UCSF pediatric orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Coleen Sabatini receives prestigious Humanitarian Award from POSNA

Dr. Coleen Sabatini, MD, MPH, was honored with the esteemed POSNA Humanitarian Award for her active dedication to enhancing musculoskeletal care for underserved children globally, as recognized at the annual POSNA meeting in Maryland on May 8, 2024.(Photo: UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery)

SAN FRANCISCO (May 8, 2024) – The UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery is pleased to announce that the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA) honored Dr. Coleen Sabatini, MD, MPH, with the esteemed POSNA Humanitarian Award in recognition of her outstanding dedication to improving musculoskeletal care for children in underserved communities. She received the honor today at POSNA’s annual meeting at Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, Maryland.

“Dr. Sabatini's unwavering commitment to global health exemplifies the values we hold dear in our Department. Her dedication to improving musculoskeletal care for children, both locally and abroad, is an inspiration to us all,” said Dr. Nirav Pandya, Professor and Vice Chair of the Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics at UCSF.

The Orthopaedic Team at CoRSU Rehabilitation Hospital in Uganda: From L to R: Drs. Moses Fisha Muhumuza, Edgar Kyahurwa, Coleen Sabatini, Emmanuel Ewochu, Esther Akello, Judith Nassaazi, Ahmed Mayanja, Augustine Bukulu, and Emmanuel Gidudu (Photo: Courtesy of CoRSU Rehabilitation Hospital).

A distinguished pediatric orthopaedic surgeon, she has devoted her career to advancing orthopaedic care and advocating for children's health worldwide. Specializing in trauma and clubfoot/foot deformities, Dr. Sabatini's commitment extends far beyond the operating room. Her pioneering research and advocacy efforts have significantly impacted the lives of countless children, particularly in Uganda, where she has focused much of her international work since 2013.

Dr. Coleen Sabatini instructs visiting orthopaedic surgeons in pediatric patient care techniques at the annual UCSF IGOT SMART Course in San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of UCSF Institute for Global Orthopaedics and Traumatology)

Dr. Sabatini's profound contributions to global health include the establishment of a robust research program aimed at addressing neglected surgical conditions in Uganda, notably musculoskeletal disabilities related to intramuscular injections. Her persistent efforts to build musculoskeletal research capacity and promote sustainable healthcare solutions have earned her widespread admiration and respect.

“Dr. Sabatini's tireless advocacy for underserved communities reflects the core principles of pediatric orthopaedics. Her efforts in Uganda and beyond have not only transformed lives but have also set a standard for compassionate care,” said Dr. C. Benjamin Ma, Professor and Chair of the UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Dr. Coleen Sabatini, a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon, is committed to providing care to children with musculoskeletal issues, both locally and internationally. Her clinical expertise encompasses the treatment of clubfoot and other foot deformities, limb deformities, infections, and fractures. She presently leads the clubfoot clinic and dance medicine program at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. (Photo: UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery)

Recognizing the importance of collaborative efforts, Dr. Sabatini has played a pivotal role in educational initiatives, including serving as lead faculty for a COEDN-sponsored pediatric orthopaedic fellowship in Uganda. Her leadership during challenging times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, underscores her commitment to advancing orthopaedic education and patient care globally.

Dr. Sabatini, accompanied by colleagues from Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Vietnam, and India, convened in Manila, Philippines, on February 25-26, 2024, to represent orthopaedics at the Global Initiative for Children’s Surgery Meeting. (Photo: UCSF Institute for Global Orthopaedics and Traumatology)

In addition to her clinical and research endeavors, Dr. Sabatini has held prominent roles within POSNA, demonstrating her dedication to advancing the field of pediatric orthopaedics on a national level. As Co-Director of the UCSF Institute of Global Orthopaedics and Traumatology (IGOT) and Associate Director of the UCSF Center for Health Equity in Surgery and Anesthesia (CHESA), she continues to champion initiatives focused on global surgery and health equity.

“Working alongside Dr. Sabatini has been an honor and a privilege,” added Dr. Pandya. “Her commitment to building sustainable healthcare solutions and empowering local communities is unmatched. This award is a well-deserved recognition of her dedication and impact.”

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Coleen Sabatini on this well-deserved honor from POSNA.

Dr. Coleen Sabatini, center, commemorated the achievements of her colleagues and fellows, Dr. Esther Akello, at left, and Dr. Emmanuel Ewochu, upon their successful completion of the FCS in Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery exams, thus attaining fellowship status within COSECSA. Additionally, Dr. Sabatini herself was elected as a Fellow of the College of Surgeons of East, Central, and Southern Africa (CoSECSA). (Photo: UCSF Institute for Global Orthopaedics and Traumatology)

About Dr. Coleen Sabatini, MD, MPH

Dr. Coleen Sabatini is a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon based at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego, and her Doctorate of Medicine (MD) and Master of Public Health (MPH) from Harvard University. Dr. Sabatini completed her residency training at the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program and fellowship training in Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.  She currently serves as the Vice Chair of Health Equity and Academic Affairs for the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.


The Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA) is a professional organization committed to advancing the care of children with orthopaedic conditions. POSNA promotes excellence in patient care through education, research, and advocacy.