The Pediatric Neurotrauma Program at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland is dedicated to the care of babies and children who have suffered a traumatic brain or spinal injury. Our team includes experts in neuroscience and specialists from our Level I Pediatric Trauma Care Center, which is one of just six in California to be verified at the highest level by the American College of Surgeons. By working together, we're able to reach the right diagnosis swiftly and devise treatment plans that put our patients on the road to recovery and bring peace of mind to parents.
Because brain injury can cause numerous symptoms that are different for each child, we coordinate care from many UCSF specialists, including those in neurology, neurosurgery, sports medicine and rehabilitation medicine, as well as from our Pediatric Brain Center. Our experts collaborate on all aspects of your child's care, from diagnosis through recovery. We have specialized clinics to address unique needs, including pediatric programs focused on headaches, epilepsy and strokes, and a multidisciplinary clinic for kids who need assistance to make a safe return to the classroom.
Our doctors know which methods have been shown in both research and everyday practice to heal neurological injuries, and they individualize each treatment plan to support the child's needs and goals. Our trauma team is also actively involved in supporting community health through education on injury prevention, including helmet and car seat programs, with the goal of reducing brain injuries in the families we see.
Why families choose us
High-quality medical care in a compassionate setting
Anxiety and the body's response to it can interfere with recovery, so our neurotrauma team strives to ensure that children feel safe and understand – to the extent that their age and development allow – what is happening. The experts in our comprehensive Child Life Services program are trained to help children feel more comfortable about undergoing exams, tests, procedures and rehabilitation.
Concussion diagnosis and treatment
Care for a concussion depends largely on the cause, as well as the location, severity and extent of neurological damage. Experts in our Pediatric Neurotrauma Program are experienced in diagnosing and treating concussion, post-concussion syndrome and traumatic brain injury. Young athletes with minor head injuries can receive treatment for a sports-related concussion through our Pediatric Sports Concussion Program.
Expertise in traumatic injuries
With all of the resources necessary to provide optimal trauma care to pediatric patients, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland is always ready to provide highly specialized emergency services – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When care is delivered by emergency room nurses and doctors experienced with brain and spinal injuries in children, using equipment specifically designed for children, kids have better outcomes. And because UCSF is active in cutting-edge research, our patients receive the latest proven treatments.
Our locations (1)
MD, FACS, FAAPPediatric surgeon
Sharon Orbach Wietstock
MD, MScPediatric neurologist
MDPediatric critical care specialist
MDCritical care pediatrician
MDEmergency care physician
MDPediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist
MDPediatric rehabilitation medicine specialist
Awards & recognition
Ranked among the nation's best in 10 specialties
Plan your visit
What to Bring
- Photo I.D.
- Health insurance card
- Insurance authorization, if required
- Doctor's referral, if required
- Recent test results related to your child's condition
- List of medications, including dosages, plus any your child is allergic to
- List of questions you may have
- Device or paper for taking notes
New visitor rules
Patients may have only one visitor at a time and switch visitors twice a day. Thanks!
We offer valuable information to help you plan for your child's upcoming hospital stay. Find out about food services, family accommodations and more.
Your Child's Care Team
Our doctors, nurses, child life specialists and other providers have special training to care for children. Meet your child's care team.
Interpreter Services & Communication Assistance
Interpreter services in many languages and TDDs are available for families that need help communicating with care teams. Here's how to access them.
Sports Medicine Center for Young Athletes
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Clinic
Certified child life specialists ease the stress and anxiety of childhood illness through therapeutic play, schooling and family-focused support.
Family-friendly amenities help you relax and take care of yourself while staying close to your child. We offer lounges, kitchens, showers, breastfeeding rooms and more.
Social workers ease the effect of illness, injury and hospitalization on your family with counseling and assistance to help you navigate the challenges.
Activity rooms offer a relaxed environment for children of all ages. Features include a playroom, digital arts studio and teen lounge. Find out more.
Art therapy helps kids and families express themselves, making it easier to cope with pediatric health issues. Group and bedside services are available.
Music Therapy Program
Board-certified music therapists help kids cope with illness and the feelings that come with it. Find out about group activities and bedside therapy.
Our schoolroom services and individual learning programs help children hospitalized at UCSF continue their education and get ready to return to school.
School Re-Entry Program
After hospitalization, we help kids return to school by educating staff and students about their needs and recommending needed accommodations. Read more.
Individual Playtime & Instruction
If your child can't be around other kids for medical reasons, you can sign up for private sessions in our activity and school rooms. Find out how.
Interpreter Services & Communication Assistance
Family Resource Center
We help families cope with the challenges of childhood illness and hospitalization in a relaxing environment where parents can get a much-needed break.
Parent Support Program
Weekly activities, including knitting, scrapbooking, chair massage and more, help family caregivers get a much-needed break. Find out more.
Patient relations reps and nursing supervisors are here to answer questions and address concerns. Learn about your rights, how to reach us and more.
Chaplains help UCSF patients, families and staff cope with the spiritual and emotional challenges of childhood illness. Learn more.
If you're coming to UCSF from outside the U.S., we coordinate your child's appointments and provide other helpful services. Here's how to get started.
Fetal surgery firsts