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Program Leadership


Kira Molas-Torreblanca, DO, MPH, FAAP
Program Director

Dr. Kira Molas-Torreblanca is Program Director for the UCI-CHOC Pediatric Residency
Program. She is a pediatric hospitalist at Children's Hospital Orange County. She has a
master's degree in public health from UCLA. She completed her training at the
University of Nevada where she served as a Chief Resident and then assumed the role
of the Assistant Residency Program Director prior to relocating to California with her
family where she was a hospitalist at CHLA for 11 years and served as the pediatric
hospital medicine fellowship program director. She has completed advanced training
in educational scholarship and her research interests include curriculum
development, simulation and qualitative methodology. She has presented numerous
workshops at national conferences on topics such as feedback and evaluation,
learning climate and trainee autonomy. She recently graduated from the inaugural
cohort of the Academic Pediatric Associations' Advancing Pediatric Leaders Program.
She continues to remain involved nationally, currently serving a 3-year elected term
on the American Academy of Pediatrics Section of Hospital Medicine's Executive
Committee. Her other clinical interests include health promotion and community
health sciences and health equity in the realm of medical health literacy. Dr. Molas-
Torreblanca grew up in Palm Desert, CA and currently lives in Long Beach with her
husband (also a pediatrician), their two teenage children and their cavapoo puppy
named Ruby. She is an avid LA Teams Sports Fan and in her free time if she is not
cheering for her favorite sports team, you will often find her enjoying the churros at

UC Irvine pediatrician Dr. Daniel Kang

Sandeep Dhadvai, MD
Associate Program Director

Dr. Sandeep Dhadvai is an Associate Program Director at the UCI/CHOC Pediatric Residency Program and is an outpatient general pediatrician at both UCI and CHOC clinics. He was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, moved to outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to get his Bachelor's in Science in Psychology at Haverford College, and then returned to Arizona for medical school at the University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix. He then couples matched to and completed his residency training at UCI-CHOC pediatric residency program where he stayed on as a Chief Resident for an additional year. He has a passion for teaching, medical education, newborn care, wellness initiatives, and both recruitment & admissions in the residency program. Outside of work, Dr. Dhadvai enjoys hiking, traveling, board games, comic books, reading at the beach, his new hobby of pickleball, and spending time with his wife, dog, and two cats.


Jim Korb, MD
Associate Program Director

Dr. Korb is an associate program director for the UCI-CHOC Pediatric Residency Program. At CHOC, he is the Director for Academic Affairs, with responsibility over visiting medical students, residents and fellows, as well as the development of fellowships at CHOC. He is also the Director for CHOC’s Continuing Medical Education (CME) Program. His medical school training and residency was at UCLA, and he was an assistant program director for the Pediatric Residency Program at UCLA for 11 years. From 2001-2013, he was the program director of the Pediatric Residency Program at CHOC. Among his many interests are medical education, dermatology and children’s books. Outside of work, he and his wife have a lifetime goal to see every National Park in the US (they are up to about 30). He is an avid cook, and along with Dr. Wong, has been cooking for resident retreats for many, many years.

Jennifer Lusk

Jennifer Lusk, MD, FAAP
Associate Program Director

Dr. Jennifer Lusk is an associate program director for the UCI-CHOC Pediatric Residency Program. Dr. Lusk received her medical degree from Georgetown University. After finishing residency training at CHOC, she served as chief resident. She now works as a pediatric hospitalist at CHOC, and remains heavily invested in residency training and education, receiving multiple faculty teaching awards. She is the chair of the Clinical Competency Committee, providing guidance on resident performance. She also holds multiple positions in hospital administration and serves as program director for the UCI Pediatric Hospital Medicine Fellowship Program at CHOC. 

Dr. Michalik

David Michalik, DO
Associate Program Director

Dr. Michalik is a clinical professor at UCI and specializes in pediatric infectious diseases at Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital Long Beach where he has been actively practicing since 2007. He received his medical degree from Western University of Health Sciences, completed a pediatric residency at Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital, and a pediatric infectious diseases fellowship at Columbia University Medical Center. Additionally, he is actively engaged in research projects involving HIV, Kawasaki disease, and infections of ancient civilizations. His free time is spent body surfing, hiking, and entertaining his golden doodle, Scully.


Candice Taylor Lucas, MD, MPH, FAAP
Associate Program Director

Dr. Candice Taylor Lucas is an associate program director for the UC Irvine-CHOC Pediatric Residency Program. She is also a co-director for the UCI School of Medicine's mission-based program entitled Leadership Education to Advance Diversity - African, Black, and Caribbean (LEAD-ABC), a Health Sciences Associate Clinical Professor, and general pediatrician with the UCI School of Medicine and UCI Pediatric Exercise and Genomics Research Center. She is from Southern California and completed undergraduate training at UCLA, graduate training in the UCLA School of Public Health, and medical school at the Keck School of Medicine at USC. She returned to UCLA for pediatric residency and served as a chief resident, and subsequently went to NYU/Bellevue Hospital Center to complete an academic general pediatric fellowship with a focus in primary care research and clinical investigation. Her public health and research interests address physical activity promotion, early childhood obesity prevention, and health inequities. As Associate Program Director her areas of focus include primary-care and community-engaged training opportunities, advocacy, diversity, inclusion, and health equity. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing with her sons, dancing, basketball, and writing poetry.


Hillary Zieve, MD, FAAP
Associate Program Director

Dr. Hillary Zieve is an associate program director for the UCI-CHOC Pediatric Residency Program and practices general pediatrics at CHOC Clinica Para Niños and CHOC Boys and Girls Club Clinic in Santa Ana, CA.  Dr. Zieve received her Medical Degree from UC Irvine School of Medicine.  She completed residency and served as a Chief Resident at the UC Irvine/CHOC pediatric residency program.  She currently sits on the board of the AAP Orange County chapter as a Member At Large and Co-Chairs the Young Physician Committee. She is also the chapter’s representative for Early Career Physicians.  Dr. Zieve is the co-founder and faculty mentor of Team KiPOW OC, an academic-community partnership which mentors students in Title 1 schools about nutrition and physical activity.  Dr. Zieve is passionate about primary care, preventative medicine, and more specifically pediatric obesity management, nutrition, and healthy weight loss. She lives in Irvine, CA with her husband, 2 children and dog. 


Mojan Azarmi, MD
Chief Resident

Dr. Mojan Azarmi is a Chief Resident for the UCI-CHOC Pediatric Residency Program. Dr. Azarmi attended medical school at California Northstate University College of Medicine and completed her pediatric residency training at UCI-CHOC. She continued on as Chief Resident due to her passion for teaching and desire to continue working with learners at all stages. After Chief year, Dr. Azarmi plans to work in an academic hospital as a pediatric hospitalist. In her free time she enjoys hiking with her husband and serving as a human couch for her cat.


Judy Chen, MD
Chief Resident

Dr. Judy Chen is a Chief Resident for the UC Irvine-CHOC Pediatric Residency Program. Originally from the East Coast, she moved to Cleveland, Ohio to complete her undergraduate studies at Case Western Reserve University where she majored in Nutritional Biochemistry and Metabolism. She went on to complete her medical school at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. She came out to Orange County to do her pediatrics residency and stayed after finishing residency to do a chief year. She is planning on doing academic hospital medicine and plans to be more involved in medical education in her career. She chose to do a chief year as she enjoys mentoring both residents and medical students and looking for ways to optimize the learning environment. In her free time, she loves going to the beaches of Orange County and paddleboarding as well as exploring all the amazing food options of Southern California.


Veronica Melendez

Veronica Melendez
Residency Coordinator, UCI

Veronica Melendez is the residency coordinator for the UCI-CHOC Pediatric Residency Program. She received her bachelor's of science degree in healthcare administration from Cal State Long Beach. Mrs. Melendez was a pediatric residency coordinator at Miller Children's Hospital in Long Beach before becoming a residency coordinator for both the UC Irvine and UC Irvine-CHOC Pediatric residency programs in 2010. She likes to read, dance, play sports, and spend time with her family.

Maria Espitia

Maria Espitia
Assistant Residency Coordinator, UCI

Maria Espitia is a residency coordinator assistant for the UC Irvine-CHOC Pediatric Residency Program. She joined the program in 2014, bringing with her a variety of corporate and office management skills. Previously, she served as human resource assistant and accounting assistant at USA National Title Co. She enjoys shopping for great deals and spending time with her family.


Frank Cruz
Education Coordinator, UCI


Sabrina Harris 
Assistant Residency Coordinator, Scheduler, UCI

Sabrina Harris joined the program as a temporary administrative assistant in February 2020 and was hired full-time in January 2021. She has an extensive background working in administration, office management and accounting, supporting large non-profit organizations and small business environments. She is a team player and approaches all aspects of her position and any job with a positive, hardworking mindset. She enjoys going to church, roller-skating and spending time with her family.

Patty Peña
Residency Coordinator, Miller Children's

Patty Peña is the residency coordinator for the UCI-CHOC Pediatric Residency at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach. She joined the GME team at Long Beach Memorial/Miller Children’s Hospital in June 2023. Patty worked in Public Health for the Women’s, Infant and Women’s (WIC) program while pursuing her degree. She received her degree in Sociology from UCLA. Patty has over 15 year working in healthcare facilities. She worked as a research assistant at UCLA and a Residency Program Coordinator at Harbor-UCLA in Torrance, CA . Patty loves dancing, shopping especially when she gets bargains, enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends.