Dr. Coleen Sabatini is dedicated to caring for children with musculoskeletal problems both domestically and abroad and believes that all children should have access to high quality, safe, and affordable orthopaedic care. She is a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon based at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland (BCHO) in Oakland, California. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego where she studied biology and dance. She then moved to Boston to obtain her Doctorate of Medicine (MD) and Masters of Public Health (MPH) from Harvard Medical School and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, respectively. She served as an Intern in General Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and then completed her residency training at the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program. She served as Chief Resident in her last year of residency and as Editor of "The Orthopaedic Journal" at Harvard Medical School for four years. Dr. Sabatini completed her fellowship training in Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Having been a dancer for most of her pre-medical life, Dr. Sabatini's passion for caring for children with orthopaedic problems is based in her own history of orthopaedic injuries and a commitment to helping others live an active and healthy life. She joined the faculty of UCSF in 2010.
Dr. Sabatini's clinical focus includes a wide range of pediatric orthopaedic conditions, with particular interests in pediatric trauma/fractures, clubfoot and other pediatric foot and limb deformities. She is the Director of the BCHO Clubfoot Program and is the Medical Director of the Dance Medicine Program. Dr. Sabatini's research focuses on health equity/disparities, global health, pediatric trauma prevention and treatment, clinical outcomes, and improving access to, and quality of, care for children with musculoskeletal conditions, particularly for those in low-resource environments.
Dr. Sabatini’s public health career started before medical school where she had the opportunity to work with the California Black Infant Health program in San Diego; the start of a career rooted in health equity work and dedicated to the elimination of disparities in health for communities of color and vulnerable populations here in the United States. Recognizing that a critical way to address disparities in musculoskeletal health is to diversify the musculoskeletal workforce, Dr. Sabatini has had a focus on diversity in orthopaedics for over 15 years and has been committed to collaborative education, mentorship, and advocacy to increase the number of under-represented minorities and women pursuing careers in orthopaedic surgery, currently one of the least diverse specialties in all of medicine.
After joining the UCSF faculty in 2010, Dr. Sabatini became the Director and Chief of the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery at Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland in 2012. She served in these roles for over 7 years until 2019 when she transitioned away from leadership at BCHO to focus on her primary passion - health equity, in both the United States and globally. Her health equity work is rooted in capacity-building through research and education. Although she has taught and/or volunteered in numerous countries, Dr. Sabatini focuses much of her time in Uganda where she heads a pediatric orthopaedic research program and serves at the Principal Investigator on multiple projects, including many focused on injection injury - gluteal fibrosis and post-injection paralysis (through the Uganda Post-Injection Disability Prevention and Treatment Program) and other neglected surgical conditions. Much of her research work is intersectional between orthopaedics and public health. Dr. Sabatini and other colleagues have set up a pediatric orthopaedic fellowship in Uganda to train future generations of pediatric orthopaedic surgeons and she is committed to ongoing education and capacity building in collaboration with her partners in Uganda. Dr. Sabatini is also Co-Director of the UCSF Center for Health Equity in Surgery and Anesthesia (CHESA) – CHESA’s mission is to improve access to quality surgical care in low-resource settings through education and research.
Dr. Sabatini is active in many orthopaedic organizations and is currently the Chair of the International Committee of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and she also serves on the Board of Directors of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America and the J. Robert Gladden Orthopaedic Society.