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Shriners Children’s Northern California Announces New Chief of Staff for Orthopedic Surgery, Rolando Roberto, M.D.

Rolando Roberto

Dr. Roberto is the new chief of staff for orthopedic surgery at Shriners Children's Northern California.

Shriners Children’s Northern California is pleased to announce that Rolando Roberto, M.D., will be the new chief of staff for orthopedic surgery at Shriners Children’s Northern California. He is expected to start in the position later this month.

Dr. Roberto has been with Shriners Children’s Northern California since 2004. In addition to his work as a spine surgeon, Dr. Roberto has served as medical director of the Shriners Children's Northern California Pediatric Spine Program since 2020. He is a professor of orthopedics at University of California, Davis, and has held roles there as vice chair of orthopedic surgery, chief of the spinal surgery division, and, more recently, chief diversity officer for the Department of Orthopedic Surgery.

“Dr. Roberto has been an invaluable member of our medical team, during which he has demonstrated unwavering dedication to patient care, innovative research, and outstanding leadership within Shriners Children’s Northern California’s Pediatric Spine Program,” said Hospital Administrator Kenny Pawlek. “His commitment to excellence and exemplary clinical skills have made a lasting impact on the lives of countless patients and their families, and his vision for the advancement of orthopedic care aligns perfectly with our hospital’s mission.”

Michelle James with Preston James, reviewing X-ray

Dr. Preston James and Dr. Michelle James review an X-ray.


Dr. Roberto succeeds pediatric hand surgeon Michelle James, M.D., who has been responsible for many firsts in her field. Dr. James started the first brachial plexus birth palsy clinic in the United States, which now serves the largest volume of children with this complex condition in the Western United States. She joined Shriners Children’s in 1991, where she became the nation’s first full-time pediatric hand surgeon and established Northern California’s hand and upper extremity program. In 2006, she was named chief of staff for orthopedic surgery. Under her leadership, Shriners Children's orthopedic surgery service in Northern California has grown from six to 12 orthopedic surgeons, eight of whom are women.

A professor of clinical orthopedic surgery at UC Davis and UC San Francisco, Dr. James was recently appointed vice chair of education for the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at UC Davis. Dr. James has served as principal investigator for eight funded studies of children’s hand and upper extremity function, and has published over 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals. She served as a director of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, 2006 – 2016, and as president of the Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society, 2012 – 2013. She has been the deputy editor for the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery since 2006.

“A skilled surgeon, mentor, teacher and friend to many, Dr. James continues to inspire the next generation of physicians at Shriners Children’s,” said Frances A. Farley, chief medical officer for Shriners Children's. “Dr. James has positioned Northern California’s orthopedics program as a leader in the field, and Dr. Roberto will guide us into an impactful new chapter of growth and clinical excellence.”

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