a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization that raises awareness about toxic stress and screens children for signs of adverse childhood experiences – is scheduled to take office Feb. 11.

After leaving medical school in 2001, Burke Harris earned a master of public health from Harvard University and trained as a pediatrics resident at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University. She is the recipient of the 2018 UC Davis School of Medicine Transformational Leadership Award.

Burke Harris has written numerous publications on the effects of adverse childhood experiences including a landmark book called, “The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity.” A TED Talk she presented on “How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime” is approaching 5 million views.

Her appointment signals that Gov. Newsom, the father of four small children, will make children’s health a priority.

“Governor Newsom’s vision to address healthcare from a preventive, rather than reactive, frame reflects a keen appreciation of the latest science as well as a deep commitment to the health of California children and families,” Burke Harris said in a news release issued by the Center for Youth Wellness. “I am honored to serve in this capacity and will work hard to support the health of all Californians.”

Burke Harris was featured on the cover of UC Davis Magazine in the Spring/Summer 2018 edition under the headline, “The Children’s Wellness Advocate.”