Heather J. Fullerton, MD, MAS
Associate Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics
Director, Pediatric Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease Center
Kenneth Rainin Chair in Pediatric Stroke Care
Box #: 0114
Dr. Heather Fullerton is a pediatric vascular neurologist at UCSF, one of only a few child neurologists in the country with additional board certification in vascular neurology. She is the Kenneth Rainin Chair in Pediatric Stroke Care, Director of the Pediatric Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center, and Co-Director of the Stroke Sciences Group.
After graduating from Baylor College of Medicine in 1996, Dr. Fullerton came to UCSF for her pediatrics residency and child neurology fellowship, and then joined the Child Neurology faculty in July 2002. Early in her training, she cared for a 2-year-old girl who suffered a stroke caused by a tear in a neck artery from a fall. After realizing the paucity of research in this field--and lack of child neurologists with expertise in stroke--she chose to dedicate her career to the care of such children. She completed a vascular neurology fellowship between 2002 and 2003, and a two-year Master's in Clinical Research at UCSF in 2005. She began doing clinical research in the field of childhood stroke, collaborating with the well-renowned adult stroke researchers at UCSF. After starting a pediatric stroke clinic in 2002, she later established the multidisciplinary Pediatric Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center in 2006.
Her research efforts have already improved the care of children with stroke. She has performed groundbreaking work identifying which children with stroke are at risk for suffering a recurrence. This information not only guides physicians in determining which high risk children need preventative treatment, but also provides enormous reassurance to families of children with low recurrence risk. She has identified a previously unrecognized ethnic disparity in stroke risk, and is performing ongoing research on the source of this disparity. Her publications also include research on pediatric arterial dissections, gender disparities in childhood stroke risk, stroke rates in children with sickle cell disease, hemorrhagic stroke risk in children with arteriovenous malformations, and neurodevelopmental outcome in children with vein of Galen malformations. The objectives of her current studies include determining the association between childhood infections and ischemic stroke, and analyzing the costs of and quality of life after a childhood stroke.
In addition to her own research efforts, she is a leader of the International Pediatric Stroke Study (IPSS), an international collaborative effort of more than 50 investigators, and has recently received a large NIH grant to perform a multi-center study of arterial disease in children with ischemic stroke.