Training Years


The PL-1 is expected to take full initiative in the workup and management of patients under the guidance of a supervising resident and attending staff physician. Intensive exposure is provided to ill children and to children of normal birth, growth and development. During the first year, inpatient pediatrics is taught at Rady Children's Hospital. The pediatric house officer cares for children with a large variety of pediatric problems, ranging from uncomplicated illnesses to complex diseases with multiple organ involvement.

In the PL-1 year, residents also participate in the stabilization and care of the sick neonate. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at UCSD has a busy delivery service and is a Level lll nursery that receives transports of critically ill babies from around San Diego County. The first year resident also spends one month in the Newborn Nursery at UCSD learning to care for normal newborns and common problems appropriate for a general pediatrician. 

The outpatient experience is varied during the first year to expose residents to many facets of ambulatory care including adolescent medicine, general pediatrics, community pediatrics, and advocacy.

To expose pediatric residents to acute care in ambulatory pediatrics, they will spend a month in the Rady Children's Hospital emergency department. This experience is designed to provide residents with a strong knowledge base in ambulatory medicine.

The Community Pediatrics rotation exposes the resident to the important role pediatricians play in the community. This includes interacting with local schools and child care centers (both as a consultant and on behalf of patients), advocating for child health issues and collaborating with professionals from other disciplines that also care for children. Since San Diego is home to a large culturally-diverse population – especially African, Asian, and South American refugee and immigrant populations, residents will have many opportunities to engage in culturally-appropriate community health practices.


The PL-2 year builds on the experiences of the first year with emphasis on patient management and triage of the ill child. The PL-2 resident rotates through the inpatient ward at Rady Children's Hospital and experiences increased independence and decision-making. Additionally, the second year resident rotates one month in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Rady Children's Hospital gaining experience evaluating and managing critically-ill children.

The outpatient experience in the second year mixes general pediatrics and subspecialty training. It also offers a one-month experience to learn about behavior and development. The resident continues to have emergency room experience evaluating acutely ill children during the PL-2 year.

Our Hematology/Oncology Division serves cancer patients all over Southern California, Nevada, and Arizona. Through our alliance with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, PL-2 residents spend one month in inpatient/outpatient cancer care, which includes bone marrow transplants, stem cell transplants, and other organ transplants. There are also three months of elective time for residents to explore various subspecialty disciplines.


The PL-3 year provides each resident the opportunity to enhance skills and knowledge in a wide variety of pediatric areas. The PL-3, in close consultation with attending physicians, oversees the care of clinic patients and provides guidance and expertise in general pediatrics.

The emergency room at Rady Children's enhances the senior resident's proficiency in managing acutely ill children. Additional expertise in the care and stabilization of critically ill children is provided through another rotation in the PICU in the third year and by working on the transport team. The year is rounded out with several elective months to augment each resident's education.

There is one call free rotation each year. During the second and third year residents often use this time to participate in international rotations. There is one month of vacation in each year throughout training at UCSD.

During the second and third year, residents are encouraged to seek out elective time to perform research during that period. Intramural grant funding is available to initiate these research pursuits. To see past grant funding, click here.

Chief Resident Year

Currently we have 2-3 chief residents who are selected during their residency to serve as leaders in the program. Our PL-4 chief residents serve as instructors in the Department of Pediatrics and as representatives for the residents to the chairman of the department. They also act as general pediatric consultants to the residents and to other services.

The chief residents organize teaching conferences at UCSD and Rady Children's Hospital. Protected time is devoted for the chief residents to pursue research, advocacy, and career development. This year is designed to continue to augment general pediatric knowledge through consultation, research, teaching and patient care.