Ricka Messer, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Pediatrics-Neurology

Medical School:
  • MD, University of Connecticut School of Medicine (2010)
Graduate School :
  • PhD, University of Connecticut Health Center (2010)
Undergraduate School:
  • BA, University of Texas System (TX) (2002)
  • University of Connecticut / Connecticut Children’s Medical Center (2012)
  • Johns Hopkins University Program, Chief Resident, Child Neurology (2015)
Languages: English
Department: Pediatrics-Neurology

Professional Titles

  • Director of the Pediatric Neurohospitalist Program
  • Medical Director of Clinical Informatics for Pediatric Neurology

Recognition & Awards

  • Century Award, Children's Hospital Colorado (2019)
    Recognizes a staff member with five or fewer years of training who has made major contributions to improving child health through committee work, leadership and advocacy.
  • Golden Stethoscope Award, Foundations of Doctoring Medical Student Program (2018)
    Subspecialty Preceptor
  • Paul G. Moe Excellence in Child Neurology Award, Pediatric Neurology Department (2017)
    For Exemplary Service in Teaching, Teamwork, and Patient Care
  • Education Chief Resident, Johns Hopkins Neurology Residency (2014)
  • Excellence in Teaching, Gold Humanism Award (2012)


  • Associate Professor (2015)
    School of Medicine, Neurology
    Pediatric neurology
  • Associate Professor (2015)
    School of Medicine, Pediatrics
    Pediatric neurology


  • Rosenthal S, Mazzio E, Wellman Gilbert H, Guistolisi S, Marks J, Jewell J, Straley M, Silveira L, Messer R, Martin J, Mistry R, Yonker ME, Press CA. Efficacy of IV Valproic Acid and Oral Valproic Acid Tapers for the Treatment of Pediatric Headaches in the Emergency Department. Neurol Clin Pract. 2023 Aug;13(4):e200170. PubMed PMID: 37292258
  • Martin JA, Sampey F, Feldman A, Silveira L, Press CA, Messer R, Barry M, Kaul P. Development and Evaluation of a Child Neurology Resident Curriculum for Communication Around Serious Illness. J Child Neurol. 2023 Apr;38(5):307-314. PubMed PMID: 37157829
  • Nash KB, Palaganas J, Abend NS, Hutchinson ML, Messer R, Moharir M, Piantino J, Press CA, Wells E. The State of Inpatient Child Neurology: A Survey of North American Academic Programs. Neurology. 2022 Sep 12. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 36096689
  • Mazzio E, Mistry RD, Rosenthal S, Ser E, Jewell J, Martin J, Messer R, Straley M, Leonard J, Press CA. Neuroimaging for Pediatric Non-First-Time Seizures in the Emergency Department. Neurol Clin Pract. 2022 Jun;12(3):e7-e13. PubMed PMID: 35747538
  • Hutchinson ML, Nash KB, Abend NS, Moharir M, Wells E, Messer RD, Palaganas J, Helbig I, Wietstock SO, Suslovic W, Gonzalez AK, Kaufman MC, Press CA, Piantino J. Multicenter Study of the Impact of COVID-19 Shelter-In-Place on Tertiary Hospital-based Care for Pediatric Neurologic Disease. Neurohospitalist. 2022 Apr;12(2):218-226. PubMed PMID: 35414846
  • Brajcich MR, Palau MA, Messer RD, Murphy ME, Marks J. Why the Maternal Medication List Matters: Neonatal Toxicity From Combined Serotonergic Exposures. Pediatrics. 2021 Feb;147(2). PubMed PMID: 33504611
  • Nash KB, Abend NS, Hutchinson ML, Messer RD, Wells EM. Reader response: Child neurology in the 21st century: More than the sum of our RVUs. Neurology. 2020 Dec 15;95(24):1117-1118. PubMed PMID: 33318160
  • Messer R, Knupp KG. Infantile Spasms: Opportunities to Improve Care. Semin Neurol. 2020 Apr;40(2):236-245. PubMed PMID: 32143232
  • Messacar K, Spence-Davizon E, Osborne C, Press C, Schreiner TL, Martin J, Messer R, Maloney J, Burakoff A, Barnes M, Rogers S, Lopez AS, Routh J, Gerber SI, Oberste MS, Nix WA, Abzug MJ, Tyler KL, Herlihy R, Dominguez SR. Clinical characteristics of enterovirus A71 neurological disease during an outbreak in children in Colorado, USA, in 2018: an observational cohort study. Lancet Infect Dis. 2020 Feb;20(2):230-239. PubMed PMID: 31859216
  • McGarry L, Messer R, Cree-Green M, Ray K, Knupp K. Incidence of Hypertension Among Children Treated With Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH) or Prednisolone for Infantile Spasms. J Child Neurol. 2020 Mar;35(3):215-220. PubMed PMID: 31769329
  • Wagnon JL, Barker BS, Hounshell JA, Haaxma CA, Shealy A, Moss T, Parikh S, Messer RD, Patel MK, Meisler MH. Pathogenic mechanism of recurrent mutations of SCN8A in epileptic encephalopathy. Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2015 Dec 21;3(2):114-23. PubMed PMID: 26900580
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Professional Memberships

  • American Medical Association (AMA), Member
  • American Academy of Neurology (AAN), Member
  • Child Neurology Society (CNS), Member
  • American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Member

Practice Locations

UCHealth Neurosciences Center - Anschutz Medical Campus
1635 Aurora Ct
4th Floor
Aurora, CO 80045

Children's Hospital Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
13123 East 16th Ave
Aurora, CO 80045

Hospital Affiliation
  • Children's Hospital Colorado
  • University of Colorado Hospital
Center Affiliations

Specialty Information

  • Child Neurology (2015)
  • Certified Epic Physician Builder, Certificate (2019)
  • Science of Clinical Investigation, Certificate (2014)
Conditions & Treatments
  • Brain and Nervous System - Traumatic and Acquired Brain Injuries
  • Brain and Nervous System - Stroke
  • Brain and Nervous System - Meningitis
  • Brain and Nervous System - Epilepsy
  • Brain and Nervous System - Multiple Sclerosis
  • Brain and Nervous System
Clinical Interests
Acquired brain injury and acute neurologic issues, including inpatient neurology consults and post-hospitalization outpatient follow-up. Abusive head trauma and infantile spasms are two areas of focus.

Care Philosophy
I strive to provide comprehensive care and up-to-date treatments for my patients, throughout their hospitalization and after. I also seek to be a compassionate resource for patients and families.

Public Speaking

General Information

Medical Schools:
  • MD, University of Connecticut School of Medicine (2010)
Graduate Schools:
  • PhD, University of Connecticut Health Center (2010)
Undergraduate Schools:
  • BA, University of Texas System (TX) (2002)
  • University of Connecticut / Connecticut Children’s Medical Center (2012)
Residency Programs:
  • Johns Hopkins University Program, Chief Resident, Child Neurology (2015)
Languages: English
Department: Pediatrics-Neurology
Contact Us
CU Anschutz
Fitzsimons Building

13001 East 17th Place
Campus Box C290
Aurora, CO 80045

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