Corina Filip, MD, MHCDS
Returning to her native Romania for her 20-year high school reunion, Corina Filip took a tour of the intensive care unit in Timsoara, the third-largest city in the country. As an ICU physician working in Massachusetts, she was shocked by what she found.
“There was little communication among doctors, no isolation for infectious patients, no one was even washing hands,” she says. “We need to change that.” Filip left Romania 15 years ago for medical school in San Francisco, and moved around the U.S. on medical residencies before ending up outside of Boston as an ICU critical care specialist and pulmonologist at Partners HealthCare’s North Shore Medical Center. She follows a busy but rewarding schedule—alternating 60-hour weeks in the hospital in addition to raising two young children. Even so, her heart has stayed in Romania. “I love my work and my family; my kids are amazing, but I felt like something was missing,” she says.
She found her passion in a commitment to help reform how intensive care is delivered in Romania, where mortality rates are 55 percent, compared to around 10 percent in the U.S. “You are more likely to die than survive,” says Filip. Despite having a ready model in her own cutting-edge ICU, she had little experience in knowing how to implement changes elsewhere, especially overseas. A colleague recommended the Master of Health Care Delivery Science (MHCDS) program at Dartmouth to help her understand health care delivery in all of its aspects and at the same time burnish her leadership skills.
Today Filip is more empowered in her own practice, and has plunged into an action-learning project—the culmination of the MHCDS learning experience—to bring reproductive health information to populations in Rwanda, Romania, and the rural U.S. as a way to help understand the challenges of working on health issues in different cultures. She entered the program knowing that it will not only help develop her contacts in Romania, but also the leadership skills she needs to play a part in reform. “I wanted to put my time and money where my mouth was,” she says, “to make myself more credible—and find like-minded Romanians who are also willing to take a hard look at the system. Hopefully, we can create something together.”