UCI/CHOC Pediatric Hospital Medicine Fellowship Program

UC Irvine and CHOC partner to offer a two-year Pediatric Hospital Medicine (PHM) Fellowship training program. Our program aims to provide fellows with the training to become clinical experts in the care of hospitalized children, as well as academic leaders in the fields of quality improvement, research, advocacy and medical education. At the UCI/CHOC PHM Fellowship program, we strongly value our fellows’ unique academic goals, and seek to create a structured and supportive environment for fellows to pursue their clinical and academic passions through our individualized curriculum.

Contact Us

UCI/CHOC Pediatric Hospital Medicine Fellowship Program
1201 W. La Veta Ave.
Orange, CA 92868
Office (714) 509-8338

Cesar Plascencia
Fellowship Coordinator
Ph (562) 485-7490

Program Leadership

Jennifer Lusk, MD
Fellowship Director, Pediatric Hospital Medicine

Sameer Pathare, MD
Division Chief, Hospitalist Division

Alexandra Mihalek, MD
Assistant Fellowship Director, Pediatric Hospital Medicine

Cesar Plascencia
Fellowship Coordinator

Program Overview

Our ACGME accredited two-year training program includes approximately eight months of clinical service, eight months of dedicated scholarly/ research time, and eight months of individualized curriculum.

Clinical time consists of both electives and inpatient wards service and is spent on attending-only and resident teaching teams.  Rotations are primarily at the CHOC Orange campus with community experience at CHOC at Mission.  Some examples of clinical electives include vascular access, transport team (fly in our helicopter!), eating disorder medical stabilization, and surgical co-management.

Scholarly activity blocks are dedicated time for fellows to pursue their primary academic project; however, our vision is to produce well-rounded academic fellows. Thus, we encourage fellows to also engage in additional activities in the domains of research, quality improvement and patient safety, medical education, and advocacy.

Individualized curriculum can be tailored for each fellow’s specific interests and career goals, including additional research or clinical time.  Some examples of non-clinical electives include infection prevention, medical education, and administration/leadership/ healthcare.  This time could include work towards additional clinical or non-clinical certificates such as ultrasound, sedation, leadership, or medical education.  Fellows will not be expected to take call outside of their assigned clinical times.

Unique experiences are offered that make our program distinct.

  • Performance Excellence Program (PEP) – Each first year fellow is required to take this four-month intensive Quality Improvement (QI) course in the fall.  This allows for deeper understanding of QI principles while having a dedicated Performance Excellence coach guide you through your first project.
  • Eating disorder medical stabilization – At our community site, CHOC at Mission, we provide a specialized unit for the medical stabilization of patients with severe eating disorders.  During required community experience rotations, the fellow will be exposed to this program.  Fellows have an opportunity to complete a focused elective on this topic and immerse themselves in the multidisciplinary approach required for successful treatment of this unique population.
  • Complex care elective – This elective is strongly recommended for second year fellows to delve deeper into the care of children with medical complexity.  The fellow will round in the intensive care unit stepdown unit as well as our associated acute and subacute rehabilitation center.  Additionally, the fellow will see patients in CHOC’s Adolescent to Adult Bridge (A2B) clinic which helps patients and families navigate the difficult transition from pediatric to adult care using a multidisciplinary approach bringing together all clinical care providers as well as social work, case management, and pharmacy.
  • Administration, leadership, and healthcare rotation – The rotation introduces fellows to many of the intricacies of being a hospitalist ranging from billing and documentation, to division leadership and conflict resolution, to introductory MBA topics of healthcare administration.  Additionally, it provides longitudinal opportunities to shadow leaders at CHOC such as the chief medical officer, chief executive officer, division chief, department chair, and educational leadership.
Curriculum First Year Second Year
CHOC Inpatient Wards (attending-only or resident team) 4 weeks 6 weeks
CHOC at Mission Inpatient Wards (attending only, community hospital) 4 weeks
Palliative Care & Pain Management 2 weeks 2 weeks
Newborn/Neonatal Medicine 2 weeks 2 weeks
Sedation 2 weeks
Scholarly Activity 12 weeks 20 weeks
Individualized Curriculum 16 weeks 16 weeks

Who should apply?

The UCI/CHOC PHM Fellowship is looking for passionate, dedicated, and inquisitive pediatricians from diverse backgrounds who are interested in expanding and growing their clinical skill for which hospitalists are uniquely situated such as quality improvement, patient safety, medical education and advocacy.

The UCI School of Medicine and the UCI Graduate Medical Education Committee’s mission is to establish an inclusive culture and diverse workforce to promote excellence in medical education, research, and patient-centered care. We strive to have representation, which reflects our diverse community, with different race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, language, veteran status, disability, and socio-economic identities in the general workforce, as well as in leadership roles.

We are committed to equity in the recruitment and retention of residents, fellows, faculty and senior administrative staff. We aim to:

  1. Promote diversity of our residents and fellows in our ACGME-accredited training programs to more accurately reflect our Southern California community.
  2. Mentor and retain more residents and fellows of diverse backgrounds as UC Irvine faculty, thus establishing a more diverse workforce and supporting their career pathways towards leadership roles in academic medicine.

U.S. citizens, permanent residents and J1 VISA applicants are encouraged to apply.

Our Hospitals

For More virtual tours of CHOC: choc.org/about/virtual-tour

Learn more about CHOC here: choc.org/about

Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) is a 334-bed freestanding children’s hospital in Orange, California. CHOC is a regional referral center, level I trauma center, and the only freestanding children’s hospital in the county. The medical/surgical unit sees over 7,000 admission per year, and can provide fellows with a broad range of clinical exposure. CHOC pediatric hospitalists also provide care at a hospital-within-a-hospital at CHOC at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, California, which serves as a community-based site for fellows. For additional delivery and newborn hospitalist experience, fellows will spend two weeks each year at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California, an adult community hospital with over 4,000 births per year.

CHOC serves over 2-million children across four counties, and is dedicated to the education and training of medical students, residents and fellows.


Each fellow will receive research education and training, and will conduct a scholarly project with supervision provided by an assigned faculty mentor. Fellows will have a minimum of eight months of protected time for scholarly activity that is divided over the two-year program. Fellows will select a Scholarly Oversight Committee to oversee their scholarly project design and progress, and are expected to produce a scholarly work product as outlined by the American Board of Pediatrics by the completion of their fellowship program.

The Fellows Core Curriculum will provide training in biostatistics, research methodology and study design, research ethics, evidence-based medicine, grant preparation, critical literature review, manuscript writing, and quality improvement. Fellows also will complete a four-month intensive quality improvement certification course (CHOC Performance Excellence Program) during their first year of fellowship, and have the opportunity to enroll in courses offered through the University of California, Irvine.

Conferences and Teaching

Fellows receive myriad educational opportunities through didactics, conferences, committee membership and experiential learning, including:

  • Hospital medicine core teaching conferences –Biweekly, and the fellow is expected to lead
  • Fellows core curriculum – Monthly
  • Hospitalist research and quality improvement committee – Monthly, and the fellow is expected to lead twice per year
  • Medical & neurology morbidity and mortality – Monthly, and the fellow is expected to lead twice per year
  • Hospitalist research and quality improvement group – Monthly
  • Additional hospital-wide committee membership (e.g. Infection Prevention Committee, Evidence Based Medicine Committee, Medicine-Nutrition Safety Committee, etc).
  • Fellows are encouraged to attend at least one national or regional conference per year (eg. PAS, PHM, AAP, APPD etc).
  • Fellows are expected to present their research at CHOC Research Day and at national and regional conferences.


Four weeks paid vacation per year

Health, Dental, and Vision Insurance for fellows and eligible dependents (institution paid)

Long Term Disability and Life Insurance

DEA Licensure fee exemption

Professional license renewal reimbursement

Board examination fee reimbursement

Annual education/CME stipend

Annual book fund stipend

Housing allowance

BLS/PALS renewal reimbursement

Clinical Faculty

Learn more about our PHM division, current research and QI projects, and faculty here.

How to Apply

We are participating in the NRMP Pediatric Specialties Fall Match. Please see website for applicable match deadlines. We will be using ERAS to collect application documents and to schedule interviews. Interviews will be held virtually this year.

Required application materials include:

Personal statement or statement of interest describing how our PHM fellowship will help you achieve your career objectives.

Current curriculum vitae

Three letters of recommendation, with one preferable from the residency program director or current clinical supervisor for those who have finished residency

The deadline to receive applications is TBD.

Please contact our fellowship coordinator, Nichole Hinesely, with questions at mailto:nichole.hinesely@choc.org.

Follow the CHOC PHM Fellowship Program


See the latest updates about our program and fellows: https://twitter.com/CHOC_PHMFellows