Drug overdoses, now the leading cause of accidental death in the US, are a public health crisis and the reason 2013 Saba graduate Cornel Stanciu switched from surgery to psychiatry and is now headed to a fellowship in addiction psychiatry at Dartmouth.
Today’s drug problem is being driven not just by illicit substances such as heroin but also by the vastly expanded use of prescribed opioid pain killers such as Vicodin, Percocet and OxyContin. That the very drugs used to treat pain are culprits in a growing epidemic has been a wake-up call heard across the medical profession. Corneliu Stanciu heard the call during his clinical rotations at Saba.
An honors Bachelor of Science graduate of the University of Toronto, Corneliu entered Saba with the goal of becoming a surgeon. Today he is finalizing his residency training at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina as a psychiatrist specializing in the treatment of addiction disorders.
“When I did my psychiatry clinical rotation at Shepard Pratt at the University of Maryland, I saw all of these patients suffering from addictions. That rotation completely changed my mind on the kind of doctor I wanted to be and the difference I want to make in this world. There really is an epidemic of pain killer addictions out there and I decided I wanted to do something about it.”
Since graduating from Saba in 2013, Corneliu has been actively involved in the academic community winning awards for his presentations at many conferences, participating in knowledge dissemination through media interviews and publishing a dozen articles on addiction related issues. He also developed the first online drug-monitoring website in North Carolina where users can anonymously provide input on their drug use and receive personalized feedback helping them gain insight into their addiction and seek help ( http://www.ecu.edu/areyouawarenc/). “This kind of approach has been very big in Europe for a while and is just coming to the US. Traditional methods of monitoring trends and characterizing users are no longer effective in this day and age,” he said.
Corneliu credits the program at Saba with giving him the opportunities to explore and understand how he could have the greatest impact as a physician. “Saba’s small class size and frequent assessments really helped me a lot. The quality of the rotations was superb.”
In July 2017, after completing his residency training in Greenville, Corneliu is headed to a fellowship in addiction psychiatry at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth University and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
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