A sampling of recent major achievements and developments from UC Davis Health System. For more listings and news, please visit our website.

Leaffrog Hospital

A Leapfrog Top Urban Hospital

For the fourth consecutive year UC Davis Medical Center has been named to Leapfrog’s annual list of Top Hospitals, widely acknowledged as one of the most competitive awards a U.S. hospital can receive. The recognition is given to a subset of hospitals participating in the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, which measures patient safety and quality performance with a focus on outcomes, resource use and management structures established to prevent errors. Top Hospitals also must have earned “A” grades on Leapfrog’s Hospital Safety Score, which rates hospitals twice a year based on expert analysis of infections, injuries and medical errors.

Medical Technology Expert Panel

Medical technology expert panel

Physician and health policy expert Joy Melnikow has been appointed to the panel of the California Technology Assessment Forum of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, a nonprofit that helps patients, clinicians, insurers and policymakers interpret and use evidence to improve the quality and value of health care. Melnikow is director of the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research and leads a postdoctoral training program on quality, safety and comparative-effectiveness research.

American Academy of Neurology Recognition

American Academy of Neurology recognition

Kyle Fink (center, back), a postdoctoral fellow at the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures, was recognized by the American Academy of Neurology for leading-edge research findings in gene editing presented at a 2015 annual meeting. Neurology Today featured Fink and his colleagues for their gene-editing technique that resulted in a significant reduction in the aggregated mutant huntingtin protein, which has been implicated in Huntington’s disease.

Third-year medical student Lucy Ogbu-Nwobodo

Nickens Scholarship for medical student

Third-year medical student Lucy Ogbu-Nwobodo has been awarded a Herbert W. Nickens Medical Student Scholarship by the Association of American Medical Colleges. The award recognizes exemplary students whose work and dedication helps address inequities in medical education and health care. Ogbu-Nwobodo has served as co-director of a student-run community clinic and co-president of the Student National Medical Association.

omen recognize UC Davis for bariatric surgery, cancer care and heart care

Women recognize UC Davis for bariatric surgery, cancer care and heart care

UC Davis Medical Center earned the 2016 Women’s Choice Award as one of America’s top hospitals for bariatric surgery, cancer and heart care. The program recognizes institutions based on criteria that consider female perspectives on satisfaction, clinical excellence and hospital preferences. The three designations in which UC Davis is recognized also represent hospitals that meet American College of Surgeons and American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery standards; are National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers; and perform well on heart care clinical measures and recommendation rates.

World Stem Cell Summit speakers

World Stem Cell Summit speakers

Jan Nolta and Paul Knoepfler, both UC Davis Health System scientists, were among the featured panelist speakers at December’s World Stem Cell Summit and regenerative medicine conference. Nolta directs the UC Davis Stem Cell Program and the university’s Institute for Regenerative Cures. Knoepfler is an associate professor of cell biology and human anatomy and past winner of the National Advocacy Award as the country’s top stem cell advocate.

SWOG Lung Committee Chair

SWOG Lung Committee chair

Karen Kelly, associate director for clinical research at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been named Chair of the Lung Committee of SWOG, one of the nation’s leading cooperative cancer research organizations. A lung cancer specialist, Dr. Kelly will oversee the design and implementation of multi-disciplinary clinical trials of new lung cancer treatments, including targeted therapies, immunotherapy and cancer biomarkers involving thousands of patients nationwide.

Bennett Omalu giving a presentation

A star-studded Grand Rounds

Discover who you are, use yourself to build up other people, and you’ll become whatever you want in life,” UC Davis associate clinical professor and neuropathologist Bennet Omalu told medical students and guests at a Feb. 1 grand rounds presentation hosted by the UC Davis Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Omalu spoke about his challenges, successes and Hollywood moments while making Concussion, the 2015 film that depicts his life and his work in bringing attention to chronic traumatic brain injury. The dedication of star Will Smith was particularly impressive, Omalu said, noting the actor “spent a lot of time with my family so that he could transform himself into my life” and closely studied autopsies to help portray them accurately.

Watch video of UC Davis Public Forum: Concussion and TBI through the Lifespan here.



Samuel T. Hwang, a dermatologist with extensive experience as a physician-scientist investigating immunological diseases of the skin, has been named Chair of the UC Davis Department of Dermatology. Hwang currently serves on the board of the Society for Investigative Dermatology and will now lead one of the nation’s largest dermatology departments.



Richard L. Applegate II, a thought leader with comprehensive clinical experience and academic excellence in general anesthesiology and cardio-thoracic anesthesiology, has been named professor and Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine. His research interests include cardiovascular physiology, control of circulation, and physiological monitoring in high-risk clinical situations to prevent complications.

School of Nursing Launches New Accelerated Graduate Nursing Program

Applications opened in December for a new degree program at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis that prepares new nurses for emerging fields in health care. The Master's Entry Program in Nursing is an 18-month, accelerated-degree program that offers the quickest route to registered nursing licensure for adults who already completed an undergraduate degree in another discipline as well as prerequisite courses.

National Scholarships for Physician Assistant Students

Ruth Legesse and Nicole Klopovic, both second-year physician assistant students at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, were among just 18 students nationwide to earn this year’s Physician Assistant Foundation scholarships. The awards recognize student members of the American Academy of Physician Assistants for excellence in under-standing the physician assistant role, future professional goals and relevant volunteer activities.

Breslau Award for Burn Surgery Chief

Breslau Award for Burn Surgery Chief

The Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors has honored David Greenhalgh, professor and chief of burn surgery at UC Davis Medical Center, with its Breslau Award. The award is the society’s highest distinction, and recognizes members who have helped the organization fulfill its mission of peer support, education, research and advocacy to help burn survivors, their loved ones, health professionals and firefighters.

Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality

Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equity

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organization, has again named UC Davis Medical Center a “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality” in its annual Healthcare Equality Index report. This is the fifth consecutive year the medical center has been recognized for its role in advancing LGBT equity in the health care environment. The foundation’s index is a national benchmarking tool that evaluates more than 1,500 health care facilities’ policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of their LGBT patients, visitors and employees.