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UC Davis School of Medicine

UC Davis School of Medicine

NEWS | October 26, 2011

Renowned fetal and neonatal surgeon chosen to lead UC Davis Department of Surgery

Editor's note:

Click here to download a high-resolution photograph of Dr. Diana L. Farmer.


Diana L. Farmer, an internationally renowned fetal and neonatal surgeon, has been named chair of the Department of Surgery at UC Davis Health System.

Farmer is known for her skilled surgical treatment of congenital anomalies and for her expertise in cancer, airway and intestinal surgeries in newborns. She is principal investigator of several National Institutes of Health clinical trials on the effectiveness and safety of spina bifida treatments before birth, and she is researching a novel stem cell therapy for repairing damaged neural tissue in spina bifida patients.

"Dr. Farmer is a worldwide innovator in treating complex birth defects and diseases in very young children," said Claire Pomeroy, vice chancellor for human health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine at UC Davis. "Her technical insights, expert leadership and dedication to patients will assure that our surgical team continues to offer compassionate care together with the latest technologies."

Dr. Farmer © UC Regents
Dr. Diana L. Farmer

Farmer comes to UC Davis from UC San Francisco, where she was chief of pediatric surgery, vice chair of surgery, surgeon-in-chief of the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital and a professor of surgery, pediatrics, and obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences. A recognized leader in pediatric surgery, Farmer has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed research articles, including studies of neuroblastoma, Chiari II malformation, twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, fetal trauma and necrotizing enterocolitis.

"I look forward to joining a team known for its exceptional outcomes, extensive expertise and patient-focused approach to surgical treatments for patients of all ages," Farmer said. "We will continue to expand our research program to ensure that it encompasses the newest advances across all of our surgical specialties and to create more opportunities to integrate stem cell treatments into our protocols."

After receiving a bachelor's degree in marine and molecular biology at Wellesley College, Farmer completed her medical degree and internship at the University of Washington in Seattle. She completed her general surgery residency training at UC San Francisco and pediatric surgical training at Children's Hospital of Michigan.

In 2010, Farmer was inducted as a fellow into the Royal College of Surgeons of England, becoming only the second woman surgeon from the United States to receive this prestigious honor. In 2011, she was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, one of the highest honors in medicine.

Farmer consistently has been recognized for her teaching and service by UC San Francisco, including the 2008 Family House Volunteer of the Year Award, 2009 Golden-Headed Cane Award (the highest faculty teaching award), 2001 and 2002 Outstanding Women Faculty Chancellor's Recognition Award, 2002 and 2008 Department of Surgery Excellence in Teaching Award and 2011 Holly Smith Award for Exceptional Service. She is included in the 2010 edition of Who's Who Among American Women and the 2011 edition of Best Doctors in America. She has appeared on the Lifetime television network and the "Oprah Winfrey Show" to discuss surgical innovations.

At UC Davis, Farmer will oversee more than 250 faculty, volunteer clinical faculty, post-doctoral fellows, residents, students and staff who provide highly skilled, specialty services in bariatric, burn, cardiothoracic, gastrointestinal, plastic and reconstructive, oncology, transplant, trauma and vascular surgery. She replaces James E. Goodnight Jr., who was promoted to associate dean for clinical affairs and director of the Practice Management Board at UC Davis Health System.

Farmer's base salary will be $238,600 a year. Additional compensation information is available upon request.

UC Davis Health System is advancing the health of patients everywhere by providing excellent patient care, conducting groundbreaking research, fostering innovative, interprofessional education and creating dynamic, productive partnerships with the community. The academic health system includes one of the country's best medical schools, a 645-bed acute-care teaching hospital, an 800-member physician's practice group and the new Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. It is home to a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, an international neurodevelopmental institute, a stem cell institute and a comprehensive children's hospital. Other nationally prominent centers focus on advancing telemedicine, improving vascular care, eliminating health disparities and translating research findings into new treatments for patients. Together, they make UC Davis a hub of innovation that is transforming health for all. For more information, visit the health system's website.