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Message from the Chair

Dr. Coleen Cunningham
UCI Health
Dr. Coleen Cunningham is the chair of the UCI School of Medicine's Department of Pediatrics.

I am delighted to begin as chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine. This is an exciting time for children in this region as we align with the CHOC Children's Hospital of Orange County to further enhance the clinical care of children and youth, advance the education of pediatric providers, and expand research in child health. 

UCI and CHOC have a combination of outstanding clinicians, researchers, and educators who provide exceptional care for children and lead important research and educational missions.  People who care for children know that there is nothing more important or satisfying than improving children's health, improving the prevention or treatment of a disease, or teaching the next generation of child health providers. I know that together, we will advance these missions. 

Our residency program is strong, with excellent trainees who will pursue their desired careers in primary care or subspecialty pediatrics.  Our fellowship programs are strong and growing.  The pediatric residency and all pediatric fellowship programs integrate patient care, didactic teaching, and research to fulfill our fundamental missions. Furthermore, our clinicians provide exceptional care to children across the age and disease spectrums.  We will further enhance the research and other training opportunities for all our learners over the coming years. 

I encourage you to learn more about our department and our programs.  Our numerous health providers throughout Orange County apply the most advanced medical knowledge across the full spectrum of childhood illness, ensuring the health of children in our community.  UCI Pediatrics and CHOC are leaders in the care of children and the training of pediatric medical care providers and the integration of these two institutions will accelerate the advancement of child health throughout southern California.

 Administration phone number 714-456-8470

Learn More About Dr. Coleen Cunningham

Dr. Coleen Cunningham joined CHOC and UCI in March, 2021 and holds a unique dual role, serving as both senior vice president and pediatrician-in-chief at CHOC and chair for the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine’s department of pediatrics.

Dr. Cunningham has an extensive background in research and clinical care of children.  Her research work is focused on prevention and treatment of pediatric HIV and she has also contributed to studies in pediatric COVID, Ebola, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus.  She is currently leading a study evaluating broadly neutralizing anti-HIV antibodies in HIV-exposed neonates.

Dr. Cunningham received her medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University, where she also completed her pediatrics residency and a fellowship in infectious diseases. She has published more than 140 manuscripts and led many multicenter clinical trials aimed at the treatment and prevention of HIV infection in children. Dr. Cunningham has served in leadership positions on multiple national research groups and advocacy organizations, and is the proud mentor of many physicians.

Prior to joining CHOC and UCI, Dr. Cunningham’s roles included associate professor of pediatrics at SUNY, professor with tenure at Duke University in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, and chief of Global Health and vice chair for research in Duke University’s Department of Pediatrics. While at Duke, Dr. Cunningham was recognized by the university as a top mentor to junior faculty.