NYMC > School of Medicine (SOM) > SOM Alumni Profiles > Christiana Brenin

Christiana Brenin, M.D. '90

Christiana BreninWhat made you choose New York Medical College?       

Coming from Montreal and being an outdoor enthusiast, I was looking for a medical school in a suburban setting which offered a variety of recreational opportunities outside the classroom. When I first arrived at the Valhalla Campus by public transportation (the city bus!), I was blown away by its beautiful setting, its serene environment, the welcoming reception at Sunshine Cottage and its overall homey feel. The opportunity to choose to do third- and fourth-year rotations in or out of New York City also appealed to me. I instantly felt that it was a perfect fit, and a driving distance to Montreal. I was sold!

What is your fondest memory of New York Medical College?     

I have many fond memories of NYMC, including meeting my future husband! But also, living in Vosburgh Pavilion during my first year, and Grasslands in my second year, the grounds around school were a daily breath of fresh air. Since I lived at home as an undergraduate at McGill University, NYMC was my first experience away from home. From the first day at registration, where I met my husband,to the last day graduating on the Oval and newly  engaged, NYMC grounds are embedded in my memory as an idyllic spot, full of growing experiences and the rooting of many friendships still vibrant to this day!

Other fond memories include long walks on the roads around and behind school, studying in the basement of the BSB library, going to histology class in the "cubbies", our anatomy team lab sessions, teaching aerobic exercise classes in the BSB lobby, and walking the sunny link between Vosburgh and BSB a million times!! I also vividly remember standing in the central BSB lobby on Match Day in 1990, and hearing all the yelps of glee. Goal accomplished.....What a day!!

What is your current professional role/position and some highlights of your career track?        

After graduating from medical school, I did my internal medicine residency and fellowship training at Northwestern University in Chicago, and then went into private practice in White Plains, N.Y., just a hop and a skip away from my dear old grounds! Four years later, a career opportunity called us to the University of Virginia, where we are currently established.

My role at UVA is very diverse. I am a medical oncologist specializing in the treatment of breast cancer. I also serve as the hematology/oncology fellowship program director, as well as the medical director of the new Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center Infusion Center. I love my current position, as it provides tremendous variety to my days, from taking care of patients, to helping develop clinical trials, to educating the next generation of trainees, to managing our infusion center, to participating in the planning of the growth of the program and the Cancer Center. Academic practice is full of life, intellectual stimulation, and opportunities for career advancement!

Based on your experiences, what advice would you give to future students and/or future alumni of New York Medical College?         

Professionally: While in medical school or residency training, most of us will graduate to be M.D.'s, and  eventually be eligible to sit for our boards. However, seeking out diverse opportunities for reaching beyond day to day expectations will make you distinct. Dedication to a mission, persistence and advancement in a specific area, whatever that area may be, shows commitment and passion. Growing the field in some way will give you a sense of unparalleled fulfillment, and will make you stand out as a contributor. Be that person!

Personally: You only get as much out of life as you put into it. Settling for always being on the receiving end is just not enough. Look to reach beyond what is offered to you and discover where you can support your community. Find a way to give back to others who are not in your position in life. This will help you find a purpose and a mission. You will feel more accomplished and rewarded, and the world will be a better place because of you!

When you're not working, where are you most likely to be found/what are you most likely to be doing?

Living in Virginia, we are situated just at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. When not working, I can be found hiking with our dog and exploring the backcountry. Other times, I will participate in community events/fundraisers, or spend an afternoon at a local vineyard or cidery. I  travel to D.C. or Denver to visit our two daughters - one is a senior at Georgetown University in D.C., majoring in international health, and the other one just moved to Denver,and is hoping to go to medical school someday, maybe even at our alma mater, NYMC! My husband and I like to travel abroad (for work or for play), but we also love coming back to NY to visit old friends from our family at NYMC.