Kawatu to lead pediatric gastroenterology at UC Davis ...
NEWS | July 10, 2012

Kawatu to lead pediatric gastroenterology at UC Davis Children's Hospital


David Kawatu, a specialist in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders in children, has joined the faculty of the UC Davis School of Medicine as chief of the Section of Pediatric Gastroenterology in the Department of Pediatrics.

David Kawatu David Kawatu

Kawatu comes to UC Davis from Hasbro Children's Hospital/Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he was associate director of pediatric gastroenterology since 2010 and held positions in pediatric gastroenterology since 2000. He also was the director of the pediatric gastroenterology fellowship training program at Brown University.

Kawatu said that he looks forward to providing the highest level of care to these often complex patients at UC Davis Children's Hospital and in the pediatric gastroenterology specialty clinic.

"My top priority is to establish a pediatric gastroenterology section that effectively serves its community and contributes fully to the mission of the Department of Pediatrics, the health system and the medical school, including its education and research missions," Kawatu said.

Kawatu is a specialist in treating a wide range of gastrointestinal conditions including abdominal pain, gastrointestinal reflux disease, Crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis and celiac disease. He also specializes in rehabilitating children who are malnourished and treating children who require gastrointestinal feeding tubes and intravenous nutrition.

"We are absolutely delighted to have recruited Dr. Kawatu to lead our pediatric gastroenterology program," said Anthony Philipps, chair of the Department of Pediatrics and medical director of the children's hospital. "Dr. Kawatu is a gifted pediatric gastroenterologist in this rare specialty and will add enormously to our clinical and teaching programs."

Kawatu said that he treats a wide variety of patients, from those with milder complaints to children with advanced and highly complex conditions. He said he relies on collaboration across specialties and with referring physicians to provide the highest level of care.

"You cannot treat patients in a vacuum," Kawatu said. "All of us -- the physicians, nurses, dieticians and other care providers -- all are in it together to care for children," he said. "As a specialist, when treating a child I have two clients, the patient and the primary-care physician who referred the child to my care."

"Patients don't care how much you know until they know how much you care," he added. 

Kawatu completed his undergraduate and medical training at the University of Zambia School of Medicine in Lusaka, Zambia. He completed a master's degree in community health and epidemiology at Queen's University, Ontario, Canada, where he also interned. Kawatu completed his residency at the State University of New York Health Science Center and a fellowship in pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition at the Brown Alpert School of Medicine and Rhode Island Hospital.

Kawatu is a member of the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition; the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy; the American Academy of Pediatrics; and the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. He is the author of numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Joining Kawatu in the Section of Pediatric Gastroenterology will be Johann Peterson, who recently completed a fellowship in pediatric gastroenterology at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University. Peterson received his medical degree at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Also joining the pediatric gastroenterology service will be Allison Wong, who completed her residency at UC Davis and a fellowship at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.

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 children.ucdavis.edu.