Maria's Open Road
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Poor, Lazy Overachievers
Cleveland Clinic Studio
language, learning, medical school, Poland, positivity, society, travel, unpredictable
Growing up in Poland, Dr. Maria Siemionow had to choose a path for herself early on in her life. Luckily, she knew she wanted to go into medicine. After high school, Maria went directly into medical school (in Poland, med students go in directly after they finish high school). After six years in med school, Maria finished her residency in 1974 specializing in orthopedics, but she also wanted to be trained in hand surgery and microsurgery. She then earned her Ph.D. in hand surgery in 1985. But Maria learned from her fellow colleagues that the best place to further study hand and microsurgery was in the U.S. at the Christine Kleinert Institute for Hand and Microsurgery in Louisville, Ky. So Maria sent in an application and was accepted to do a fellowship there. For Maria, choosing a path in medicine was not choosing money necessarily; in Poland, medical workers make the same as any other worker. Maria just followed what she wanted to do. In December 2008, Maria led the team that performed the world's first near-total human face transplantation. Since 1995 she has been director of Plastic Surgery Research and head of Microsurgery Training in the Plastic Surgery department of Cleveland Clinic.