New Multidisciplinary Clinic Brings Innovative, Child-Focused Care for Head and Neck Disorders


UCSF has launched the Pediatric Head and Neck Disorders Clinic led by pediatric otolaryngologist Grace Banik, MD. Part of the broader UCSF Pediatric Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Program, the clinic is the first of its kind on the Peninsula, integrating various specialties to effectively treat head and neck conditions among children.

Origins of the Multidisciplinary Clinic   

Dr. Banik champions the collaborative model for advancing treatment of pediatric head and neck disorders. “It’s been shown that multidisciplinary care ultimately leads to better outcomes,” Dr. Banik says. “We have found this is not only true of thyroid cancer but also of other rare or unusual head and neck disorders.” Dr. Banik’s expertise in pediatric thyroid surgery complements the diverse specialties represented within the clinic, including endocrinology, radiology and oncology.

Advanced Equipment and Expertise

The clinic benefits from access to UCSF’s advanced tools, technology and expertise. “For instance, we can utilize a specialized device that allows for enhanced detection of parathyroid glands during head and neck surgery,” Dr. Banik explains. “This helps prevent complications, making it a safer procedure.” Additionally, the clinic offers same-day services such as needle biopsies at the Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) Biopsy Clinic at Mission Bay, streamlining the diagnosis process for young patients.

Ongoing Research and Innovation


The team also has a collective passion for research, enabling them to continually improve patient care and tailor it to the specific needs of children. Dr. Banik’s research is focused on characterizing the biological basis of pediatric thyroid cancer and unraveling how it differs from adult thyroid cancer.

Specialized Pediatric Services

Operating out of a children’s hospital allows Dr. Banik to provide specialized pediatric care unmatched by general adult facilities. Young patients benefit from dedicated pediatric anesthesiologists and specialists who are adept at safely managing and navigating complex pediatric conditions.

Aerodigestive Clinic

In addition to the head and neck clinic, UCSF’s Pediatric ENT Program features an aerodigestive clinic that brings together ENT, pulmonology, gastroenterology, speech therapy and nutrition services.

Tongue-Tie Clinic

The tongue-tie clinic includes specialists in ENT, speech-language pathology, lactation and breastfeeding medicine. “We have a number of these different multidisciplinary programs that enable us to provide more complete but efficient care,” says Dr. Banik.

Care Made Just for Kids

Minimizing Stress

Above all, the clinic remains acutely aware that children are not just little adults. Dr. Banik says, “We can’t always apply the same diagnostic technique, such as an MRI, where we are obtaining information that is critical for a diagnosis but potentially quite scary and even traumatic for a child.”

Tailored Interventions

The clinic calls on resources, including UCSF Child Life Services to help minimize stress and UCSF Pediatric Anesthesia Services to provide light sedation for diagnostic studies, when needed. They weigh every intervention carefully to ensure it’s necessary and conducted in a way that is as gentle to the child as possible.

The clinical staff and support team also know that their patients’ families are facing a vulnerable time. That’s why, Dr. Banik says, the team is deeply driven by the trust parents put in them and is dedicated to providing the best care possible for children.

Dr. Banik sees patients with head and neck disorders in Redwood Shores on the Peninsula and performs surgery at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco in Mission Bay.

Refer a patient.