Shriners Hospitals for Children Expands Pediatric Surgery Program to Meet Complex Needs of Children

Just one year after launching its pediatric surgery program in Sacramento, Shriners Hospitals for Children —Northern California welcomed two new pediatric surgeons to its team.

Dr. Rebecca Stark joined Shriners Hospital after completing a fellowship in Pediatric Surgery at Seattle Children’s Hospital. A board-certified general surgeon, Dr. Stark is a candidate member of the American Pediatric Surgical Association. Her interests include intestinal disorders and appendicitis. She has published articles on these topics in medical journals and presented at medical conferences of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Pacific Association of Pediatric Surgeons, and the American Pediatric Surgical Association.

Dr. Jacob Stephenson joined Shriners Hospital in September 2015. A lieutenant colonel in the United States Air Force Medical Corps, Dr. Stephenson has presented at numerous medical conferences and published extensively on a variety of surgical topics, including abdominal surgery and treating a type of thoracic malformation. He is board-certified in Pediatric Surgery and General Surgery and has extensive experience in practicing medicine abroad.

“We are here to ensure that all children with complex surgical needs can benefit from our care,” says Dr. Shinjiro Hirose, Director of Pediatric Surgery at the Shriners Hospital in Sacramento. “More than 500 children were referred for care in a matter of months, and our team can now address the vast array of pediatric surgery needs.”

Conditions Treated
The pediatric surgery program at the Northern California Shriners Hospital serves children with complex gastro-intestinal disorders, complex anorectal disorders and complex chest wall disorders. The wide array of conditions treated include Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, morbid obesity, esophageal strictures, gall bladder disease, fecal incontinence, idiopathic constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, short bowel syndrome, anorectal malformations and complex chest wall abnormalities.

“The collaborative culture of care at Shriners Hospital allows our pediatric surgery team to work with the entire team of specialists to meet the individual needs of each patient,” says Dr. Hirose. “For instance, patients with chest-wall malformations can be treated for related conditions – scoliosis, Marfan’s syndrome and Poland’s syndrome included,” he adds.

Care with Distinction
Leading the growth and development of the pediatric surgery program are Dr. Hirose and Dr. Diana Farmer, surgeon in chief.

Dr. Hirose specializes in minimally invasive surgery for gastro-intestinal, biliary, liver and thoracic disorders in fetuses and children and is a nationally recognized children’s cancer surgeon. He also is an expert in the development and use of surgical robotics for children. In addition to directing the pediatric surgery program at Shriners Hospital, Dr. Hirose is Chief of Pediatric and Fetal Surgery at the UC Davis Children’s Hospital and its Fetal Treatment Center.

Dr. Farmer is an internationally renowned pediatric surgeon recognized for her investigations on the safety and effectiveness of providing spinal bifida treatments before birth. At Shriners Hospital, Dr. Farmer provides surgical care to children age 1 and older who are faced with complex intestinal disorders, complex rectal disorders and complex chest wall disorders. She was inducted into the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 2010, becoming the second American woman surgeon to receive this honor. Dr. Farmer also is chair of the Department of Surgery at UC Davis Health System and Surgeon-in-Chief of the UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

The medical team also includes Dr. Gary Raff, a cardiothoracic surgeon and Chief of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, Dr. Amy Rahm, a cardiothoracic pediatric surgeon, and nurse practitioners Charlene Singh and Karen Brand.

As principal investigators in a multi-center trial funded by a grant from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dr. Shinjiro Hirose and Dr. Gary Raff are leading a groundbreaking study of a device that uses magnets to correct sunken chest, the most common congenital chest wall abnormality.

The development of a program in pediatric surgery is made possible by the working partnership Shriners Hospitals for Children has with the University of California Davis Health System. Together, Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California and the UC Davis Children’s Hospital have been ranked among the nation’s top 50 children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for four consecutive years. Shriners Hospitals for Children and the UC Davis Health System established the foundation for their long-term partnership in the early 1990s, when the Shriners sought to locate a new regional pediatric medical center in Sacramento. The affiliation agreement between the two organizations has made it possible to achieve nationally recognized programmatic successes.
At Shriners Hospitals for Children, all care is provided regardless of the family’s ability to pay. To refer a patient, call the Shriners Hospital Patient Referral Center at 916-453-2191.


Shriners Hospitals for Children is devoted to transforming the lives of children through excellence in treatment, teaching and research. Located at 2425 Stockton Boulevard in Sacramento, Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California provides care to children with orthopaedic conditions, spinal cord injuries, burns, cleft lip, scars from any cause and other complex surgical needs. There are no barriers to care as admission is based on age and diagnosis. Care is provided regardless of the family’s ability to pay. For further information call (916) 453-2000 or go visit here.

Media Contact: Catherine Curran | Public Relations (916) 453-2218 |


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One Comment

  1. It’s cool to see this side of plastic surgery and how it can really help people, specifically children, have better lives. Services that help children that are suffering from gastro-intestinal, anorectal disorders, and complex chest wall disorders are truly life changers and savers. I’m grateful that we have services like this that are dedicated to helping people in these situations.

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