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For 2023-2024 Residency Program Applicants

Although initially introduced to maintain safety during the pandemic, due to other benefits such as equity and reduction of financial burden, national organizations and medical institutions have continued to recommend a virtual recruitment format in the upcoming cycle. Therefore, in following the American Academy of Neurology consensus and our institutional GME recommendation we continue to commit to the following:

  • All the applications will be accepted through ERAS.
  • ALL interviews will be conducted virtually.
  • We will continue our holistic application review practices.
  • We will be understanding of and flexible around technical difficulties.
  • No in-person follow-up visits (“second looks”) will be hosted

Watch Virtual Tours and Introduction Videos Here


Welcome to the University of California (UC) Irvine Neurology Residency Program. We are a close family of well-trained and dedicated faculty and resident trainees with a passion for the field of Neurology, dedication to the best patient care and highest professionalism. UC Irvine Neurology's extensive clinical and scientific environments provide a strong foundation for excellent training. The Douglas Hospital of the UC Irvine's main medical campus is a large tertiary care and teaching hospital with level I trauma center and 411-bed capacity. We are the only academic center in the Orange County area serving large geographic patient population and a major referral center from surrounding counties. Our residents are given a broad range of clinical experience by virtue of the large and diverse population of patients served. We serve exceptionally diverse patient population in terms of culture, race, and economic status. Our stellar faculty of more than 50 clinicians, scientists, and clinician-scientists are trained in very reputable and competitive institutions across the country providing the best intellectual and technological resources for resident training. We have strong representation of all subspecialties in Neurology, to include Comprehensive Stroke Center, Level IV Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, Nationally Recognized ALS and Neuromuscular Center, Behavioral Neurology, Neuro-Oncology, Neuroimmunology divisions and Movement Disorders Program, as well as a state of the art NeuroCritical Care unit. As the only university-based care provider in Orange County, UC Irvine's multifaceted organization from primary care to transplant and neurosurgery is dedicated to the discovery of new medical frontiers, to the teaching and to the delivery of the finest evidence-based care. UC Irvine has a devoted team of nationally regarded researchers, clinicians, and educators united to improve the lives of the people, to provide the most compassionate healthcare because we're driven by our passion for innovation, grounded in the best medical and scientific knowledge.

Current Residents »


Click Here and Here to Get to Know Our Residents

2023-2024 Resident Roster

Neurology Residents

Adult Neurology Residents PGY-4

Ghazaleh Ahmadi Jazi, MD
Tehran University of Medical Sciences

Rutu Dave, MD
Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine

Danielle Hu, MD
Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

Dennis Huang, MD*
Western Michigan University Homer Stryker School of Medicine

Eshita Shah, MD*
Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University

*co-chief residents

Adult Neurology Residents PGY-3

Aram Asatryan, MD, PhD
Yerevan State Medical University

James Gillespie, MD
University of Washington School of Medicine

Fatemeh Hajighasemi, MD
Doctor of Medicine, School of Medicine, Najafabad University, Isfahan, Iran

Michelle Nguyen, MD
California Northstate University College of Medicine

Ram Wolman, MD
University of California, San Francisco

Adult Neurology Residents PGY-2

Joshua Abata, MD
Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University

Brenton Maisel, MD PhD
Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University

Lauren McKay, DO
Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific

Maral Sakayan, MD
Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine

Supna Saxena, MD
California University of Science and Medicine - School of Medicine

Education Team »

Program Director

Lilit Mnatsakanyan, MD
Associate Clinical Professor of Neurology

Associate Program Director

Masaki Nagamine, MD
Assisant Professor of Neurology

Program Administration  

Brigette Reefer
Education Division Manager

Samantha Pierce
Residency Program Coordinator

Nicole Santos
Fellowship and Medical Student Elective Coordinator

Teresa Sapien
CME and Education Coordinator

Education at UC Irvine »

The neurology residency at UC Irvine provides the knowledge and skills that define a highly qualified clinical neurologist. The training includes opportunities to develop a research expertise. We are committed to the learning environment. Teaching occurs during daily lectures, educational conferences, bedside and table-rounds and regular interactions between residents and faculty. The faculty is very accessible to the residents. The educational tradition also encourages the development of teaching skills during residency and participation of the peer teaching. We thrive to train residents with exceptional humanistic qualities, who have respect, honesty, loyalty, and compassion. All the residents are expected to develop research projects and participate in the quality of improvement projects. The annual Resident Research day is held in June each year where residents present their projects. 

Quality of the Residents

Residents are chosen based upon their academic qualifications, their commitment to providing the highest standards of patient care, and their ability to participate in an interactive educational environment. The residents play an integral role in the growth and development of the department. Residents are given progressive opportunities for the independent decision-making as they advance in clinical knowledge and skills based on the ACGME core competencies. 

Quality of the Faculty

Residents are supervised by board-certified neurology faculty with very reach educational background, additional training in the subspecialty area in very reputable institutions. Our faculty is nationally recognized clinicians and clinician-scientists with absolute commitment to the best patient care and education. The attending is always available for direct and immediate indirect supervision 24/7. The residents are given increasing responsibilities and gradual autonomy based on their clinical competency levels and decision-making capacity.


UC Irvine Department of Neurology uses the six competency areas identified by the ACGME for organization of educational objectives and assessment methods. 

Patient Care

Residents must be able to

-       provide patient care that is compassionate, appropriate, and effective for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of health. 

-       competently perform all medical, and diagnostic  procedures for the area of neurological practice. 

-        demonstrate competency in the management of outpatients and inpatients with neurological disorders across the lifespan including those who require emergency and intensive care. 

-        understand the limitations and variability of the diagnostics tests and incorporate them accurately into patient care.

Medical Knowledge

Residents must demonstrate  

-       sophisticated knowledge of diagnostic testing, available treatments and controversies

-       appropriate  knowledge of advanced neurology and clinical science

-       correlate the clinical presentation with detailed anatomy of the disorder

-       efficiently synthesize information to focus and prioritize diagnostic possibilities

Practice-Based Learning and Improvement

Residents must demonstrate the ability to

-          Complete an appropriate learning plan based upon clinical experience

-          Incorporate appropriate evidence-based information into patient care

-          Understand the limits of evidence-based medicine in patient care

-          enhance the learning of colleagues and patients through practice-based learning strategies

-          Engage in scholarly activity

Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Residents must demonstrate

-         excellent communication skills

-         lead team-based patient care activities and interactions during multidisciplinary conferences

-         mentor colleagues in timely, accurate, and efficient documentation

-         effectively gather information from collateral sources when necessary

-         effectively and ethically use all forms of communication


Residents must be

-          able to independently address and mentor others in the compassionate practice of medicine

-          able to address and mentor others in sensitivity to diverse and vulnerable populations

-          advocate for quality of patient care

-          demonstrate effective clinical teaching skills with special respect to the micro skills of clinical teaching.

-          create a nurturing environment, which emphasizes the importance of learning and is conducive to learning.

Systems-Based Practice

Residents must

-          make clinical decisions that balance cost and risk benefit ratios

-          incorporate available quality measures in patient care

-          describe potential sources of system failure in clinical care

-          participate in a team-based approach to medical error analysis

Residency Curriculum »


All the inpatient rotations are located at the UC Irvine’s Douglas Hospitals

Psychiatry 1 month requirement by the ACGME is completed at the LBVA.

Child Neurology 3 months ACGME requirement is completed at Children’s Hospital Orange County.

Each resident is assigned to a  continuity clinic throughout PGY2-4 years for ½ day each week

We have a 2 member night float system.

Subspecialty clinics are located mainly in the hospital’s vicinity. Additional clinics are located at the UC Irvine’s main campus (Gottschalk Plaza), Tustin,  Newport Beach and Yorba Linda.

Sample Schedules

Sample Schedule by PGY Year

Sample Block Diagram

Sample Didactics Schedule

Outpatient Clinics and Elective Options

Clinical Sites »

At the UC Irvine, the neurology residents spend the majority of their time at the UCI Medical Center (UCIMC) in Orange. Select rotations are done at the Tibor Rubin Medical Center in Long Beach (LBVA) and Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) in Orange.

UCI Medical Center

UC Irvine Medical Center is a major teaching hospital and a University owned hospital, the principal facility for the School of Medicine's teaching research programs. Bed capacity is 411 with the high census of Neurology and Neurosurgical patients and major trauma center. Total dedicated neurology beds are 35 on the step down unit and 12 in the Neuro-Critical Care unit. It is the only academic tertiary care center in the Orange County area with a large referral base. The Neurology inpatient services consist of General Neurology, Stroke inpatient service, and Neuro-Critical Care Unit, each covered by one attending on call for the entire week. Additionally, there is a 24/7 coverage by an attending of the EEG/Critical Care EEG/Epilepsy Monitoring Unit and Neurooncology services.

Douglas Hospital is the main training site for the Neurology inpatient care. We have a night float system consisting of 2 residents and the day teams consisting of a senior and junior residents on each service. The consult service consists of patients anywhere from altered mental status, neurological involvement in systemic diseases, transplant, systemic and cancer, to acute neurological diseases such as neuromuscular, seizures and status epilepticus, intracranial invasive monitoring for seizure location, neurooncology, neuroimmunology inflammatory, infectious, and neurodegenerative disorders. There are plenty of opportunities for broad exposure and valuable educational experience. 

The neurology clinics are held at UC Irvine Medical Center and affiliated practices such as the Manchester Pavilion and Gottschalk Plaza where the residents get exposure to the subspecialty and general neurology outpatient population. Additional clinics are located at Tustin, Newport Beach, and Yorba Linda area, as well as the LBVA outpatient facilities.

Tibor Rubin Veterans Affair (VA) Medical Center

The Long Beach VA Healthcare System is a 200-bed hospital affiliated with UC Irvine. It is a nationally recognized facility for its spinal cord injury unit. Neurology residents complete their required one-month psychiatry at the VA. Furthermore, other specialized rotations such as neuro-urology are available through the VA. The residents participate in a resident half-day continuity clinic at the VA every other week where they see wide range of patient population unique to the VA Healthcare system, gain experience in traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, memory disorders, neuromuscular disorders, headaches, epilepsy, posttraumatic and non epileptic disorders and neurodegenerative disorders. There are also didactics and mini-lectures scheduled for the rotating Neurology and Psychiatry by the VA faculty (in addition to the main curriculum).

Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC)

CHOC is a 279-bed hospital affiliated with UC Irvine and has the only pediatric emergency department in Orange County. It is the only dedicated pediatric teaching hospital in Orange County, and one of the largest pediatric hospitals in the country. The Neuroscience Institute is one of its four centers of excellence. Residents complete their required 3 months of Child  Neurology rotation gaining great experience in various genetic disorders, epilepsy syndromes, pediatric neurocritical care, developmental disorders and movement disorders. The pediatric muscular dystrophy clinic is also hosted at CHOC. The Pediatric Faculty is actively engaged in educational lectures throughout the year. 

Research Opportunities and Requirements »

Each neurology resident develops a research project during their training. These projects may include traditional hypothesis-driven research as well as case series and case reports. The resident as assigned to a mentor who helps with the progress and advises throughout the project. Research projects are presented to the Department at an annual Research Day in June. 

Research Projects

For those oriented towards research, or who want to take maximum advantage of the educational opportunity afforded by training in a leading university, engaging in research as a resident is a chance to jump into a research project with a seasoned investigator. There are many options; for example, you might devote your electives to a single project, or you might design a project that spans more than one year, in which case only an update on the ongoing project will be presented. Your chances of obtaining a competitive fellowship will be bolstered by completing a solid research project during residency.

For those who do not expect to pursue research long-term, your project can help to sharpen skills you will need in the future, such as compiling and comparing a series of patients, or evaluating industry-sponsored trials. You may choose to do a case report or a chart review of a condition of interest - again, with a faculty mentor. Or you may choose to help a faculty member with one of their clinical trials.

Regardless of your future plans for engaging and research, this is an opportunity to have an extended relationship with a faculty member whose clinical style, research, or clinical practice exploring a neurology subspecialty of potential interest can have substantial value.

Finding a Mentor

For aid in identifying a faculty mentor, please see our Neurology Faculty Research Focus List  for a listing of many of the Neurology faculty, their research interests, and in many cases links to their Google Scholar profiles or research websites. A full listing of the faculty can be found on the department website. A listing of clinical trials in the department is also available (neuro-oncology clinical trials listed here).  In some cases, residents may choose a co-mentor from another area or department, for example Neurobiology and Behavior, Public Health, Epidemiology, etc. that would be helpful for the residents' projects.


Certain research studies require Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. The IRB monitors all human research studies at the university. Talk to your mentor about your project to determine whether IRB review is needed and what approvals are already in place for the project.


Submit an abstract on your project to the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) or other national meeting. Many meetings have travel scholarships and the Department has funds for residens to attend meetings, particularly with accepted abstracts. It is a requirement to attend at least one meeting during the three years of residency. Resident research awards are given at many meetings. 

Publish your research findings (with the help of your mentor).

Quality Improvement Projects

In some cases quality improvement projects can turn into research projects. Keep in mind that you don't need Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval for quality improvement projects, but if you plan on expanding for a research project that may be published as generalizable knowledge the project will need IRB approval. Quality improvement projects focus on improving clinical practice and must be specific to UCI, not including patients or data from other sites.

Research Presentations

Each resident will present their research in June at the departmental annual Research Day, which will mimic the structure of a professional meeting such as the annual meeting of the AAN. This will provide residents with practice preparing and submitting research abstracts as well as preparation and delivery of oral and poster presentations. All residents are expected to present at Research Day.

Salary and Benefits »

Resident Salary

For the 2023-2024 academic year:

  • PGY-1: $81,651.91
  • PGY-2: $84,025.94
  • PGY-3: $86,933.09
  • PGY-4: $89,969.36

Educational/Exam Stipends

Residents who choose to complete their preliminary medicine year at UC Irvine receive up to $1000 for expenses related to California medical licensure and USMLE Step 3. In addition, trainees receive a $1500 stipend to utilize towards educational expenses annually.


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

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

How to Apply »


Our program reviews applications through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) and participates in the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP). We are a linked advanced/preliminary training program. The applicants have an option to complete their preliminary medicine year at UC Irvine should they rank the preliminary Medicine program in line with the UC Irvine Neurology advanced program in their rank list. UCI's Neurology Residency is an advanced program. A separate application should be submitted to the preliminary medicine program at UCI if interested. If an interview is granted with Neurology you will also interview with the medicine program director, and an independent interview won't be required. 

Our NRMP Program IDs are as follows:

  • Neurology-Advanced 1043180A0
  • Med-Prelim/Neurology 1043140P1

Application Requirements

All applicants must provide all required documents through ERAS. The list of documents consists of a Dean's Letter or Medical School Performance Evaluation (MSPE) three letters of recommendation, the medical school transcript and a personal statement. A Department of Neurology chair or designee letter is desired, but not absolutely needed; the second should be from a Neurology faculty member who has worked closely with you; the third should be from a faculty member of your choosing.

We do not employ a cutoff for USMLE scores. However, we prefer those who have passed their USMLE examinations on the first attempt. You must have a Step 1 added to ERAS before we can review your application. Successful completion of Step 2 Clinical Knowledge and Clinical Skills is required to begin any UC Irvine residency training program.

International Applicants

We may consider applications from qualified international medical graduates through ERAS. International medical graduate applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. J visa is acceptable in select situations. Please note that your medical school must be on the state board's list of approved institution. 

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 to five years and have been involved in clinical care since graduation. 


Interviews are conducted on Wednesdays from October through January.

The interview day begins with an overview of the departments of neurology. Applicants will then interview with faculty members and a chief resident for approximately 20 minutes each.

You will also have an opportunity to meet the residents the day prior for dinner.

Past Fellows and Residents »

Graduating residents pursue subspecialty fellowship training after residency.

Our graduates have gone on to persue fellowships specializing in:

  • Clinical Neurophysiology
  • Epilepsy
  • Headache & Pain Management
  • Memory Disorders
  • Movement Disorders
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • NeuroCritical Care
  • Neuromuscular Medicine
  • Neuro-Oncology
  • among others

At such institutions as:

  • UCI School of Medicine
  • USC
  • UCLA
  • UC San Francisco
  • UC San Diego
  • UC Davis
  • Cedars Sinai
  • Stanford
  • Johns Hopkins
  • Cleveland Clinic Foundation (Las Vegas)

Previous Fellow and Resident Rosters