San Diego County

3020 Children's Way
MC 5035
San Diego, CA 92123




Rady Children's Specialists of San Diego

Medical Group / IPA


Medical School

Pontifical Javerian University School of Medicine


University of the Valley School of Medicine


University of the Valley School of Medicine


UC San Diego

Board Certifications





Dr. Paula Aristizabal is a hematologist-oncologist at Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego and an associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at UC San Diego. She completed her fellowship in pediatric hematology and oncology at UC San Diego School of Medicine and a Master of Advanced Studies in clinical research at UC San Diego.

In her clinical work at the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, Dr. Aristizabal specializes in the care of children with cancer and blood disorders, with an emphasis on leukemia, lymphoma and histiocytic disorders. She is the Division's Quality Improvement Lead and chair of the Quality Improvement Committee. Dr. Aristizabal has also been the director of Rady Children's International Outreach Program since 2008 and has partnered with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to lead efforts to establish pediatric oncology programs in resource-constrained settings, including Mexico and Colombia. She is currently an advisor to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Global Pediatric Medicine Department.

Dr. Aristizabal's research interests include ethics, patient-provider communication and global health, with a focus on discovering the causes of pediatric cancer disparities and developing strategies to better serve patients, including those from underserved communities. She is a member of the UC San Diego Clinical and Translational Research Institute , the UC San Diego Dissemination and Implementation Science Center and the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center Population Sciences, Disparities and Community Engagement.

Dr. Aristizabal has completed training in implementation science, qualitative research, mixed methods, bioethics and quality improvement, and is the principal investigator of several clinical research studies. She enjoys mentoring trainees and junior faculty in diverse quality improvement and research projects. She has received research grant funding from various organizations, including the National Cancer Institute, the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, the American Society of Hematology, the Alex Lemonade Stand Foundation, the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Hyundai Hope on Wheels. She is currently the principal investigator of a National Cancer Institute-funded Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award to Promote Faculty Diversity in Biomedical Research (K08), aimed at implementing a navigation intervention to improve research literacy and diversity in pediatric cancer clinical trials. She publishes her work in peer-reviewed journals and presents her work at both national and international meetings.

Among her honors and accomplishments, she received the National Cancer Institute Minority Spotlight recognition (2019), the Mitchell Thorp Foundation "Pillars of Hope" award (2018), the UC San Diego Hispanic Center of Excellence Scholar award (2018), the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinician-Educator award (2016), the American Society of Hematology Scholar award (2016), the University of California Office of the President "Team Science" Scholar award (2015) and the Rice University-Puentes Consortium Scholar award (2015).

Dr. Aristizabal completed her medical degree and pediatrics residency in Colombia, her home country, and she is fluent in Spanish.


Diverse populations and enrollment in pediatric cancer clinical trials: Challenges and opportunities
Paula Aristizabal

Sociodemographic and clinical characteristics associated with vitamin D status in newly diagnosed pediatric cancer patients
Paula Aristizabal, Michael Sherer, Bianca P Perdomo, Esteban Castelao, Courtney D Thornburg, James Proudfoot, Elizabeth Jacobs, Ron S Newfield, Peter Zage, William Roberts, Maria Elena Martinez

Treatment of Recurrent Refractory Pediatric Pre-B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Using Inotuzumab Ozogamicin Monotherapy Resulting in CD22 Antigen Expression Loss as a Mechanism of Therapy Resistance
Megan R Paul, Victor Wong, Paula Aristizabal, Dennis J Kuo

The "Golden Hour": a capacity-building initiative to decrease life-threating complications related to neutropenic fever in patients with hematologic malignancies in low- and middle-income countries
Mario Ornelas-Sanchez, Laura Nuno-Vazquez, Adriana Loera-Reyna, Dara Torres-Reyes, Rebeca Rivera-Gomez, Alicia Sanchez, Mitzy Romano, Miriam Gonzalez, Miguela A Caniza, Paula Aristizabal

An overview of disparities in childhood cancer: Report on the Inaugural Symposium on Childhood Cancer Health Disparities, Houston, Texas, 2016
Michael E Scheurer, Philip J Lupo, Joachim Schuz, Logan G Spector, Joseph L Wiemels, Richard Aplenc, M Monica Gramatges, Joshua D Schiffman, Maria S Pombo-de-Oliveira, Jun J Yang, Julia E Heck, Catherine Metayer, Manuela A Orjuela-Grimm, Kira Bona, Paula Aristizabal, Mary T Austin, Karen R Rabin, Heidi V Russell, David G Poplack

Implementing a Childhood Cancer Outcomes Surveillance System Within a Population-Based Cancer Registry
Oscar Ramirez, Paula Aristizabal, Alia Zaidi, Raul C Ribeiro, Luis E Bravo

Capacity-building initiative to improve clinical outcomes in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia in the US-Mexico border region
Nuno-Vasquez L, Rivera-Gomez R, Ornelas M, Ribeiro RC, Roberts W, Aristizabal P

Addressing regional disparities in pediatric oncology: Results of a collaborative initiative across the Mexican-North American border
Paula Aristizabal, Spencer Fuller, Rebeca Rivera-Gomez, Mario Ornelas, Laura Nuno, Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, Raul Ribeiro, William Roberts

Medulloblastoma With Extensive Nodularity: Tailored Therapy in a Low-resource Setting
Paula Aristizabal, Luke Burns, Rebeca Rivera-Gomez, Michael L Levy, William Roberts, John R Crawford

Improving Pediatric Cancer Care Disparities Across the United States-Mexico Border: Lessons Learned from a Transcultural Partnership between San Diego and Tijuana
Paula Aristizabal, Spencer Fuller, Rebeca Rivera, David Beyda, Raul C Ribeiro, William Roberts

Factors associated with cervical cancer screening in a safety net population
Meredith A Heberer, Ian K Komenaka, Jesse N Nodora, Chiu-Hsieh Hsu, Sonal G Gandhi, Lauren E Welch, Marcia E Bouton, Paula Aristizabal, Barry D Weiss, and Maria Elena Martinez

The CDC definition of mucosal barrier injury associated bloodstream infection improves accurate detection of preventable bacteremia rates at a pediatric cancer center in a low- to middle-income country
Dara Torres, MD,Miriam Gonzalez, MD, MSc,Adriana Loera, MD,Marco Aguilera, RN,George Relyea, MS,Paula Aristizabal, MD,and Miguela A. Caniza, MD

Participation in pediatric oncology research protocols: Racial/ethnic, language and age-based disparities
Paula Aristizabal, Jenelle Singer, Renee Cooper, Kristen J Wells, Jesse Nodora, Mehrzad Milburn, Sheila Gahagan, Deborah E Schiff, Maria E Martinez

Factors associated with surgical management in an underinsured, safety net population
Lisa M Winton, Jesse N Nodora, Maria Elena Martinez, Chiu-Hsieh Hsu, Brano Djenic, Marcia E Bouton, Paula Aristizabal, Elizabeth M Ferguson, Barry D Weiss, Ian K Komenaka

Preoperative Presentation of a Variant of Cerebellar Mutism Syndrome in a Young Boy With Juvenile Pilocytic Astrocytoma
Dillon Y Chen, Paula Aristizabal, John R Crawford

Descriptive epidemiology of childhood cancer in Cali: Colombia 1977-2011
Luis Eduardo Bravo, Luz Stella Garcia, Paola Collazos, Paula Aristizabal, Oscar Ramirez

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