Long and winding road brings oncologist to Clifton Park

Physician

By Molly Congdon
Gazette Reporter
CLIFTON PARK — On Wednesday, July 1, Dr. Adriana Lisinschi began the next phase of her medical career at New York Oncology Hematology, the community-based cancer and blood disorder care center located at 3 Crossing Blvd.

Her path to this area was unconventional to say the least.

Lisinschi was born and raised in Moldova, an Eastern European country and former Soviet republic — full of forests, rocky terrain and vineyards — that shares a great deal of linguistic and cultural roots with neighboring Romania.

She completed her medical degree at the State Medical & Pharmaceutical University, Nicolae Testemitanu, Moldova, in 1994 and then her residency in Medical Oncology and Hematology at the Institute of Oncology of Moldova in 1997.

Then in 2002, she immigrated to Canada. “That was a big challenge because basically I started everything from the beginning,” Lisinschi said. “I did not speak English at all.”
But if she wanted to continue her medical career it was a necessary move. “After the former Soviet Union cracked down the economy was really bad, it was awful — an economic disaster,” Lisinschi said. “There was no money in medicine anymore, you can’t practice what you want and you cannot do for the patients what you think needs to be done; we were short on chemo drugs.”

She was determined to once again become a certified medical practitioner. After taking English classes at a community college she passed all of the Canadian board exams and then U.S. board exams as well.

In 2008, she was accepted into residency in internal medicine at Jacobi Medical Center in New York City. “It was a very exciting residency because in New York City the residency is very busy,” Lisinschi said. “That kind of gives you the confidence that you can manage a big load of patients.”

Then she went on to complete a fellowship in hematology and oncology at Westchester Medical Center.

“When I finished fellowship I was looking for a private practice,” Lisinschi said. “I wanted a big private practice that offers something more; you will find very few that offers research and clinical trials. That was a big point for me to choose NYOH.”

She couldn’t be happier with that decision. “I’ve seen many types of cancer, a wide variety here,” she said. “Also we have good team, I like my colleagues.”

The Cohoes resident has a son in high school.

Pursuing the study of medicine wasn’t a difficult choice. “That was my decision a long time ago,” Lisinschi said. “It was what I liked most. Hematology is elegant to me; it’s flowing, everything makes sense. How the cells develop, how they evolve why they change and become malignant.”

The field of oncology also piques her interest. “I like that oncology evolves significantly in terms of research,” Lisinschi said. “Every week you have a new FDA-approved drug or clinical trial; it’s very exciting because there is so much new stuff.”

Prior to her adult success in medicine, she was basically a childhood prodigy at piano. When she was 7 years old she was admitted to the Moldovan School for Gifted Children. Each day, in addition to her academic studies, she would spend five hours stroking the ivory keys.

Students, if the school felt that they were no longer worthy, could be pushed out. If their performance academically and musically wasn’t up to snuff, even first-graders were kicked to the curb. The Common Core seems like a cake walk in comparison.

“What not to love about piano?” Lisinschi said. “Whenever I feel overwhelmed I will always sit down and play for myself.”

Tears welled up in her eyes before she continued: “I cannot describe music, it’s something you love or you don’t love — it’s part of you. Whenever I go to a concert and the music starts my son says, ‘Mom please, don’t embarrass me, don’t cry.’ ”

For her, music and medicine have something quite significant in common — she is completely passionate about them.