What made you choose UC Davis?
I decided to join UC Davis for several reasons. UC Davis is great academic institution that values diversity and fuels interdisciplinary research. My joint appointment in biostatistics and in-surgery residence, provides me with a unique opportunity to advance my research in surgical outcomes, health services research as well as biostatistics. I have the opportunity to mentor students and teach. Aside from the numerous professional and academic strengths that UC Davis represents, the city itself is a caring and nurturing community to raise a family.
What inspires you?
My children, students, and the hope that my research will translate into improving the outcomes and life trajectory of patients overall. Through research and by emphasizing evidence to lead best practices in surgery, I hope to improve outcomes and survival of patients with challenging conditions such as brain tumors, trauma, in both adult and pediatric populations. By identifying disparities in access to surgical care, I hope to improve outcomes in underserved populations.
What research are you currently working on? What makes it unique?
Head trauma is the leading cause of death in abused children, particularly under the age of two. Among children that survive abusive head trauma injury, approximately 80 percent suffer lifelong disabilities. My research aims to evaluate the impact of abusive head trauma in children and young adults, both short-term and long-term. Very little is known about the disabilities and challenges that these children face long after their injuries. Some of our preliminary findings suggest that disparities in access to specialized long-term care may be partially responsible for the poor long-term outcomes observed among patients with Medicaid coverage compared to those privately insured.
My research is unique in that it involves a comprehensive and interdisciplinary team of researchers (surgeons, child abuse specialist, epidemiologists and statisticians), all focused on discerning critical aspects of abusive head trauma that may be used to improve the outcomes of the patients. Furthermore, we hope that our research may be able to shed some light into possible interventions/programs that may be established to prevent the occurrence of these injuries.
If you could impart one piece of advice to our undergraduates seeking a course of study/career path, what would it be?
Learn biostatistics, get involve in research early on, and surround yourself by many supportive mentors that will guide you throughout your academic and professional career.
When not in the classroom or conducting research, what do you like to do?
Spend time with children, explore new parks, new hiking places and new kid-friendly restaurants.
Have you found your favorite spot on campus yet?
I love my office and visiting horses and cows on campus with my kids.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
The power to prevent all cases of abuse and maltreatment in children and young adults around the world.