Leading Pediatric and Fetal Surgeon Diana Farmer Honored for Global Leadership

Dean Allison Brashear and Dr. Diana Farmer
School of Medicine Dean Allison Brashear (left) and Dr. Diana Farmer (right) with the U21 Award from Universitas 21.

The sixth annual UC Davis International Connections Reception, hosted by Global Affairs on March 4, brought together faculty, staff, scholars, students, special guests, and supporters to celebrate UC Davis’ global achievements. During this year’s online awards ceremony, Chancellor Gary S. May recognized Diana Farmer, chair of the UC Davis Department of Surgery and surgeon-in-chief of UC Davis Children’s Hospital, for earning a 2020 U21 Award for global leadership and contributions to internationalization in higher education.

The U21 Award, given by the Universitas 21 network, celebrates individuals who demonstrate a true global vision in higher education, further effective international opportunities for students and staff, and improve collaboration within the university and with external partners. Universitas 21 is a leading global network of 27 research-intensive universities—including UC Davis—which empowers its members to achieve excellence, collaborate across borders, and nurture global knowledge exchange.

“The U21 Awards recognize extraordinary individuals and Dr. Diana Farmer is incredibly deserving of this recognition. She has worked tirelessly to advance the internationalization of higher education and she advocates vigorously for those who cannot speak for themselves,” said May.

Farmer, an internationally renowned fetal and neonatal surgeon at UC Davis Health, has persistently worked to eliminate inequities in health care and has continually demonstrated a firm commitment to diversifying the field. She advocates, raises awareness about, and works to improve access to and decision-making about surgical treatment, particularly for children. Farmer has advanced the internationalization of higher education by creating unique opportunities for surgical students and residents to work with the larger global community and by mentoring students, residents, and post-doctoral fellows. Her mentees have gone on to lead programs in global health around the world.

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 Allison Brashear, dean 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.”

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,” said Joanna Regulska, vice provost and dean of Global Affairs at UC Davis. “At home and abroad, her commitment, advocacy and innovation are nothing short of inspiring.”

2021 International Connections Reception Award Announcements

The International Connections Reception also acknowledged the recipients of Global Affairs awards and grants:

The Global Education for All Steering Committee and Global Education for All Fellows were recognized for their efforts in advancing the campus goal to provide 100% of students—undergraduate, graduate, and professional—with global learning experiences that change their lives and our world. The Global Strategy Advisory Committee was recognized for their engagement in strategic conversations to coordinate, elevate, and shape global engagement at UC Davis.

More Global Laurels

In 2020, UC Davis was named one of only four universities to receive NAFSA’s 2020 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Campus Internationalization, and as the only university to earn the Platinum Institutional Award for Global Learning, Research and Engagement from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, or APLU.


About Global Affairs at UC Davis

Global Affairs brings the world to UC Davis, welcoming more than 10,000 international students, scholars and leaders, and hosting programs that inspire global curiosity, understanding and engagement. Compelled by the valuable outcomes of thinking globally, we make transformative opportunities a reality by supporting the thousands of students and faculty learning and researching globally—and by facilitating collaborations that tackle the world’s most pressing challenges through more than 150 global partnerships.

Putting our vision of a UC Davis community that engages, thrives, and leads in this interconnected world into action, Global Affairs is in pursuit of an ambitious goal: Global Education for All.

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