Diana Farmer headshot
Diana Farmer, pediatric and fetal surgeon and chair of the UC Davis Department of Surgery and surgeon-in-chief of UC Davis Children’s Hospital within UC Davis Health.

By UC Davis Health

Pediatric and fetal surgeon Diana Farmer of UC Davis Health has won a 2020 U21 Award for advancing global perspectives in her field.

U21, formally known as Universitas 21, is a network of research universities, including UC Davis, that collaborates across borders and nurtures international knowledge exchange.

Farmer is chair of the UC Davis Department of Surgery and surgeon-in-chief of UC Davis Children’s Hospital. She first recognized the importance of a global view in surgery as a medical student, when she accepted an opportunity to study in Asia. That experience had a lasting impact on her practice and leadership.

As a surgeon, she has continuously worked to correct inequities that exist globally in health care. Her work has focused on access to surgical treatment, particularly for children. As a mentor and educator, she has created unique opportunities for surgical students to learn abroad and address global health challenges.

“Dr. Farmer is recognized worldwide as a leader in innovative surgery techniques and she has long been known for her spirit of collaboration and advocacy, working to reduce barriers for her patients, students and colleagues,” said Dean Allison Brashear of the UC Davis School of Medicine. “We are all so proud that Dr. Farmer has been recognized by U21 for the global impact of her work.”

Farmer is recognized worldwide as a leader in surgery for children. She is especially known for her skilled surgical treatment of birth defects. She is an expert in cancer, airway and intestinal surgeries in newborns. Her research focuses on the safety and effectiveness of treating spina bifida before birth. She is developing a new stem cell therapy for repairing damaged neural tissue in spina bifida patients.

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.

“Collaborating across disciplines and borders has become increasingly important, and Dr. Farmer’s pioneering leadership, both at UC Davis and around the world, has been instrumental in advancing global opportunities in medical education,” Joanna Regulska, vice provost and associate chancellor of Global Affairs at UC Davis. “At home and abroad, her commitment, advocacy and innovation are nothing short of inspiring.”

The award will be formally presented during the U21 Annual Presidents’ Meeting in May 2020.


Surgery is one of many significant strengths of UC Davis Health, where some of the world’s most skilled and compassionate surgeons are part of the care team. More information is at health.ucdavis.edu.

Global Affairs at UC Davis has a mission of inspiring global curiosity, understanding, and engagement — on campus, in California and around the world. More information is at globalaffairs.ucdavis.edu.

Read the original article at the UC Davis Health website.

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