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Steven Small, MD, Chair, Department of Neurology

A message from the Chair

Welcome to the Department of Neurology at UC Irvine. We are caregivers, teachers and scholars who are dedicated to providing the very best neurological care, conducting world-class research and educating future generations of neurologists and neurological researchers.

We are also committed to providing education within the community—to practicing physicians, clinicians, students and our neighbors in Orange County and the state of California.

Our first priority is to provide state-of-the-art neurological care to our patients, whether we are treating highly complex conditions or less complicated problems. Our clinical care encompasses all neurological problems, from headaches and back pain, which are common and often (but not always) readily treatable, to all types of problems with movement and sensation, such as those that affect the brain—strokes, seizures, tumors, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease—and those that affect the spine or the nerves of the arms and legs, such as neuropathy, which can cause painful or numb feet. 

We are among the world’s leaders in treating memory disorders and other disorders that involve impaired thinking, ranging from the mild problems that occur normally as people age to the more serious ones that accompany Alzheimer’s disease. We are also a world leader in the treatment of stroke survivors, whose problems may involve hand or arm weakness, inability to walk or difficulties with speech and language. 

Our neurology training program emphasizes exposure to a wide variety of clinical problems. Residents and fellows are supervised by top-ranked clinicians and clinician-scientists. Our curriculum emphasizes inpatient and outpatient neurology, with teaching activities centered at UC Irvine Medical Center, which includes one of the newest academic hospitals in the country, UC Irvine Douglas Hospital, inaugurated in 2009. 

Our other educational sites include the main campus of UC Irvine, which has one of the leading research and teaching neuroscience programs in the world, and the VA Long Beach Healthcare System, which provides a broad outpatient experience. In addition, residents and fellows are exposed to one of the nation’s premier clinical programs in the treatment of spinal cord injury at the Long Beach medical center, and to the most advanced research in spinal cord injury at the Reeve-Irvine Research Center on the Irvine campus.  

Among our other specialized programs is the Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center,  the first academic stroke center on the west coast to be certified by The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals. We have one of the most significant research programs in the country for the treatment of the long-term effects of stroke. 

We also have innovative, leading-edge programs specializing in Alzheimer’s disease research, multiple sclerosis, ALS and other neuromuscular diseases, as well as top-ranked programs in epilepsy, movement disorders and brain tumors.  

Finally, we are ranked among the top neurology departments in the country by the National Institutes of Health. (NIH). Our research programs garner significant funds from the NIH as well as from foundations and philanthropic sources. Thanks to this funding, our research is moving ahead on several fronts: we are devising methods to improve long-term recovery after stroke, characterizing the underlying causes of seizures, understanding healthy brain aging, and finding treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and multiple sclerosis. 

We welcome your participation as patients, trainees or philanthropic donors. 

Steven L. Small, Ph.D., M.D.
Stanley van den Noort Professor and Chair
Department of Neurology
School of Medicine
University of California, Irvine