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David Timothy H. Tanaka, MD

Professor of Pediatrics
Campus mail: 2424 Erwin Road, Hock Plaza Suite 504, Durham, NC 27710
Phone: (919) 681-6033
Email address:

Past research interests focused on the development of neurokinin-mediated airway neuromodulation. Present research has focused on improving resident education, clinical operations, and health sciences finance.

Current research in resident education involves the acquisition of resident skills. Present projects explore the acqiusition of intubation skills as well as the potential for computer simulation and visual depiction of the human airway to spped the learning process.

Current research into clinical operations includes the use of clinical databases to improve patient safety and care. A major effort is presently underway to understand and identify key components associated with GI inflammation in the neonate.

Current administrative research interests includes revenue analysis for the division and hospital as well as management engineering analysis for bed utilization. Accomplishments to date include elimination of $2 million debt in ICN, initiation of PDC pilot project and acceptance of modelling approach with hospital management engineering; identification and allocatuion of medicaid supplemental payments (est. $4-5 million). Recent work in the general area of professional charge capture, effects of light pollution in the ICN, and use of biophotonics in the clinical setting.

Education and Training

  • M.D., Johns Hopkins University, 1979


Puia-Dumitrescu, Mihai, David T. Tanaka, Tracy G. Spears, Cecil J. Daniel, Karan R. Kumar, Kamlesh Athavale, Sandra E. Juul, and P Brian Smith. “Patterns of phlebotomy blood loss and transfusions in extremely low birth weight infants.” J Perinatol 39, no. 12 (December 2019): 1670–75.

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Blake, Stephanie McCallum, David Tanaka, Lisa M. Bendz, Suzanne Staebler, and Debra Brandon. “Evaluation of the Financial and Health Burden of Infants at Risk for Respiratory Syncytial Virus.” Adv Neonatal Care 17, no. 4 (August 2017): 292–98.

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DeRienzo, Christopher M., Ryan J. Shaw, Phillip Meanor, Emily Lada, Jeffrey Ferranti, and David Tanaka. “A discrete event simulation tool to support and predict hospital and clinic staffing.” Health Informatics J 23, no. 2 (June 2017): 124–33.

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Knobel-Dail, Robin B., David T. Tanaka, Diane Holditch-Davis, and John White. “Perfusion Index in Very Low Birth Weight Premature Infants During Their First 2 Weeks of Life.” Biol Res Nurs 19, no. 1 (January 2017): 45–52.

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DeRienzo, C., J. A. Kohler, E. Lada, P. Meanor, and D. Tanaka. “Demonstrating the relationships of length of stay, cost and clinical outcomes in a simulated NICU.” J Perinatol 36, no. 12 (December 2016): 1128–31.

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Neill, Sara, Sarah Haithcock, P Brian Smith, Ronald Goldberg, Margarita Bidegain, David Tanaka, Charlene Carriker, and Jessica E. Ericson. “Sustained Reduction in Bloodstream Infections in Infants at a Large Tertiary Care Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.” Adv Neonatal Care 16, no. 1 (February 2016): 52–59.

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Kohler, J. A., R. N. Goldberg, and D. T. Tanaka. “Medicaid policy changes and its detrimental effects on neonatal reimbursement and care.” Journal of Health Care Finance 42, no. 2 (September 1, 2015).


DeMeo, Stephen D., Lakshmi Katakam, Ronald N. Goldberg, and David Tanaka. “Predicting neonatal intubation competency in trainees.” Pediatrics 135, no. 5 (May 2015): e1229–36.

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Rattray, B. N., D. M. Kraus, L. R. Drinker, R. N. Goldberg, D. T. Tanaka, and C. M. Cotten. “Antenatal magnesium sulfate and spontaneous intestinal perforation in infants less than 25 weeks gestation: Editorial comment.” Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey 70, no. 3 (January 1, 2015): 160–62.

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Rattray, B. N., D. M. Kraus, L. R. Drinker, R. N. Goldberg, D. T. Tanaka, and C. M. Cotten. “Antenatal magnesium sulfate and spontaneous intestinal perforation in infants less than 25 weeks gestation.” J Perinatol 34, no. 11 (November 2014): 819–22.

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