School of Medicine

Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship

The Hospice & Palliative Medicine fellowship welcomes you to learn more our program! We seek fellows who contribute to the diversity of our program and of our university. We therefore utilize a holistic evaluation during our interview process.

Our fellowship program as well as the Palliative Medicine faculty members are part of the school's Hospitalist Program, we offer two positions annually.

For one year, fellows rotate through several clinical locations for training. Our fellows also take part in interactive daily interdisciplinary team (IDT) meeting/rounds with the palliative medicine team, which includes physicians, advanced practice nurses, social workers, a pharmacist and a chaplain.

Collaborating with IDT faculty members, our fellows learn to identify and address patients’ physical, medical, emotional, social, familial and spiritual needs. 

By the end of the program, fellows are able to:

  • Discuss care goals with patients and their families in an acute care community hospital
  • Work with an interdisciplinary palliative care team to provide consultations in an acute care community hospital
  • Address common ethical and legal issues as a palliative medicine consultant
  • Assist in discharge planning and determination of disposition from the hospital

View more details about our fellowship program below.

Clinical Rotations »

UCI Health


Fellows spend three (3) months of the fellowship year on inpatient consultation services at UCI Health's Douglas Hospital. The 459-bed acute care hospital provides tertiary and quaternary care. Ambulatory and specialty medical clinics as well as behavioral health and rehabilitation services also are available at the medical center in Orange. Our inpatient consult service sees over 1,200 patients a year.

Fellows take part in daily interdisciplinary rounds with the palliative care team, which includes attendings, residents, medical students, advanced practice nurses, social workers, a pharmacist, medical assistants and a chaplain.

Fellows are expected to collaborate with the team to identify and address patients’ physical, medical, emotional, social, familial and spiritual needs. They are responsible for managing patients in an interdisciplinary clinic setting, functioning much like attending physicians. They also are responsible for the initial patient presentation as well as overseeing the resident and medical student presentations. Fellows also have continuity clinic at UCI Health on either Mondays or Fridays.

Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital


Fellows spend one (1) month focusing specifically on the care of seriously ill pediatric patients at Miller Children’s and Women's Hospital in Long Beach.

While on this rotation, fellows participate in scheduled, formal IDT meetings with nurse practitioners, physicians, nurses, social workers, case managers and chaplains. Fellow are expected to lead the IDT discussions.

Fellows are responsible for coordinating care between specialists, primary care pediatricians and the interdisciplinary team with the goal of providing family-centered care for these children. The fellows follow their patients into home hospice or home palliative care.

Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian


Fellows spend approximately two (2) months on the inpatient palliative care consultation service at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, a large community medical center in Newport Beach.

While on this rotation, they participate in a formal IDT daily meeting that include physicians, an advanced practice nurse, social workers and a chaplain.  Fellows are expected to coordinate intensive whole patient care, family support and teamwork, in partnership with the referring teams. The objective is to meet the needs of patients and their families. The focus of the IDT at Hoag is communication. 

VA Long Beach Healthcare System


Fellows spend at least one (1) month at inpatient hospice unit at the VA Long Beach Healthcare System.

Fellows are expected to attend the weekly meeting of the interdisciplinary team, which includes a physician, a nurse practitioner, a social worker, nurses, a psychologist, a chaplain and a recreation therapist. 

Fellows are expected to take on the role of attending physician during this meeting and to help to coordinate an interdisciplinary care plan for the patients in the inpatient unit. 

During this rotation, fellows care for patients in the hospital's inpatient hospice unit. They also participate in new inpatient consultations to determine whether patients are appropriately assigned to the hospice unit.

Fellows are expected to lead the IDT discussion and to coordinate the interdisciplinary resources appropriately.

VITAS Healthcare


Fellows spend at least three (3) months seeing hospice patients through the hospital agency VITAS Healthcare® in Orange County. Fellows participate in two (2) weekly hospice interdisciplinary team (IDT) meetings.

During the first week of rotation, fellows shadow the team physician. In subsequent weeks, fellows take on increasing responsibility for creating comprehensive, interdisciplinary hospice care plans for the patients. About half the patients are in long-term care facilities.

Fellows work under the supervision of the team physician and in conjunction with the team, which includes nurse case managers, licensed vocational nurses, chaplain/bereavement counselors, social workers and home health aides.

The goal is for fellows to take on the role of team physician by the end of the rotation.

Elective Rotation

Fellows spend one (1) month on their elective rotation. Previous fellows have selected the following: international rotation, research, interventional-chronic-ambulatory pain, ethics, integrative medicine, subspeciality away rotation.

Other examples of opportunities include: pediatric hospice/palliative care, neurocritical care, rehabilitation, cardiovascular ICU service, HIV clinic, and home dialysis. We are open and flexible to meet the request and needs of the fellows.

Vacations/Time Off

Fellows have 4 weeks of vacation and have all major holidays off.


Fellows work 12 weekends a year, during the day. No night calls.

Please click here for a sample schedule.

Current and Past Fellows »

July 2022-June 2023

Allen Yang, DO 
Emergency Medicine, University of California, Irvine
Currently: UCI Hospice & Palliative Medicine Fellow
Swapna Phadnis, MD 
Family Medicine, Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital, Whittier, CA
Currently: UCI Hospice & Palliative Medicine Fellow

July 2021-June 2022

Ateena Pirverdian, DO 
Internal Medicine, University of California, Irvine
Currently: Inpatient Palliative Care Attending at Cedars-Sinai, Los Angeles, CA
Simeon Koh, MD 
Internal Medicine, Harbor UCLA, Torrance, CA 
Currently: Palliative Care Physician at PIH Health, Whittier, CA

July 2020-June 2021

Ala Arafa-Price, MD
Family Medicine, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Riverside
Currently: Hospice Physician, VITAS OC; Volunteer Physician, UCI Health, CA
Mukti Patel, MD
Internal Medicine, University of California, Irvine
Currently: Palliative Care Physician at Kaiser, Fontana, CA 

July 2018-June 2019

Joshua Lee, DO
Pediatric Medicine, Loma Linda, CA
Currently: Palliative Care Physician at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children's Hospital, Spokane, WA
Diana Naderi, MD
Family Medicine, Dignity Health Northridge Hospital, Northridge, CA  
Currently: Medical Director, VITAS, Los Angeles, CA
Robert Nguyen, MD
Internal Medicine, Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY
Currently: Medical Director, VITAS OC; Volunteer Physician, UCI Health, CA

July 2017-June 2018

Amrita Sabharwal, MD
Internal Medicine, Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY
Currently: Palliative Care Attending, Yuma, AZ

July 2016-June 2017

Matthew Janssen, MD
Emergency Medicine, University of California, Irvine
Currently: Palliative Care Medical Director, Memorial Care, CA 
Ronald McCowan, MD
Cardiology/Electrophysiology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH 
Internal Medicine, White Memorial Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA 
Currently: Medical Director of Inpatient Palliative Care, UCR, Riverside, CA

July 2015-June 2016

Asher Edwards, DO
Internal Medicine, Harbor UCLA, Torrance, CA 
Currently: Hospice/Palliative Care Physician, Kaiser, Baldwin Park, CA
Kenneth Kim, MD
Emergency Medicine, University of California, Irvine
Currently: Hospice/Palliative Care & ED Physician, Kaiser, San Francisco, CA

January 2015-January 2016

Nicole Shirilla, MD
Family Medicine, University of California, Irvine
Currently: Assistant Professor, Palliative Care, Colombus, OH

June 2011-July 2012

Jamie Capasso Fertal, DO
Internal Medicine, Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ
Currently: Medical Director of Out-patient Palliative Care, St Jospeh, Orange, CA

   September 2005-August 2007

Shiho Ito, MD
Family Medicine, University of California, Irvine
Currently: Clinical Professor, Palliative Services, UCI Health, CA
Overview of UCI Medical Center/Past Fellow Testimonials  »

Overview of the UCI Medical Center & Graduate Medical Education  

How well do you think the program prepared you? 

What advice would you give to an applicant? 

What did you like about the program?

Describe the program in one word. 

What did you like about living/working in Orange County? 


Faculty and Program Contacts »
         Solomon S. Liao, MD, FAAHPM
         Program Director, Palliative Care Services
         UCI Health
         Vincent D. Nguyen, DO, CMD
         Program Director, CARES Program
         Hoag Hospital Newport Beach
         Robert Nguyen, MD, MPH, HMDC
         Medical Director
         VITAS Healthcare
         Sarah Dabagh, MD 
Medical Director, Perinatal and Pediatric Palliative Care,
         MemorialCare Miller Children's & Women's Hospital Long Beach
         Jessica Humphreys, MD
Section Chief, Hospice and Palliative Care
         VA Long Beach Healthcare System
         Other Faculty:
         Mudit Dabral, MD - UCI Health          
         Shiho Ito, MD - UCI Health
         Lucas Puttock, DO - UCI Health
         Jeffrey Wong, MD - UCI Health
         Chalat Rajaram, MD, VITAS Healthcare, UCI Health Volunteer
         Adam Kendall, MD - VITAS Healthcare, UCI Health Volunteer
         Bishen Bedi, MD - VITAS Healthcare, UCI Health Volunteer
         Ala Arafa-Price, MD - VITAS Healthcare, UCI Health Volunteer
         Lara Weiss, MD - Long Beach, VA
         Kara Kerns, MD - Hoag, UCI Health Volunteer
         Samantha Lau, MD - Hoag
Fellow Benefits »


  • July 2022- June 2023: $79,835*
  • *Increase in salary scale of 3% each year
  • Includes $8,000 housing stipend

Educational Stipend:

  • Fees for conferences and educational materials covered  

Monthly Meal Allowance:

  • July 2022- June 2023: $80/month

UCI Health Wellness Program:

  • Support services available for employee wellness, financial resources, events, and programs, as well as community involvement opportunities. Visit here for more information.

White Coats 

  • Each fellow will be provided 2 white coats. The fellowship will also provide a service for whitecoat dry cleaning.
How to Apply »

Two fellows are accepted for the Hospice and Palliative Medicine fellowship program, which begins July 1st each year.

Applicants must apply through the ERAS Fellowships Documents Office. The program will gain access to applications July 20, 2022.

Per the board requirements, we accept applicants from the following specialties:

    • Internal Medicine
    • Family Medicine
    • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
    • Psychiatry
    • Neurology
    • Anesthesiology
    • Surgery
    • Pediatrics
    • Child Neurology
    • Radiation Oncology
    • Emergency Medicine
    • Radiology
    • Obstetrics and Gynecology

Applicants are expected to provide (3) letters of recommendation from:

  • A palliative care or hospice physician
  • A letter from a supervisor (i.e. Program Director, supervisor, attending)
  • A letter of your choice (i.e. Palliative Care Social Worker, Nurse, or PharmD)

Medical Licensure:

Visa Status:

  • J-1 only

Interview Schedule:

  • Tuesdays/Thursdays from August-October
  • Due to the current coronavirus pandemic all interviews will be conducted on zoom

Early submission is recommended as interview slots may be filled prior to application deadlines.

For more information, please contact: 

Deborah Tsai 
Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Coordinator

Phone: 714-456-5726homepage