Patient Care

You’re in Expert Hands

Our pediatricians provide patient care at UC San Diego Health and through our partnership with Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. With a focus on diagnosing and treating children with birth defects and genetic conditions, your child will receive top-notch care from a team whose first priority is helping your family thrive. In addition, our Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Screening Program works with special populations to identify children who may be impacted by prenatal alcohol exposure in order to refer them for diagnostic evaluation and services. Finally, we are researching ways to provide medical expertise in FASD to populations that lack on-site experts using the advanced technology of telemedicine.

Explore how our experts can help you and your family.

  • Clinical Services

    Health Care in San Diego & Beyond

    Dr. Jones see patients at UC San Diego Health Pediatrics in Kearny Mesa and Dr. del Campo see patients at the Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego’s FASD Clinic, providing specialty services and expert care to children with birth defects and genetic conditions. Our expert pediatricians are available for in-patient consults at the UCSD Medical Center (in the neonatal intensive care unit, newborn nursery and autopsy service) and Scripps Mercy Hospital. 

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  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Program

    Screening and Referral for At-Risk Populations

    Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) can be difficult to diagnose. Through our Institute for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Discovery (IFASDD), we have implemented a program to screen at-risk populations such as youth involved with the juvenile justice system and children receiving services from KidStart, a Rady’s program for children with complex developmental, mental health, medical and family needs. Learn more about this screening program and the other important work being done by IFASDD.

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  • Telemedicine & FASD

    Digital Communication Has No Boundaries

    Telemedicine is the use of telecommunications (mobile phones, laptop computers, tablets) to provide clinical health care. The Center’s telemedicine program is a medical endeavor in partnership with and funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) in order to provide expertise in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), which is often difficult to diagnose, to a much broader population.

    The FASD telemedicine program that we are developing would allow the opportunity for a practitioner in a remote location to perform a comprehensive examination of a child being evaluated for FASD that could be simultaneously viewed, commented upon and corrected by an FASD expert at a central location. This provides an innovative approach to the diagnosis of FASD in underserved areas throughout the world where physicians with expertise in diagnosis of this disorder are unavailable. This provides the opportunity for a patient in any location to get a specialized and comprehensive examination for FASD.

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    San Diego SOMI is a research discovery platform with the goal of better understanding the complex combination of factors – from biological to social, from economic to environmental – that contribute to child health outcomes. To do this, we combine and use existing sets of data that have been collected from San Diego County communities, families, and individuals over the last 10 years and for the next 10+ years – representing a total of 1 million mother-child pairs!

    Seed funding for the SOMI has been provided by the Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine.

    Discover Our Program

    Click on an Icon to Explore


    Screening services

    Our Mission

    The mission of SOMI is to predict and promote healthy outcomes in mothers, infants and children in collaboration with community and public health partners.

    The SOMI data platform will allow multi-disciplinary researchers, policy makers, and other stakeholders to visualize and quantify disparities in child health outcomes across San Diego County and over time.

    To achieve this, SOMI will utilize county-wide publicly and non-publicly available data on medical, environmental, socioeconomic, policy, and service uptake for the SOMI Million Person Mother/Child cohort.

    SOMI Foci and Data Sources

    Genetic Factors

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    Environmental Exposure

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    RSocial Determinants

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    Explore SOMI by Topics

    Respiratory Distress syndrome (RDS)

    Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) is a breathing disorder that mostly affects premature newborns, making it hard for the baby to breathe and get enough oxygen. Babies with RDS are at high risk of developing bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), a serious condition of the lung that may need treatment for months or even years into childhood.

    Infants and children with BPD are at risk for complications resulting in readmission to the hospital; however, the risk and protective factors associated with the health of infants and children with BDP require further investigation. Using the SOMI platform and clinical data as available from Rady Children’s Hospital, we will determine what factors influence the long-term outcomes for children with BPD, which could subsequently inform interventions to improve outcomes for those children.

    Congential Heart Defects (CHD)

    A congenital heart defect (CHD) is a problem with the structure of the heart that is present at birth. CHDs are the most common type of birth defect, and affect approximately 1% of babies born each year. Although there are known risk factors for CHDs, such as poorly controlled maternal diabetes, the causes of CHD for most babies are unknown.

    Using the SOMI platform, we will map CHDs across San Diego County and overlay sociodemographic, health and environmental factors to generate hypotheses that can then be tested in the context of genomic and other biological predictors to determine how some CHDs occur and potentially may be prevented.

    Sudden Infant & Child Deaths

    Preterm birth (delivery at <37 weeks of gestation) leads to significant risks for the infant including physical and neurodevelopmental complications. Preterm birth occurs more frequently in the U.S. than in other developed countries; however, it is unknown exactly what drives these unacceptably high rates. There is also a large and persistent disparity between preterm birth rates among non-Hispanic White and Black women. Black women are 50% more likely to deliver preterm compared with women of all other races/ethnicities, and these rates do not change with increases in socioeconomic status, maternal education, or paternal education.

    Furthermore, there are health disparities by birthplace of the mother. For example, foreign-born Black or Hispanic women who move to the U.S. and have children are less likely to deliver preterm than similar women who were born in the U.S. It is unknown to what extent this disparity is due to social determinants, diet, genetic factors or combinations of these factors. There is an urgent need to understand what risk factors are contributing to these disparities so that interventions can be designed to reduce preterm birth rates in San Diego County, thereby improving the health of infants and children. We will use the SOMI Platform and associated biological samples for women who have delivered in San Diego County to examine stress-associated factors for preterm birth, and determine whether they differ by race and mother’s country of birth.

    Stress & Preterm Berth by Maternal (need rest of copy)

    The U.S. infant mortality rate in 2016 was 5.9 deaths per 1000 live births. The leading causes of infant death at that time were birth defects, preterm birth and low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), maternal pregnancy complications, and injuries. Within SIDS deaths, although the specific cause is usually not known, known risk factors that increase risk are sleep position, prematurity, non-white race, a family history of SIDS, prenatal exposure to binge patterns of alcohol consumption, and postnatal exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke.

    Similarly, there are children who die suddenly of unknown causes in childhood or adolescence. In both circumstances, there may be a genetic and/or environmental profile that strongly predicts risk for sudden death. If such a profile can be identified, this could lead to prophylactic interventions, such as medication treatment for children at high risk.

    Our Team

    Gathering breadth of passion and expertise to work on the solutions

    Christina Chambers | Principle Investigator | UCSD

    Dr. Christina Chambers is the SOMI principal investigator, and co-directs the Center for Better Beginnings in the Department of Pediatrics at UC San Diego. Dr. Chambers is a perinatal epidemiologist specializing in the area of environmental causes of adverse pregnancy outcomes, birth defects, and childhood disabilities, with a special focus on human teratogens (environmental agents that cause birth defects or other adverse prenatal outcomes).

    Gretchen Bandoli | Co-PI | UCSD

    Dr. Gretchen Bandoli is a perinatal epidemiologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at UC San Diego. Her research focuses on perinatal and early childhood determinants of neurodevelopment and health.

    Laura Jelliffe | Co-I | UCSF

    Medicine at UC San Francisco (UCSF) and is the Director of Precision Health and Discovery with the UCSF California Preterm Birth Initiative. Dr. Jelliffe-Pawlowski and her team work to identify new tools, tests, and technologies that can help identify pregnant women and babies at increased risk for preterm birth and associated birth defects and developmental delays.

    Kelli Ryckman | Co-I | U of Iowa

    Dr. Kelli Ryckman is an Associate Professor at the University of Iowa in the Department of Epidemiology. Dr. Ryckman researches genetic and metabolic mechanisms associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. Much of her work includes analyzing data from prenatal and newborn screening programs to identify risk markers for adverse birth and childhood outcomes.

    Marta Jankowska | Research Scientist | City of Hope

    Dr. Jankowska is an Assistant Research Scientist in the Calit2/Qualcomm Institute at the University of California, San Diego. Her expertise is in spatial analytics including GIS, GPS, and spatial statistics as applied to health related problems.

    Naomi Abe | Research Scientist | UCSD

    Dr. Naomi Abe is an Assistant Clinical Professor and a Pediatric Emergency Medicine Physician in the Department of Pediatrics at UC San Diego. She is also board certified in Internal Medicine. Her research is currently focused on parental mental health and infant health outcomes. Broadly, her work aims to uncover the intersections of parental and child health, and to identify interventions that may improve both.

    Jiue-An (Jay) Yang | Developer Lead | City of Hope

    Dr. Jiue-An Yang is a research scientist in the Calit2/Qualcomm Institute at the University of California, San Diego. Jay focuses on the analysis of geographic information in personal and public health informatics, the implementation of machine learning algorithms in behavioral health studies, and the development of information visualization applications for data-driven health science.

    Rebecca Baer | Research Analyst | UCSF

    Ms. Rebecca Baer is a Senior Statistician for the SOMI study at UC San Diego and the UC San Francisco California Preterm Birth Initiative. Ms. Baer was previously a research scientist with the California Department of Public Health.

    Jessica Block | Research Analyst | UCSD

    Jessica Block is a research analyst with Calit2/Qualcomm Institute at UC San Diego. She is an urban geologist specializing in the use of sensor networks, remote sensing, and geospatial visualization tools for policy decision-making, and sustainability issues.

    Erin Delker | SOMI Scholar

    Erin is an epidemiologist and post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Pediatrics at UC San Diego. She is most interested in contributing to research at the intersection of cardiovascular disease and pregnancy, with additional interests in epidemiologic methods, mental health, and social determinants of health.

    SOMI Network

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    UC San Diego
    UC San Francisco
    Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego
    Hope Consortium
    PTBi California
    Qualcomm Institute
    Rady’s Children’s Hospital Genomics Institute
    UCSD School of Medicine
    Department of Pediatrics at UCSD

    Latest Publications from SOMI

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    • Bandoli G, Baer RJ, Owen M, Kiernan E, Jelliffe-Pawlowski L, Kingsmore S, Chambers CD. Maternal, infant, and environmental risk factors for sudden unexpected infant deaths: results from a large, administrative cohort. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2021 Dec 1:1-8. doi: 10.1080/14767058.2021.2008899. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34852708 [LINK.]
    • Bandoli G, Suttner D, Kiernan E, Baer RJ, Jelliffe-Pawlowski L, Chambers CD. Risk factors for neonatal encephalopathy in late preterm and term singleton births in a large California birth cohort. J Perinatol. 2021 Oct 26. doi: 10.1038/s41372-021-01242-z. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34702969. [LINK.]
    • Bandoli G, Jelliffe-Pawlowski L, Schumacher B, Baer RJ, Felder JN, Fuchs JD, Oltman SP, Steurer MA, Marienfeld C. Cannabis-related diagnosis in pregnancy and adverse maternal and infant outcomes. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2021 Aug 1;225:108757. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2021.108757. Epub 2021 May 21. PMID: 34049105; PMCID: PMC8282693. [LINK.]
    • Bandoli G, Baer RJ, Gano D, Pawlowski LJ, Chambers C. Migraines During Pregnancy and the Risk of Maternal Stroke. JAMA Neurol. 2020 Sep 1;77(9):1177-1179. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2020.1435. PMID: 32478828; PMCID: PMC7265122. [LINK.]
    • Bandoli G, Singh N, Strouse J, Baer RJ, Donovan BM, Feuer SK, Nidey N, Ryckman KK, Jelliffe-Pawlowski LL, Chambers CD. Mediation of Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes in Autoimmune Conditions by Pregnancy Complications: A Mediation Analysis of Autoimmune Conditions and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2020 Feb;72(2):256-264. doi: 10.1002/acr.24037. Epub 2020 Jan 9. PMID: 31373768; PMCID: PMC7351244. [LINK.]
    • Singh N, Baer RJ, Swaminathan M, Saurabh S, Sparks JA, Bandoli G, Flowers E, Jelliffe-Pawlowski LL, Ryckman KK. Pregnancy after bariatric surgery in women with rheumatic diseases and association with adverse birth outcomes. Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2021 Feb;17(2):406-413. doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2020.09.016. Epub 2020 Sep 29. PMID: 33097446. [LINK.]
    • Baer RJ, Yang J, Berghella V, Chambers CD, Coker TR, Kuppermann M, Oltman SP, Rand L, Ryckman KK, Muglia LJ, Chung PJ, Jelliffe-Pawlowski LL. Risk of preterm birth by maternal age at first and second pregnancy and race/ethnicity. J Perinat Med. 2018 Jul 26;46(5):539-546. doi: 10.1515/jpm-2017-0014. PMID: 28455952. [LINK.]
    • Harvey DC, Baer RJ, Bandoli G, Chambers CD, Jelliffe-Pawlowski LL, Kumar SR. Association of Alcohol Use Diagnostic Codes in Pregnancy and Offspring Conotruncal and Endocardial Cushion Heart Defects. J Am Heart Assoc. 2022 Jan 18;11(2):e022175. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.121.022175. Epub 2022 Jan 11. PMID: 35014860; PMCID: PMC9238516. [LINK.]
    • Baer RJ, Chambers CD, Ryckman KK, Oltman SP, Rand L, Jelliffe-Pawlowski LL. High risk of spontaneous preterm birth among infants with gastroschisis. Am J Med Genet A. 2019 Jan;179(1):37-42. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.60675. Epub 2018 Dec 14. PMID: 30549407. [LINK.]
    • Baer RJ, Yang J, Chambers CD, Ryckman KK, Saftlas AF, Berghella V, Schetter CD, Shaw GM, Stevenson DK, Jelliffe-Pawlowski LL. Risk of recurrent preterm birth among women according to change in partner. J Perinat Med. 2017 Jan 1;45(1):63-70. doi: 10.1515/jpm-2016-0207. PMID: 27718495; PMCID: PMC5380385. [LINK.]
    • Jankowska MM, Yang JA, Block J, Baer RJ, Jelliffe-Pawlowski LL, Flores S, Pacheco-Warner T, Costantino A, Fuchs J, Chambers CD, Newel G. An Online Geographic Data Visualization Tool to Relate Preterm Births to Environmental Factors. Prev Chronic Dis. 2019 Aug 8;16:E102. doi: 10.5888/pcd16.180498. PMID: 31400100; PMCID: PMC6716387. [LINK.]
    • Ross KM, Baer RJ, Ryckman K, Feuer SK, Bandoli G, Chambers C, Flowers E, Liang L, Oltman S, Dunkel Schetter C, Jelliffe-Pawlowski L. Second trimester inflammatory and metabolic markers in women delivering preterm with and without preeclampsia. J Perinatol. 2019 Feb;39(2):314-320. doi: 10.1038/s41372-018-0275-8. Epub 2018 Dec 5. PMID: 30518800; PMCID: PMC6760589. [LINK.]
    • Baer RJ, Chambers CD, Jones KL, Shew SB, MacKenzie TC, Shaw GM, Jelliffe- Pawlowski LL. Maternal factors associated with the occurrence of gastroschisis. Am J Med Genet A. 2015 Jul;167(7):1534-41. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.37016. Epub 2015 Apr 25. PMID: 25913847. [LINK.]
    • Baer RJ, Chambers CD, Ryckman KK, Oltman SP, Rand L, Jelliffe-Pawlowski LL. An Evaluation of Sexually Transmitted Infection and Odds of Preterm or Early- Term Birth Using Propensity Score Matching. Sex Transm Dis. 2019 Jun;46(6):389-394. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000985. PMID: 30762719. [LINK.]
    • Baer RJ, Chambers CD, Bandoli G, Jelliffe-Pawlowski LL. Risk of preterm birth by subtype among Medi-Cal participants with mental illness. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Oct;215(4):519.e1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2016.06.017. Epub 2016 Jun 18. PMID: 27329688. [LINK.]
    • Baer RJ, Chambers CD, Ryckman KK, Oltman SP, Rand L, Jelliffe-Pawlowski LL. Risk of preterm and early term birth by maternal drug use. J Perinatol. 2019 Feb;39(2):286-294. doi: 10.1038/s41372-018-0299-0. Epub 2018 Dec 20. PMID: 30573752. [LINK.]
    • Araneta MRG, Baer RJ, Muglia LJ, Ryckman KK, Ryu J, Sidelinger DE, Jeliffe- Powlowski LL, Chambers CD. Health Advantages and Disparities in Preterm Birth Among Immigrants Despite Disparate Sociodemographic, Behavioral, and Maternal Risk Factors in San Diego, California. Matern Child Health J. 2020 Feb;24(2):153-164. doi: 10.1007/s10995-019-02836-y. PMID: 31838667. [LINK.]
    • Bandoli G, Palmsten K, Chambers CD, Jelliffe-Pawlowski LL, Baer RJ, Thompson CA. Revisiting the Table 2 fallacy: A motivating example examining preeclampsia and preterm birth. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2018 Jul;32(4):390-397. doi: 10.1111/ppe.12474. Epub 2018 May 21. PMID: 29782045; PMCID: PMC6103824. [LINK.]
    • Steurer MA, Peyvandi S, Baer RJ, Oltman SP, Chambers CD, Norton ME, Ryckman KK, Moon-Grady AJ, Keller RL, Shiboski SC, Jelliffe-Pawlowski LL. Impaired Fetal Environment and Gestational Age: What Is Driving Mortality in Neonates With Critical Congenital Heart Disease? J Am Heart Assoc. 2019 Nov 19;8(22):e013194. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.119.013194. Epub 2019 Nov 15. PMID: 31726960; PMCID: PMC6915289. [LINK.]
    • Borelli M, Baer RJ, Chambers CD, Smith TC, Jelliffe-Pawlowski LL. Critical congenital heart defects and abnormal levels of routinely collected first- and second-trimester biomarkers. Am J Med Genet A. 2017 Feb;173(2):368-374. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.38013. Epub 2016 Oct 14. PMID: 27739239. [LINK.]
    • Baer RJ, Chambers CD, Ryckman KK, Oltman SP, Norton ME, Jelliffe-Pawlowski LL. Risk of preterm birth among women using drugs during pregnancy with elevated α-fetoprotein. J Perinatol. 2017 Mar;37(3):220-225. doi: 10.1038/jp.2016.224. Epub 2016 Dec 8. PMID: 27929528. [LINK.]
    • Bandoli G, Suttner D, Kiernan E, Baer RJ, Jelliffe-Pawlowski L, Chambers CD. Risk factors for neonatal encephalopathy in late preterm and term singleton births in a large California birth cohort. J Perinatol. 2022 Mar;42(3):341-347. doi: 10.1038/s41372-021-01242-z. Epub 2021 Oct 26. PMID: 34702969; PMCID: PMC8917979. [LINK.]
    • Fineman DC, Baer RJ, Chambers CD, Rajagopal S, Maltepe E, Rinaudo PF, Fineman JR, Jelliffe-Pawlowski LL, Steurer MA. Outcomes of pulmonary vascular disease in infants conceived with non-IVF fertility treatment and assisted reproductive technologies at 1 year of age. Pediatr Pulmonol. 2019 Nov;54(11):1844-1852. doi: 10.1002/ppul.24457. Epub 2019 Jul 21. PMID: 31328432. [LINK.]
    • Steurer MA, Norton ME, Baer RJ, Shaw GM, Keating S, Moon-Grady AJ, Chambers CD, Jelliffe-Pawlowski LL. The association of maternal lymphatic markers and critical congenital heart defects in the fetus-A population based case-control study. Am J Med Genet A. 2017 May;173(5):1231-1236. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.38152. Epub 2017 Mar 21. PMID: 28323386. [LINK.]
    • Baer RJ, Altman MR, Oltman SP, Ryckman KK, Chambers CD, Rand L, Jelliffe- Pawlowski LL. Maternal factors influencing late entry into prenatal care: a stratified analysis by race or ethnicity and insurance status. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2019 Oct;32(20):3336-3342. doi: 10.1080/14767058.2018.1463366. Epub 2018 Apr 22. PMID: 29631462. [LINK.]
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