NEWS | February 7, 2012

Two UC Davis pediatricians lauded for contributions to child health


Two UC Davis pediatricians have received the 2012 Eli Gold Faculty Achievement Prize for their contributions to UC Davis Children's Hospital and the Department of Pediatrics.

Assistant Professor Mark Underwood, a neonatologist, and Associate Professor Ulfat Shaikh, a general pediatrician, share the honor. It is the first time that two recipients have been chosen for the annual award, which is named for the department's former chair.

Mark Underwood © UC Regents
Mark Underwood

The award acknowledges UC Davis Department of Pediatrics faculty members who, by way of their contributions to the department, children's hospital and School of Medicine, have achieved prominence in clinical, teaching, research or community service. The recipients' qualifications are judged by their innovativeness, impact on child health and impact on UC Davis Children's Hospital or the broader community.

"These two faculty members are wonderful examples of pediatric academicians who are enhancing the futures of our children and educating the clinicians of tomorrow," said Department of Pediatrics Chair Anthony Philipps. "They truly are credits to the entire institution."

Underwood's research interests include necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), development of intestinal innate immunity, and mechanisms of probiotics and prebiotics in pre-term infants. His research includes clinical trials of probiotics and prebiotics in premature infants and assessment of Paneth cell antimicrobial expression in infants with necrotizing enterocolitis, a deadly disease of premature infants.

Shaikh is the director of healthcare quality integration at the University of California, Davis Schools of Health. Her professional activities center on the design, implementation and evaluation of health-care quality improvement initiatives. Her recent projects have focused on pediatric nutrition, obesity, asthma, preventable readmission and patient satisfaction. She has expertise in the area of health information technology applications, performance metrics and clinical work-force and organizational development in quality improvement.

Mark Underwood © UC Regents
Ulfat Shaikh

Award recipients each receive $3,500 to support their professional advancement, a plaque and the opportunity to present a pediatrics grand rounds lecture. Eli Gold served as chair of the pediatrics department from 1974-80. Sacramento pediatrician Michael Sugawara, a volunteer clinical faculty member, established the endowment for the Gold award.

Prior award winners include Associate Professor of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Stephanie Mateev, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Elizabeth Miller, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Nephrology Keith Lau and Professor of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine James Marcin.

UC Davis Children's Hospital is the Sacramento region's only nationally ranked, comprehensive hospital for children, serving infants, children, adolescents and young adults with primary, subspecialty and critical care. It includes the Central Valley's only pediatric emergency department and level I pediatric trauma center, which offers the highest level of care for critically ill children. The 129-bed children's hospital includes the state-of-the-art 49-bed neonatal and 24-bed pediatric intensive care and pediatric cardiac intensive care units. With more than 120 physicians in 33 subspecialties, UC Davis Children's Hospital has more than 74,000 clinic and hospital visits and 13,000 emergency department visits each year. For more information, visit