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Honors and Awards

  • 2023 – Valley Children’s Healthcare Board of Trustees Meritorious Service Award for Medical Staff Champion in the Community
  • 2023 – Dr. World Productions Mentor of the Year
  • 2023 – Down Syndrome Association of Central California Provider of the Year
  • 2022-2023 – Valley Children’s Pediatric Residency Program Leader in Patient Advocacy
  • 2022 – Project Wish Upon A Star Aster Pediatric Hero Award
  • 2022 – Pediatric Health Hero Award given by California State Senator Melissa Hurtado
  • 2021 - Valley Children's Healthcare Board of Trustees Meritorious Service Award for Interprofessional Education
  • 2021- Aetna Healthcare’s “Aetna At the Heart” Award
  • 2021- Dr. World Productions Educator of the Year
  • 2020-2021 - Valley Children's Healthcare Pediatric Residency Social Media Influencer
  • 2019-2020- - Excellence in Primary Care Education Resident Teaching Award
Board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, Dr. Hailey Nelson joined Valley Children’s as a complex care pediatrician at the Charlie Mitchell Children’s Center in 2016. Dr. Nelson enjoys working with children of all ages and abilities and is especially passionate about providing the best possible care to medically fragile children and their families. She is also a licensed breastfeeding consultant, certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultants to support nursing mothers and their babies.

Prior to receiving her medical degree from the University of Washington School of Medicine, Dr. Nelson completed a post-baccalaureate fellowship at the National Human Genome Research Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health. She completed a pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters – Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia. During residency, she served as chief resident for a full program of 66 residents and earned a certificate of public health. Her contributions to pediatric healthcare research have been published in peer-reviewed publications including Molecular Genetics and Metabolism, the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology and the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.

As an official national spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Nelson regularly presents to local, statewide, and national audiences on important topics for both physicians and families, including appearances on CNN and NPR, and in The New York Times, USA Today, and The Chicago Tribune. Her presentations to physician peers cover a variety of topics, including self-care and physician wellness. She has also served on a number of the Academy’s committees on topics including genetics, fetal alcohol syndrome and COVID-19. As faculty for the AAP’s Infection Prevention Control: Risk Recognition and Communication ECHO (Extension for Community Health Care Outcomes) program as part of the AAP and CDC’s Project Firstline collaborative, Dr. Nelson mentors other physicians on essential infection prevention topics. Her lectures on triage decisions and care for complex patients with COVID-19 provided guidance to her fellow pediatricians on how to safely care for medically fragile patients during the pandemic.

In addition to physician education, Dr. Nelson is committed to giving back to her community through volunteerism and outreach. In 2023, she organized a dress and suit drive for the Down Syndrome Association of Central California’s Fairytale Ball, which collected 300+ dresses and 40 suits to help every individual with Down Syndrome feel like a prince or princess for the event. In addition, she volunteers monthly at community food distributions and is an official ambassador of the Central California Blood Bank.

In October 2023, Dr. Nelson transitioned from her role as Dr. America when she was crowned Dr. World 2024 at the Dr. World pageant. In this internationally-recognized role, she plans to use to educate, mentor and advocate for causes supporting children’s health and well-being.

However, Dr. Nelson is no stranger to advocating for children’s health. She regularly appears in local and national print and TV news media discussing pediatric healthcare and is a frequent contributor to Valley Children’s At the Heart blog. As the ambassador for Safe Kids Central California, Dr. Nelson hosts biweekly virtual Lunch and Learn sessions for parents covering a variety of safety and injury prevention topics. The 40+ episode Lunch and Learn series has reached an audience of more than 30,000 across social media platforms. In addition, she has spearheaded and obtained grant funding for the production of injury prevention videos in English and Spanish.

Dr. Nelson is driven by her dedication to education and mentorship. She is a core faculty member of Valley Children’s Pediatric Residency Program, Affiliated with Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Nelson also holds a clinical instructor (affiliate) faculty appointment at Stanford University School of Medicine.

In addition to her in-clinic and faculty duties, Dr. Nelson sits on several Valley Children’s committees and working groups, including the Corporate Compliance Committee, Clinical Competency Committee and Graduate Medical Education Committee. In her role as co-chair of Valley Children’s Clinical Learning Environment and Wellness Committee, Dr. Nelson champions resident wellness. She focuses not only on professional development resources for residents, but also incorporates social activities to support resident wellness to help residents find a healthy work-life balance and maintain their joy in medicine.

In her free time, Dr. Nelson enjoys spending time with her husband and three children, including doing art projects together and refining her skills as an expert slime maker. Her family enjoys swimming, riding bikes, and going for walks with their three rescue dogs.

Medical Education

  • Medical SchoolUniversity of Washington School of Medicine
  • ResidencyChildren’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters – Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA

Additional Information

  • Official national spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
  • Clinical Instructor (Affiliate) - Stanford School of Medicine
  • Current Dr. World pageant titleholder
  • Ambassador – Safe Kids Central California
  • Breakout speaker at the 2022 Central California Women's Conference
  • Specialty certification by the International Board of Lactation Consultants to support nursing mothers and their babies