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Each year, U.S. News & World Report invites physicians who are board-certified in the adult and pediatric specialties the publication ranks in their Best Hospitals and Best Children’s Hospitals guides to vote for hospitals they believe provide the best care.

In its 2020-2021 Best Hospitals guide, U.S. News & World Report ranked UVA the No. 1 hospital in Virginia for the fifth year in a row. It also ranked two UVA adult specialties among the top 50 in the nation. The publication ranked five UVA Children’s specialties among the top 50 nationally in its 2020-2021 Best Children’s Hospitals guide.

These rankings recognize the high-quality, compassionate care UVA delivers every day. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we continued to lead ground-breaking research to create better treatments for patients, including:

HIV Drugs Prevent Diabetes, Macular Degeneration
NRTIs used to treat HIV may prevent both diabetes and dry macular degeneration, UVA’s Jayakrishna Ambati, MD, has found. Ambati validated surprising bench discoveries by analyzing insurance databases to assess disease risk in patients – a powerful approach that provides important insights without the need for costly trials. “This finding provides real hope in developing the first treatment for this blinding disease,” Ambati said. Read more.

Imaging Insights Into Autism-Spectrum Disorders
Kevin Pelphrey, PhD, one of the nation’s top autism researchers, used advanced imaging to assess cortical activation in the brains of children with and without autism-spectrum disorders during face-to-face interpersonal interactions. The work identified important neural biomarkers that can be used as outcome predictors or treatment response indicators in future studies. Read more.

Artificial Pancreas Replaces Routine Fingersticks
An artificial pancreas system based on technology from UVA’s Center for Diabetes Technology won approval from the Food and Drug Administration first for adults and then for children ages 6 and older. The device automatically monitors and regulates blood glucose for appropriate type 1 patients. “We are excited that our decade-long research, which recently culminated in a large-scale clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine, has been successfully translated to the clinical practice,” said Boris Kovatchev, PhD, director of the UVA center. Read more.

BIG Discovery Reveals Unknown Harms of TBI
John Lukens, PhD, of UVA’s Department of Neuroscience and Center for Brain Immunology and Glia (BIG), revealed dire, unknown effects of even mild traumatic brain injury. His groundbreaking work shows that mild concussions cause severe and long-lasting impairments in the brain’s ability to cleanse itself of toxins, potentially seeding it for Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other neurodegenerative problems. Read more.

Neurosurgery Without Scalpels
UVA neurosurgeon Jeff Elias, MD ’94, continued his pioneering work in the field of focused ultrasound with a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrating benefits of the scalpel-free surgery for patients with Parkinson’s symptoms that are more severe on one side of the body. Assessed on a scale of 1-44, study participants who received the high-intensity soundwaves saw an improvement of 10 points, while those who received placebo saw a difference of less than two. Elias’ prior work already paved the way for the FDA to approve the technology for the treatment of essential tremor and Parkinson’s tremor. Read more.

Surprise Discovery About Dying Cells Could Lead to New Treatment
Kodi S. Ravichandran, PhD, has recast our understanding of cell death, revealing that apoptotic cells are not inert but instead actively signal for their removal. The signals initiate specific gene programs in healthy nearby cells, including inflammation suppression and wound healing. He was able to leverage the discovery to disease severity of lung-graft rejection and inflammatory arthritis in mouse models. It was Ravichandran’s 12th paper in NatureRead more.

Immune Profiling Predicts C. Difficile Outcomes
William A. Petri Jr., MD ’82, PhD ’80, Fel ’88, continued his international leadership in the field of enteric infections by demonstrating the importance of the gut microbiome and bone marrow in determining susceptibility to amebiasis, a parasitic intestinal infection. He also developed a method to use immune profiling to predict C. difficile outcomes, setting the stage for precision medicine for the most common health care-associated infection in the United States. Read more here and here.

Registered Doximity members will receive an email with a link to the survey. When you receive yours, please consider voting for UVA Health.


David S. Wilkes, MD
Dean, UVA School of Medicine
James Carroll Flippin Professor of Medical Science

K. Craig Kent, MD
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs
University of Virginia