Pediatrics - Professor (Clinical), University of Utah

Primary Children's Hospital
100 N Mario Capecchi Drive

Salt Lake City, UT 84113


Dr. Nelson attended Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and then received his medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. He completed a residency in Pediatrics at St Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia PA, and fellowship training in Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. He is board-certified in Pediatric Emergency Medicine, and is fluent in medical Spanish. He is on the medical staffs of Primary Children’s Hospital, and the University of Utah Medical Center.

Dr. Nelson has been on the faculty of the University of Utah School of Medicine for 25 years. He is a Professor of Pediatrics, and is a member of the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine. He has served as the associate division chief, fellowship director, schedule coordinator, and currently, as Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Primary Children’s Hospital.

As the Medical Director of the only Pediatric Emergency Department (ED) in the Intermountain West, Dr. Nelson’s responsibilities include the overseeing the medical care provided to the over 40,000 ill or injured children seen in the ED annually. His administrative initiatives include creating more flexible staffing to better meet the challenge of highly variable patient volumes, and instituting a team-based approach to seeing patients, to minimize the number of times a patient history must be provided, and decrease communication missteps.

Dr. Nelson is a member of the Intermountain Emergency Medicine Development Team. Dr. Nelson is also involved in the development of new information systems for use within the Intermountain health care network, and is part of the ED team developing the iCentra electronic medical record. He has conducted numerous Quality Improvement studies within Primary Children’s Hospital, and is a member of the hospital’s Family Advisory Council.

Selected Bibliography:

Miescier MJ, Bryant RJ, Nelson DS.
Delayed sequence intubation with ketamine in 2 critically ill children.
Am J Emerg Med. 2016;34(6):1190.e1-2. PubMed abstract

Miescier MJ, Nelson DS, Firth SD, Kadish HA.
Children with asthma admitted to a pediatric observation unit.
Pediatr Emerg Care. 2005;21(10):645-9. PubMed abstract

Nelson DS, Gurr MB, Schunk JE.
Management of febrile children with urinary tract infections.
Am J Emerg Med. 1998;16(7):643-7. PubMed abstract

Holsti M, Kadish HA, Sill BL, Firth SD, Nelson DS.
Pediatric closed head injuries treated in an observation unit.
Pediatr Emerg Care. 2005;21(10):639-44. PubMed abstract

McDonnell WM, Nelson DS, Schunk JE.
Should we fear "flu fear" itself? Effects of H1N1 influenza fear on ED use.
Am J Emerg Med. 2012;30(2):275-82. PubMed abstract