Peter Fotinakes, M.D.
Medical Director, Sleep Disorders Center
Diplomate, American Board of Neurology
More About Me
To me, sleep is a new frontier. Medical science once considered sleep nothing more than a passive period with little influence on the body. A short fifty years ago, sleep researchers began exploring the nature of sleep and its effect on general health. They not only discovered primary sleep disorders, but also found that many daytime illnesses had their roots in sleep. Everyone experiences a sleep problem sometime in his or her life. Luckily, most problems are nothing more than a minor inconvenience. Specialists in sleep medicine treat sleep disorders that significantly impact mental and physical health. Some sleep disorders produce greater disability than their daytime counterparts, and some are life threatening. Despite critical discoveries linking sleep to mental and physical health, the very purpose of sleep remains a mystery. After exclusively practicing sleep medicine for more than a decade, I am still excited by the opportunity to explore new areas, deliver new treatments and help people with unique problems.
Over the years, my career expanded and evolved, but my roots remained firmly planted in Orange County. After receiving my bachelor's degree in Chemistry and Biology at Chapman University, I traveled the short distance to the University of California at Irvine for medical school. In 1985, I returned to the city of Orange to complete my residency in Neurology through UCI Medical Center and my sub-specialty training in Sleep Medicine. After training, I entered private practice for ten years before deciding to enter academic medicine in 1994. From that time on, Sleep Medicine has become my primary focus and passion. As Medical Director of UCI and associate professor, my goal was to educate future physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders. After retiring from academics, it was my good fortune to become a member of the Sleep Disorders Center at St. Joseph Hospital, where an experienced team of physicians and technologists deliver comprehensive Sleep Medicine in a state-of-the-art facility.
Medicine tends to follow me home. I first met my wife over test tubes in a chemistry research lab in college thirty years ago. After college, we shared the unique experience of medical school, residency and medical practice. She is now a gynecologist, specializing in menopause management and women's healthcare. There are five physicians in my immediate family, which means that "doctorese" is the primary language spoken at family gatherings. This doesn't mean I don't escape medicine during the wee hours of the morning to spin my bike down the road, paddle my kayak through the back bay or tempt a fish from the ocean onto my barbecue grill. As a member of the dedicated team of professionals at the Sleep Disorders Center at St. Joseph Hospital, I hope to help you sleep better.