In her Five Faces of 2009 biography (Wesleyan Magazine, summer 2009), Cristiana Baloescu said her proudest accomplishment to date was being accepted to Dartmouth Medical School (now Geisel School of Medicine). She also stated an internship at the Medical Center of Central Georgia Emergency Center in Macon sparked her interest in the specialized field of emergency medicine. “The fast pace and swift decision making, as well as being able to immediately see the results of your work in the recovery of the patient, are what attracts me to emergency medicine,” she said.
Four years later, Cristiana would likely say her proudest accomplishment to date is graduating from Geisel School of Medicine - or maybe being accepted to the residency program at Yale New Haven Hospital for Emergency Medicine, her first-choice match - but her plan to serve in the field of emergency medicine has remained the same.
“I will indeed specialize in emergency medicine,” she said. “I like the immediate gratification of making a diagnosis. The broad scope of the practice is intellectually fulfilling to me, and I particularly prize the opportunity to make that tangible difference in a crucial moment in the life of my patients. I also enjoy the team effort in stabilizing, diagnosing, and treating acutely ill patients.” Within the field of emergency medicine, Cristiana is particularly interested in the applications and uses of ultrasound as well as international medicine efforts and is considering ways to combine these interests to start a project in her native Romania.
Cristiana credits the numerous leadership opportunities she had at Wesleyan for giving her the confidence and abilities to become involved in leadership efforts at Dartmouth, where she and a classmate initiated a project to improve nutritional choices for people using the Upper Valley Haven Food Shelf. The Food Shelf provides a week’s supply of healthful groceries once a month to anyone in need, plus unlimited access to bread and produce. She was also instrumental in reviving the Emergency Medicine interest group at Geisel School of Medicine and organized a diabetes education night at the local free clinic. As part of the Dartmouth International Health Group student leadership, Cristiana participated in a grant/scholarship evaluation process for students applying for funding for projects abroad.
“The educational environment at Wesleyan gave me the freedom of thought and the knowledge base to tackle all the basic science courses in my first year of medical school, as well as the case discussions during my second year. Histology (the branch of biology that involves the microscopic study of animal and plant tissue) was so much easier after taking Dr. Boettger-Tong’s class. I essentially did not need to study new material. Biochemistry was also easier after memorizing the citric acid pathway and glycolysis in Dr. Schroeder’s (Wanda Schroeder ’80) class. Dr. Rhoades taught me everything about action potentials. This list could continue on and on,” she said. Cristiana says her Geisel school administration, professors, and staff are dedicated to teaching, but they also try to get to know each and every student.
Time, dedication, and talent have propelled Cristiana through the difficult parts of medical school, and she will spend the next four years doing what she loves best. “Medicine is both an art and science,” she said. “I am always astonished by the privilege of being trusted with something as precious as a person’s life.”