banner Click here for the Department of Neurology Home Page Click here for the UC Irvine Home Page Click here for the School of Medicine Home Page


The Department of Neurology a the UC Irvine's School of Medicine offers a highly competitive three-year residency program with training at UC Irvine Medical Center and the VA Long Beach Healthcare System. The program matches five residents a year, with 15 residents total per year.

The integrated neurology residency program focuses on training excellent clinicians, offering:

  • A strong focus on clinical neurology training
  • Expertise and training in all neurological subspecialties
  • EEG rotations with availability for a one-year to two-year fellowship in epilepsy and EEG
  • EMG rotations with availability for an accredited one- to two-year fellowship in neuromuscular and EMG
  • A one-year post residency fellowship at one of the first Joint Commission-certified primary stroke centers in the nation
  • A two-year, post-resdency fellowship with the neuroscience intensive care unit at UC Irvine Medical Center's Douglas Hospital
  • Extensive teaching and training in neurological disorders
  • Daily rounds on multiple neurology services
Program Objectives »

UC Irvine Department of Neurology uses the six competence areas identified by the ACGME for organization of educational objectives and assessment methods. The six general competencies are:

  • Patient care that is compassionate, appropriate and effective for the treatment of health problem and the promotion of health.
  • Medical knowledge about established and evolving biomedical, clinical and cognate sciences, as well as the application of this knowledge to patient care.
  • Practice-based learning and improvement that involves the investigation and evaluation of care for patients. The appraisal and assimilation of scientific evidence and improvements in patient care.
  • Interpersonal and communication skills that result in the effective exchange of information and collaboration with patients, their families and other health professionals.
  • Professionalism, as manifested through a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities, adherence to ethical principles and sensitivity to patients of diverse backgrounds.
  • Systems-based practice, as manifested by actions that demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of healthcare, as well as the ability to call effectively on other resources in the system to provide optimal health care.
Teaching Hospitals »

UC Irvine Medical Center

UC Irvine Medical Center is a 444-bed academic medical center and principal clinical facility for the School of Medicine's teaching and research programs. The following services are provided: medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, family medicine, pathology, radiology, ophthalmology, neurology, anesthesiology, and pain management and rehabilitation. In addition, the medical center has cardiac, neonatal, respiratory, burn, and medical-surgical intensive care units. It is the designated countywide Level I tertiary trauma referral center.

The Department of Neurology provides inpatient care, consultations and outpatient clinics in general neurology as well as in multiple subspecialties. Diagnostic tests are also performed through the department including electroencephalograms (EEG), nerve conduction studies and electromyography studies.

VA Long Beach Healthcare System

The VA Long Beach Healthcare System (VALB) is an approximately 200-bed facility. The Neurology residents rotate through EEG as an outpatient, attend continuity clinics every other week on one of two days per week, and have the option of rotating through many of the elective outpatient clinics including EMG, neuromuscular, EEG, epilepsy, movement disorders, traumatic brain injury, and more.

Residency Curriculum »

PGY-2: (subject to change)

  • 2-3 months of non-stroke
  • 2-3 months of stroke service
  • 1 month of VA consults
  • 2-3 months of night float
  • 1 month of neurology ICU
  • 1 month of psych
  • 1 month of outpatient clinics
  • 1 month of vacation

PGY-3: (subject to change)

  • 3-4 months UCI inpatient (split between stroke and general neurology services)
  • 1 month EEG (at the VA)
  • 1-2 months at CHOC
  • 1-2 months of elective
  • 1 month outpatient
  • 1-2 months of night float
  • 1-2 months of outpatient
  • 1 month of neuro ICU
  • 1 month vacation

PGY-4: (subject to change)

  • 3-4 months UCI in-patient (split between general neurology and stroke services)
  • 1-2 months at CHOC 
  • 2 months neuropathology
  • 2-3 months of elective
  • 1 month neurology ICU
  • 1 month of night float
  • 1 month of vacation

Pediatric Neurology Adult Neurology Year (Year 1):

  • 2-3 months outpatient neurology at the Long Beach VA Medical Center
  • 1-2 months outpatient neurology at UCIMC
  • 3 months inpatient neurology consults Long Beach VA Medical Center
  • 1 month inpatient stroke at UCIMC
  • 1 month inpatient non-stroke at UCIMC
  • 1 month night float at UCIMC
  • 1 month Psychiatry at Long Beach VA Medical Center
  • 1 month vacation

Training in each successive year is designed to increase the trainee’s responsibility and sophistication with regard to patient care.

Inpatient Curriculum »

Stroke and non-stroke services have a senior resident (PGY3 or PGY4) and each has 1-2 junior residents. The typical day on the wards consists of:

  • Bedside rounds — Patients on the neurology inpatient services are seen by the team. Bedside teaching is emphasized as well as review of pertinent imaging and other diagnostic tests. Plans for patient care are reviewed.
  • Conferences/Education Lectures — These are held daily at UC Irvine Medical Center. 
  • Patient care — Plans are implemented for patient care as discussed at rounds. See new patients in consultation or for admission to the inpatient neurology service.
  • Sign out — A detailed transfer of patient information from one resident to another at the end of a shift or rotation.
Residential Supervision »

Residents at UC Irvine Medical Center and VALB are supervised by board-certified neurology attendings most of whom have additional expertise in a specific subspecialty. An attending is available either on-site or by pager 24 hours 7 days a week.

As residents progress in the program, they are delegated increasing responsibility for decisions related to patient care.

Didactics »

Every Monday morning from 8-9am, there is a morning report with the program director or occasionally the attending on service.  Interesting inpatient cases are presented and reviewed in detail with the residents and medical students.  Attendance is required for all residents in the inpatient services and medical students rotating through these rotations. 

Every Tuesday morning from 8-9am, there is morning report with the program chair or occasionally another attending.  Again, interesting inpatient cases are presented and reviewed in detail.  Attendance is required for all residents in the inpatient services and medical students rotating through these rotations. Journal Club/Board Review is held every Tuesday afternoon on a weekly basis where recently published articles and resident board review sessions for the residents and medical students are held at UCI.  This club/review is designed to enhance the residents/ knowledge and learn up to date evidence-based medicine.

Each Wednesday morning, there is an interdisciplinary neuroradiology conference where films of inpatients and outpatients are reviewed primarily by senior neuroradiology attendings.  The conference is attended by faculty from neurology and neurosurgery who actively engage in discussions regarding patient presentations, radiologic diagnosis and treatment plans.  Residents are strongly encouraged to actively participate in this conference.  Then, from 12pm-1pm there is a mandatory lecture for all residents on all services on miscellaneous topics on EMG/Neuromuscular, Epilepsy, Neuroradiology, Movement Disorders, Cognitive Neurology, Neuro-Immunology, and other topics related to neurology and its subspecialties. 

Each Thursday morning from 8-9am, there are scheduled EEG and Epilepsy lectures for residents to become more acquainted with how to read EEGs and care for epilepsy patients.  These conferences are focused at the residents' level and are an excellent opportunity for exposure and learning about Epilepsy.  EEG technicians and staff also attend these lectures as well as medical students on inpatient rotations.  Each Thursday afternoon, an interdisciplinary stroke conference is held and attended by stroke attendings, neuroradiologists neurosurgeons and neuro-interventionalists.  Films from all stroke patients from the previous week are reviewed.  Neuroanatomy and localization are reviewed as well as treatment plans.  All residents and medical students are strongly encouraged to attend. 

Each Friday morning, there are multiple scheduled didactic sessions.  Grand Rounds are held each Friday morning at 8 a.m.  Lectures are given by UC Irvine faculty as well as numerous outstanding visiting clinicians and researchers from all over the world in the field of neurology.  Attendance is required.  Each Friday morning, there is also Neurosurgery Grand Rounds at 9 a.m. which neurology residents are encouraged to attend.  For the first two months of every academic year, these Friday grand rounds lectures are "Summer stock" lectures for residents which cover common neurological emergencies and subspecialty emergencies.

Resident Teaching Opportunities »

The department offers third-year UC Irvine medical students a four-week neurology elective.

Medical students from outside schools can also elect to rotate through UC Irvine's neurology service.

Research Opportunities »

Although the emphasis of UC Irvine's neurology program is clinical neurology, residents are exposed to and may participate in research during their residency.

It is an expectation of the program that each resident develops a research project during the three years of residency.

An annual research day is held in the spring where all residents present their research. These presentations may include traditional hypothesis-driven research, as well as case series or case reports.

Recreational, Cultural and Social Opportunities »

The climate of Southern California is defined as semitropical and semi-arid; the temperature ranges from 50-75 degrees in the winter and 60-90 degrees in the summer. The climate and proximity of the mountains and the ocean allow for a wide variety of activities from skiing, which is available in the San Bernardino mountains, to windsurfing, sailing and other water sports.

Superb beaches are available within an easy drive. It is possible to swim in the ocean almost eight months of the year/ Boating, surfing, skin diving and fishing are year-round sports. The area abounds with jogging and bike paths, and there are numerous public golf courses and tennis courts in the metropolitan area.

The Los Angeles-Orange County area offers a wide choice of entertainment activities. The Los Angeles County, Norton Simon and Getty museums and Huntington Library have extensive art collections. There also are a number of smaller galleries throughout the two-county area.

The Segerstrom Center for the Arts and South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, as well as the Music Center and Disney Hall in downtown Los Angeles, are major theaters for symphony, drama and ballet. There also are many smaller theaters offering diverse dramatic material within easy driving distance in Orange and Los Angeles counties.

Pop concerts with well-known artists are given both indoors and outdoors throughout the year. For Ducks, Lakers, Angeles, Clippers sports fans, there are professional teams in baseball, basketball and hockey. The area is equally well known for its collegiate teams and the Rose Bowl.

The extensive freeway system makes all of these activities readily available. San Diego and the U.S.-Mexico border are only a two-hour drive away.

International Applicants »

We also consider applications from qualified international medical graduates through ERAS.  We do not accept applicants outside the Match or ERAS systems.

International medical graduate applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.  We do not sponsor visas.  We cannot interview graduates from international medical schools until they provide us with a copy of their Postgraduate Training Authorization Letter, also known as a California Letter, from the California Medical Board.  There are no exceptions to this policy.

Please note that your medical school must be on the state board's list of approved institutions and that the authorization letter process can take up to a year.  We also prefer those who passed their USMLE examinations on the first attempt.

Clinical experience (with supportive letters) in the United States is strongly recommended for international graduates.  We also prefer applicants who have graduated from medical school within the previous three years and have been involved in clinical care since graduation.

Salary and Fringe Benefits »

The current annual salary for residents as of July 1, 2017 is as follows:

  • PGY2 $57,408
  • PGY3 $59,663
  • PGY4 $62,018

Other benefits:

Residents are offered four weeks of vacation leave.

Residents also are provided with no-cost medical, dental and vision insurance, including coverage for their dependents (spouse/children/domestic partner). Long-term disability insurance also is provided.

Residents are also provided with professional liability coverage for all activities that are approved components of the residency program.

View more information about resident housing ›
Current Residents »

Program Directors


Lilit Mnatsakanyan, MD
Program Director

Dr. Mnatsakanyan received her medical degree from Yerevan State Medical University in Armenia, completed residency in adult neurology at the University of Chicago Medical Center and a two-year fellowship at UCLA /Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Clinical Neurophysiology/Epilepsy. She joined UCI department of Neurology as an Assistant Clinical Professor after completing her fellowship in 2011. She is one of the epileptologists in our state of the art Comprehensive Epilepsy center involved in medical and surgical management of complex epilepsy patients, video electroencephalography (EEG), continuous EEG monitoring in critically ill, ictal spectroscopy, advanced imaging, epilepsy surgery, neuromodulation device therapy, electrocorticography, and functional brain mapping. She is the director of the intraoperative monitoring program, providing real-time neurophysiological monitoring during cranial and spine surgeries. Her educational activities include teaching, resident continuity clinic and, clinical research activities. She enjoys spending time with the residents. In her free time she likes spending time with family and friends, attending classical music performances, traveling, reading, hiking and enjoying sunny beaches of Southern California.

Adult Neurology Residents PGY-4

Noriko Anderson, M.D. - Chief Resident

Samarjeet Bajwa, M.D.

Mark Farag, M.D. - Chief Resident

Afra Janarious, M.D.

Demi Tran, M.D.

Adult Neurology Residents PGY-3

Keith Cochran, M.D. 

Joseph Lu, D.O.

Neil Manering, M.D.

Sahar Osman, M.D.

Erik Valenti, M.D.

Adult Neurology Residents PGY-2

Maryam Hosseini, M.D.

Maya Hrachova, D.O.

Kevin Kapur, M.D.

Shadi Milani, D.O.

Jeffrey Mullen, M.D.

Program Coordinators

Jean Gottbreht, BS
Residency Coordinator
Jean grew up on a farm in North Dakota and graduated from Minot State University with a BS degree in Education.  She lived 5 years in Wyoming and then in 1987 moved to California. She took a 1-month temp job at UCI in 1987 and has never left.  Jean and Bill have been married 35 years and have 3 grown children, whom have all graduated from University of Colorado, Boulder. .  In addition they have 5 “out of this world” grandchildren.  She loves being “mom” to the residents but really LOVES being Grandma. She loves time together with her grown family.  She is a huge fan of the RED SOX and really enjoys jigsaw puzzles.  If in the mood, she enjoys cooking and baking.

Meet our 2017 - 2018 Fellows and Residents


Past Fellows and Residents »

On average, one to two graduating residents per year choose to pursue subspecialty fellowship training after residency. Many graduates choose to enter into private practice, group practice or join HMO organizations. Below is a list of recent graduates and where they have gone:

Yr Grad Fellowship (if applicable)
Monica Lavian, DO 2017 Neuromuscular Fellowship UC Irvine
Tim Lai, MD 2017 Private Practice Fountain Valley, CA
John Parker, MD 2017 Neurphysiology Fellowship USC
Arnold Brizuela, MD 2016 Neurophysiology Fellowship USC

Dana McDermott, DO

2016 Memory Disorders Fellowship UC San Francisco
Daniel O'Connell 2016 Neuro Oncology Fellowship UCLA
Neggy Rismanchi, MD, PhD 2016 Rady Children's Hospital San Diego, CA
Olivia Kim, MD 2016 Private Practice CHOC
Sonia Nayyar, MD 2016
Caroline Peyronnard, MD 2016
Kristofer Nissenen, MD 2015 Kaizen Brain Center UC San Diego
Mariano Porto, MD 2015 Neurophysiology fellowship UT Health Science Center San   Antonio
Nassim Naderi, MD 2015 Neurology Faculty University of Texas, Houston
Michael Sy, MD, PhD 2015 Neurology Faculty UC Irvine
Victor Doan, MD 2015 Neurology Specialist Hoag Hospital
Anna Morenkova, MD, PhD 2014 Movement Disorders fellowship UC Irvine
Farzin Pedoim, MD 2014 Movement Disorders fellowship Loma Linda University
Brian Kaiser, DO 2014 Private Practice Colorado
Susan Sifers, MD 2013 Movement Disorders fellowship Stanford
Avriel Linane, DO 2013 Epilepsy fellowship Vanderbilt
Grant Kidd, DO 2013 Navy Military Assignment
Nada Hindiyeh, MD 2013 Headache fellowship Stanford
Lauren Green, DO 2012 Headache fellowship/Incoming   faculty USC
Hitesh Patel, MD 2012 Neurophysiology   fellowship/Private practice, Saddleback Memorial UC Irvine
Xiao-Tang Kong, MD, PhD 2012 Neuro Onc fellowship UCLA
Claudia Munoz, MD 2012 Neurologist/Epilepsy fellowship,   Washington University in St. Louis St. Joseph's
Szofia Bullain, MD 2011 3-year Dementia fellowship UC Irvine
Reza Pirsaheli, MD 2011 2-year Neuro-critical Care   fellowship Stanford
Private Practice Carmichael, CA
Hormozd Bozorgchami, MD 2011 Stroke Fellowship Oregon
Interventional Neuroradiology   fellowship Oregon
Neurology Faculty Oregon Health Sciences   University
Ajeet Sodhi, MD 2011 Stroke Fellowship UC San Diego
Neurologist/Epilepsy fellowship,   Washington University in St. Louis Moreno Valley, CA
Dongmei Jiang, MD, PhD 2010 Neurophysiology fellow Harbor-UCLA
Neurologist/Epilepsy fellowship,   Washington University in St. Louis Moreno Valley, CA
An Do, MD 2010 SCI/Neuro-rehabilitation fellow UC Irvine/LBVA Rancho Los Amigos   National Rehab center
Neurology faculty UC Irvine
Wenqiang Tian, MD, PhD 2010 Neurophysiology fellow UCSD
Neurologist   Torrance
Kaveh Saremi, MD 2010 Neurophysiology fellow UC Irvine
Movement disorders fellow   UCLA
Neurologist Hoag Memorial Hospital   Presbyterian
Dion Fung, MD 2009 Stroke Specialist Palmdale/Lancaster
Nastaran Rafiei, MD 2009
Cyrus Dastur, MD 2008 Neuro-intensive care fellowship   at UT Southwestern in Dallas UC Irvine
David Brown, DO 2008 Neuro-imaging fellowship at Dent   Neurological Institute in Buffalo Movement Disorder and General   Neurology
Karen Cheng, MD 2007 Sleep fellowship at Stanford
Naomi Lin, MD 2007 Electrophysiology fellowship at   Cedars General Neurology
Vinh Dang, MD 2007 Electrophysiology fellowship at   UC Irvine Staff Neurologist Kaiser   Permanente
Shirisha Janumpally, MD 2007 Private Practice
Ronnie Karayan, MD 2006 Electrophysiology fellowship at   UC Irvine Joined Kaiser Permanente
Beth Lo, MD 2006 David Gehret's practice Newport Beach, CA
Marcel Hungs, MD, PhD 2005 Sleep fellowship at Stanford Director of UC Irvine Health   Sleep Disorders Center
Karen Lee, MD 2005 Electrophysiology fellowship at   UC Irvine  Joined HMO
Miracle Wangsuwana, DO 2005 Private Practice
Norman Wang, MD 2004 Epilepsy fellowship at Barrows   Institute Academic position at Barrows   Institute
Kim Madden, DO 2004 Private Practice
Sonya Patel, DO 2004 Joined Kaiser Permanente
Marwan Maalouf, MD 2003 Fellowship in Behavioral   Neurology and Dementia at UC Irvine Academic position at Barrows   Institute
Mankong Leung, MD 2003
Vivek Jain, MD 2002
Sergey Akopov, MD 2002
Anwar Gonzalez, MD 2002
Menaka De Silva, MD 2002
Application and Interview Process »

UC Irvine’s Department of Neurology residency program again this year is a participant in both the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP). The accredited resident training program is three years in length. Each trainee will enter the PGY-2 year after successful completion of an ACGME approved PGY-1 year (internal medicine preferred).

Applicants must apply through the Electronic Residency Application System (ERAS) of the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC). For questions about the application process, contact your medical school Dean's Office, go to ERAS online or call 215.966.3940, and contact the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP).

Residency applicants must provide:

  • A Dean's Letter, or Medical School Performance Evaluation (MSPE), from your medical school dean.
  • Three additional letters of recommendation. One should be from the Department of Neurology chair or designee; the second should be from a Neurology faculty member who has worked closely with you and the third should be from a faculty member of your choosing.
  • Scores from Step I of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE). We must have your Step I score to consider your application. However we do not have a formal screening cutoff for those scores. Note that successful completion of Step II Clinical Knowledge and Clinical Skills is required to begin any UC Irvine residency training program. We also prefer those who passed their USMLE examinations on the first attempt.

 Application Deadlines: 

  • The deadline to submit ERAS applications for the Department of Neurology’s residency programs is Dec. 1, 2017.
  • Interviews take place on most Wednesdays beginning October 18, 2017.

Once your application package is sufficiently complete, we will decide whether to contact you and schedule an interview. If you have questions, please feel free to call or e-mail us.

UC Irvine Preliminary Medicine Residency »

For more information about the UC Irvine Preliminary Medicine Residency program, please contact:

Robert Kaplan, MD — Associate Program Director
562-826-8000, Ext. 3832