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

cancer center exterior

National Cancer Institute redesignation

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has re-designated the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center “comprehensive.” The designation means the center meets stringent criteria in the areas of laboratory, clinical and population-based research; professional and public education; and in the dissemination of clinical and public advances to the communities it serves. There are only 69 NCI-designated cancer centers in the U.S., 45 of them designated “comprehensive.” UC Davis was first designated in 2002 and gained comprehensive status in 2012. It is currently the only NCI-designated center in inland Northern California.

Ralph de Vere White

Longtime cancer center director de Vere White steps down

Ralph de Vere White, a beloved urologist and acclaimed researcher who led the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center to designation by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), stepped down as its long-time director on June 29. A distinguished professor of urology who was cancer center director for 20 years, de Vere White will continue to serve in a research capacity part-time. During his tenure, cancer center research funding grew from $31 million in 2000 to more than $102 million in 2016. Primo “Lucky” Lara, a medical oncologist who has been on the faculty at UC Davis since 1999, will serve as interim director during a national search for a permanent replacement.

Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola and team

California Health Care Foundation board

The California Health Care Foundation has elected Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, founding director of the UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities, to its board of directors. A renowned expert on health disparities and behavioral health in ethnically diverse populations, Aguilar-Gaxiola has focused much of his career on developing innovative solutions to improve access to culturally and linguistically proficient mental health services in underserved communities.

class speaker Janeine Tiu

“Always remember your spark”

“Always remember your spark, your why. Remember to be present and enjoy each moment of your lives in and out of medicine. And remember to give thanks!” class speaker Janeine Tiu said in her remarks at the UC Davis School of Medicine commencement in May. Tiu, a member of the Omega Alpha medical honor society, was also tapped by classmates for the Gold Humanism Honor Society recognizing exemplars of humanistic care. She matched to an obstetrics and gynecology residency at UCLA. “I know how I feel at the present moment,” Tiu told classmates, “and I believe I can speak for my class about how UC Davis has made us feel the past four years: supported, capable – and today, accomplished. Let us not forget this day and the privilege and honor it is to be physicians.”

AAP quality improvement committee

Ulfat Shaikh

Ulfat Shaikh, a professor of pediatrics and director of health care quality at UC Davis School of Medicine, will serve on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Quality Improvement Innovation Networks (QuIIN) Steering Committee. The group was established in 2005 to improve care and outcomes for children and families by testing practical tools, measures and strategies for everyday pediatric practice.

Highest honor from sports academy

Bennet Omalu

Bennet Omalu, a pathologist whose discoveries have led to greater understanding of concussions in sports and better protection against head injury, has been selected for the U.S. Sports Academy’s highest award in sports medicine, the Dr. Ernst Jokl Sports Medicine Award. Omalu is an associate clinical professor of pathology at UC Davis and chief medical examiner of San Joaquin County, Calif.

APA prestigious educator award

Robert Hales

Robert Hales, distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, has received the 2016 Vestermark Award from the American Psychiatric Association for excellence, leadership and creativity in psychiatry education. The honor is one of the most prestigious education awards in the field.

Megan Y. Dennis

Sloan Research Fellow in Neuroscience

Megan Y. Dennis, an early-career UC Davis scientist, has been named a 2016 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in Neuroscience. Dennis, an assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular medicine, uses genomic and genetic techniques to explore the underlying causes of neurological disorders such as autism and intellectual disability.

Ng director of UC Davis Stroke Center

Kwan L. Ng

Kwan L. Ng, an assistant neurology professor and director of vascular neurology at UC Davis Health System, has been named director of the UC Davis Stroke Center. The medical center is certified as an advanced primary stroke center by The Joint Commission and recently received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association 2016 Get With The Guidelines®–Stroke Gold-Plus Quality Achievement Award for consistently adhering to association-backed quality measures. Besides neurology, Ng has additional subspecialty training in physical medicine and rehabilitation.

Among America’s best children’s hospitals

U.S. News and World Report op children’s hospital designation

U.S. News and World Report ranked UC Davis Children’s Hospital among the nation’s top children’s hospitals in five specialties in rankings released in June. Together with Shriners Hospital for Children – Northern California, its longstanding partner in caring for children with burns, spinal cord injuries, urological issues and orthopaedic disorders, UC Davis tied for 32nd in urology and ranked 38th in orthopaedics. UC Davis also tied for 19th in neonatology and 29th in diabetes and endocrinology and ranked 43rd in nephrology.

Carnegie fellowship for Uganda work

Gerald Kayingo

Gerald Kayingo, an assistant clinical professor and director of the physician assistant program at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, was awarded a fellowship by the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program. Kayingo will travel to Uganda to help develop an interprofessional blended learning module on respiratory medicine and to help build care capacity.

New chief operating officer

Brad Simmons

Brad Simmons has been appointed chief operating officer of UC Davis Medical Center after a national search. Simmons was previously COO at Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City, part of Saint Luke’s Health System and a 611-bed, nationally recognized tertiary, teaching and research hospital. At UC Davis, Simmons will be responsible for integrating UC Davis Health System’s strategic goals into efficient day-to-day operations at the medical center and its outpatient offices.

‘A’ Grade in Patient Safety

Leapfrog Group patient safety 'A' ranking

The Leapfrog Group, an independent hospital watchdog that includes some of the country’s largest employers and health care purchasers, awarded UC Davis Medical Center a sixth consecutive “A” on its spring 2016 Hospital Safety Score.

One of 100 Great Hospitals in America

Becker’s Hospital Review 100 Great Hospitals in America designation

For its “strong foundation of high-quality care, stellar credentials and a focus on doing what is right for the patients in its community,” UC Davis Medical Center has been named one of the 100 Great Hospitals in America by Becker’s Hospital Review for a second consecutive year.

New quality certification for cancer center

The UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Division of Hematology/Oncology has been recognized by the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI) Certification Program for meeting the nation’s highest quality standards for care. The division is the only Northern California QOPI-certified practice also affiliated with an NCI-designated cancer center, and one of 15 QOPI-certified practices in California. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) launched the first-of-its-kind quality assessment program in 2006 to promote excellence in cancer care.