Coleen Cunningham, MD, professor of pediatrics and pathology at Duke University Medical Center, has been appointed chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine (UCI) and senior vice president and pediatrician-in-chief for the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), effective March 1, 2021.
In her new role, Dr. Cunningham will be responsible for leading UCI’s Department of Pediatrics and its 16 divisions that comprise the spectrum of pediatric diseases and disorders. Under her leadership, the department will continue to enhance its mission of providing exceptional patient care and medical education in pediatrics, and conducting cutting-edge research to advance children’s health.
As CHOC’s senior vice president and pediatrician-in-chief, Dr. Cunningham will serve as a senior clinical leader with oversight for the healthcare system’s pediatric medical and surgical services, academic advancement, and research and teaching programs, in addition to serving as the key physician executive liaison between CHOC and UCI.
Dr. Cunningham is currently a professor of pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, chief of the Division of Global Health, and vice chair for research in the Department of Pediatrics at Duke University Medical Center. She holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Pathology.
Dr. Cunningham earned her undergraduate degree in biochemistry at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Binghamton, followed by medical school, residency and fellowship at SUNY Upstate in Syracuse, NY. She was recruited to Duke in 2003 to serve as the chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and director of the Pediatric HIV Clinic. In the 17 years that she has practiced in North Carolina, she has provided care to children with infectious diseases, including those with HIV. She has participated in with State HIV Advisory Group and was honored by the state as a “Long-term HIV-Provider”. Her professional activities include study of the prevention and treatment of HIV infection in children and adolescents, with a special emphasis on vaccines to prevent perinatal and breast milk transmission of HIV. She has led numerous studies in the Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group (PACTG), the International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Network (IMPAACT), and the Adolescent Trials Network (ATN).
Dr. Cunningham has co-authored more than 120 manuscripts, book chapters and other scholarly writings. Since arriving at Duke, Dr. Cunningham has played a major role in mentoring faculty, fellows, and other trainees within her division and across the Department of Pediatrics.