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​​​​September/October 2015 E-Newsletter


Message from the Chair

Gabriel G. Haddad, MD

Dear Department Members,
Recognizing that progress and innovations in the field of Genomics are critically important, we are very excited with the announcement of Stephen Kingsmore, MD, DSc as President and CEO of the Rady Pediatric Genomics and Systems Medicine Institute beginning September 28.

Dr. Kingsmore comes to us from Missouri where he most recently served as the Executive Director of Medical Panomics at Children's Mercy Kansas City. He was the Founding Director of the Center for Pediatric Genomic Medicine at Children's Mercy and a Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Missouri. Among his pioneering achievements, Dr. Kingsmore developed the 50 hour genome, a process by which doctors are able to decode and interpret a newborn baby's genome in just two days. The genetic test, named one of the top 10 medical breakthroughs of 2012 by Time Magazine, rapidly screens the DNA of babies for about 4,500 diseases known to be linked to single-gene mutations. Dr. Kingsmore and his team also designed a software system for neonatologists to look for disease in specific regions of the genome based on the newborn's symptoms and then guide physicians to where/how they should interpret results. These important advances toward rapid genetic sequencing for newborns promise to one day replace the traditional newborn screening blood test.

Dr. Kingsmore is looking forward to partnering with UC San Diego faculty and researchers to advance the medical care for children in San Diego as well as nationally and internationally. Be sure to welcome Dr. Kingsmore when you meet him around the RCHSD campus soon!

Looking ahead,
Gabriel G. Haddad, MD
Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and Neurosciences
Chairman, Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego
Physician-in-Chief, Rady Children's Hospital - San Diego

Welcome to our New Physicians!


Please welcome our new faculty and MSP physicians who started with the Department of Pediatrics on September 1, 2015

New Physicians

Pediatric Vice Chairs...


Announcing the new Vice Chairs: 

  • Executive Vice Chair - Herb Kimmons, MD, MMM 
  • Vice Chair, Clinical Affairs - Mike Gottschalk, MD, PhD 
  • Vice Chair, Education - Mark Sawyer, MD 
  • Vice Chair, Faculty Development - Sheila Gahagan, MD, MPH 
  • Vice Chair, Innovation in Therapeutics - Tariq Rana, PhD 
  • Vice Chair, Research (Basic) - Victor Nizet, MD 
  • Vice Chair, Research (Clinical) - Tina Chambers, PhD 

Thank you to Drs. Erin Fisher, Don Durden and Al La Spada for their years of service and contributions to the Department in their previous Vice Chair roles! Congratulations and welcome to our new Vice Chairs! Look for their featured articles in issues to come.

Vice Chair Corner: Residency Program Update

Mark Sawyer, MD

Mark Sawyer, MD
Vice Chair, Education
Director, Pediatric Residency Program

It is recruiting season! We already have more than 600 applications for our 14 categorical Pediatrics residency positions. There are also many applications to our Peds-Neurology and Medicine-Pediatrics programs. This obviously means the residency program office is very busy sifting through all these files to find the diamonds. Please try to make time to interview applicants if you are asked. It is a struggle every year to find enough faculty to interview, yet for the applicants this is the most important part of their visit here. Interviews are scheduled to only be 30 minutes.

The year moves ahead for our existing residents. In early November we will have our first block teaching module (often called "school") in which all, yes all, of our residents come together for an afternoon to focus on one topic. The first session is on Genetics and includes didactics, small group discussion, a basic science presentation, and more. This series was a result of the discussion at the faculty retreat in the fall of 2014. We are piloting 5 of these sessions throughout the year as a novel way to educate. We ask your cooperation as residents are pulled from their regular clinical duties for this experience. All clinical services will receive detailed information regarding the need for patient care coverage during this time.

The Program's Core Competency Committee (CCC) meets three times per year to review every resident's performance in detail. The first meeting for this academic year is on October 12. Input from the faculty is very important for this process. Please help by completing evaluations assigned to you. Feel free to send individualized feedback on any resident to either Mark Sawyer ( or Chris Cannavino ( The residents sincerely appreciate any feedback they receive.

Vice Chair Corner: Clinical Research

Rady Children Research Logo

Tina Chambers, PhD, Vice Chair, Clinical Research
Christina Moran, Director, Research Administration
Rady Children's Hospital - San Diego


Announcing....2nd Annual Ed Quigley Clinical Research Symposium

  • Thursday, November 5, 2015 from 4:00 to 8:00pm
  • At RCHSD's Acute Care Pavilion, in the Basement Conference Room
  • View the event flyer
  • For additional information, email

Coverage Analysis for Clinical Research Involving Tests & Procedures

RCHSD is implementing the coverage analysis process on new clinical studies involving research tests and procedures to ensure that all billing is in accordance with Medicare guidelines. Although UC San Diego performs coverage analysis for its faculty doing research at UC San Diego, it does not do so for studies in which RCHSD is the performance site.

Questions about RCHSD Research Procedures, Policies, and Services?
Contact RCHSD's Research Administration Help Desk at for assistance and information.

Division Highlight: New Medical Director Named for Division of Emergency Medicine

Dr. Keri Carstairs

Dr. Keri Carstairs has been selected as Medical Director for Pediatric Emergency Medicine, effective July 1, 2015. Dr. Carstairs has been affiliated with UC San Diego Health/RCHSD since 2007. Dr. Keri L. Carstairs is dual board- certified in both emergency medicine and pediatric emergency medicine and is currently in review for a faculty appointment with our Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Carstairs earned her medical degree from Tulane University, and completed a residency at Naval Medical Center San Diego, followed by a fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine at Rady Children's Hospital/UC San Diego Health. She served honorably for 13 years in the United States Navy as an emergency physician including a 6-month deployment to the Horn of Africa in support of counterterror operations. Dr. Carstairs' research interests include clinical teaching, hospital and emergency department operations and patient flow management, process improvement, physician leadership and improving the quality and efficiency of the health care delivery system. Under Dr. Carstairs' direction, Rady Children's Emergency Department treats over 80,000 patients per year. Dr. Carstairs replaces Dr. Bema Bonsu, whose appointment ended on June 30, 2015.


Albert La Spada Receives Harrington Scholar Award

Award Seal

Albert La Spada, MD, PhD, professor of pediatrics, cellular and molecular medicine and neurosciences at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, has received a 2015 Harrington Scholar award to advance his work on a therapy for Spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7), a rare but devastating neurological disorder that can lead to blindness and progressive loss of physical coordination. The scholar award is given by the Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals in Cleveland, which collaborates with various organizations to accelerate the development of promising research by physician-scientists. In particular, the funding helps researchers to bridge the gap from basic research to clinical application, known as the "Valley of Death," which can keep innovative discoveries from advancing far enough to attract pharmaceutical drug development. Read the complete story.

"Top Docs" Announced

Top Doctors Logo

UC San Diego had 113 physicians in 41 specialties named "Top Docs" in the annual San Diego Magazine "Physicians of Exceptional Excellence" survey. The Department of Pediatrics is proud to announce that six of our faculty were selected as "Top Docs." Congratulations to:

  • Sherry Chu-Sing Huang, MD, Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition
  • John R. Crawford, MD, Division of Neurology
  • Eyla Boies, MD, Division of Academic General Pediatrics, Child Development & Community Health
  • Erin Fisher, MD, Division of Pediatric Hospital Medicine
  • Bret Pickering, MD, Division of Academic General Pediatrics, Child Development & Community Health
  • Mark H. Sawyer, MD, Division of Infectious Diseases

Postdoctoral Scholar Award Winner Announced

Kristin Palmsten

UC San Diego Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Postdoctoral Scholar named Department of Pediatrics member Kristin Palmsten, ScD as a 2015 winner. Congratulations, Dr. Palmsten!



PostDoc Appreciation Month

PostDoc Logo

September is Postdoc Appreciation Month at UC San Diego! Be sure to express your appreciation to your Postdocs for all they do to support your research and programs! And in case you're just receiving this announcement, it's okay to spread your appreciation into October!

2015 Service Award Event

Service Award Event

The 2015 UC San Diego Service Awards were held on August 27th and 28th at Paradise Point in San Diego.

The following Department of Pediatrics employees were recognized at the celebration lunch or dinner:





40 years
Colleen Kernahan
Dysmorphology & Teratology
Teratogen Info Specialist
30 years
Bonnie Holmes
Sr. Lab Tech Specialist
25 years
Myrene Preston
Infectious Diseases
Community Health Program Rep
20 years
Anthony Johnson
Infectious Diseases
Case Manager
15 years
Cynthia Behling
Gastroenterology & Nutrition
Associate Physician
15 years
Tammelita Cotlon-Piñeda
Infectious Diseases
Community Health Program Rep
15 years
Barbara Gorse
Hospital Assistant
15 years
Diana Johnson
Dysmorphology & Teratology
Staff Research Associate-Supervisor
15 years
Kimberly Norris
Infectious Diseases
Study Coordinator
15 years
Elaine Pizzola
Child Development & Community Health
Program Manager
15 years
Denver Washington
Business Services
Sponsored Projects Analyst

HR News - VISA Services Recharge Rates are Increasing

IC Logo

Recharge rates for visa services offered by the International Center will be increasing effective July 1, 2015. The new rates can be viewed on the International Center's website.

October 6, 12:15-1:15pm,
Seminar: "Designing & Executing Your QI Project as Scholarly Activity," presented by Erin Stucky Fisher, MD. RSVP to
October 20, 12:00-1:00pm,
7910 Frost St, Suite 440
Seminar: "Biorepositories: Transforming Research Capabilities for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Disease. RSVP to
October 29, 12:00-1:00pm,
7910 Frost St, Suite 440
Seminar: "Designing & Executing Original Research Projects for Scholarly Activity," presented by Adriana Tremoulet, MD, Julie Ryu, MD, and George Chiang, MD. RSVP to
November 8
Join or support the Division of Respiratory Medicine's team "Rady's Air Force" in the American Lung Association annual walk. Click here to learn more.

Health Sciences Grant Funding Opportunities 

Students and Posters

The Health Sciences Research Grant Committee is soliciting applications for grant funding for travel to scholarly meetings and for research support for funds. For additional information on both opportunities, visit the corresponding hyperlinks.

Poster Printing Source

A faculty member shared the name of an affordable local source for large poster printing. To learn more, visit SoCal Graphics' website.

Pediatric Grand Rounds 2015-16 Schedule

The Department and programs have worked hard to create and exciting, varied and robust list of speakers for this new academic year. To view the schedule, click here.

UC San Diego Vendor Policy

Be aware of possible conflicts of interests. Be careful to not accept gifts, meals, free items or perks from UC San Diego vendors. To read the policy, click here.

Reminder: Release Time for UC San Diego Faculty to Teach at Perdana University

UC San Diego faculty/physicians may request release time to teach at Perdana University Graduate School of Medicine in Malaysia, through UC San Diego's Health Sciences International Center. Requests should be routed through the Division Chief for approval, and then to Dr. Haddad, with copy to Michelle De Guire. Note that the request must be cost neutral to the division and department. To read more about the program, click here.

E-News Issues

To view past or current issues of the Pediatrics e-News, here.

Upcoming Issues

Send your story suggestions and news to Melanie Marshall ( for possible inclusion in an upcoming edition of Pediatric e-News.