Hrisi Gueorguieva, MD '19 on Matching into her First Choice Residency Program

The Class of 2019 graduate was one of the founding members of the Family Medicine Interest Group at AUC and looks forward to starting her career as a family physician.

When Hrisi Gueorguieva moved from Bulgaria to Canada at age 9, it was a big adjustment for her and her family. But one thing that made the transition easier was their new family physician, whom they met soon after their move to Toronto. Although she was young at the time, she recalls how he went above and beyond to not only provide medical care, but also help them manage apartment issues, find employment and schools, and navigate other challenges associated with moving to a new country.

Now, as a new graduate of AUC, Dr. Gueorguieva is looking forward to making a difference in her own patients’ lives. This summer, she’ll start residency at her 1st-choice program: Family Medicine at Drexel University / Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA.

“Our physician was one of my biggest influences in choosing family medicine,” said Dr. Gueorguieva. “I love the connection I’m able to make with my patients, and the impact that family physicians can have not only on their patients’ health, but their lives overall.”

We caught up with Dr. Gueorguieva to learn about the path she took leading up to The MATCH™, her time at AUC and her goals for the future.

What stands out about your AUC experience?

From the beginning, I felt welcomed and supported at AUC. Diana Radoja [Assistant Director for International Admissions] who interviewed me, would respond immediately whenever I emailed her during the admissions process and afterwards. It made me confident that if I were to move to the island by myself, I would be taken care of with any questions that I had. And I’ve had a great experience. Anytime I’ve hit a roadblock or had a challenge, there’s been a support system in place, with someone there to give me great advice and just encourage me.

Were you involved with any clubs or organizations at AUC?

I was a member of the Canadian Medical Student Association, and I helped start the Family Medicine Interest Group during my fourth semester. Dr. Albert van der Waag, my Introduction to Clinical Medicine [ICM] preceptor, knew I was interested in family medicine and he encouraged me to get involved. I really liked having the opportunity to help open people’s minds about careers in family medicine. You can do primary care, you can do fellowships or find a niche. Our goal was to bring in alumni, get in touch with family physicians and hear their stories.

What attracted you to the family medicine residency program at Drexel?

I had great experiences meeting with the team, and I could just see myself fitting in through the interactions with residents, attendings, the director and administrative staff. Just like at AUC, it was a very welcoming atmosphere. As a new resident, you’re going to be spending all of your time at the hospital, so it’s important to feel a connection with the people you’ll be working with. In addition, I felt the team was very forward-thinking and open to suggestions from residents. Many of their priorities also aligned with my interests, such as women’s health, which is something I’m very passionate about.

What are your aspirations after residency?

My ultimate goal is to have a wellness clinic with multidisciplinary specialists, such as nutritionists, physical therapists, psychiatrists, etc., working under one roof to better the health of our patients.

Any advice for students entering The MATCH™?

If it’s your dream to become a physician, don’t give up on it. If something doesn’t work out the way you’ve planned—you didn’t get the grade you wanted, you didn’t pass a course—just keep pushing. And, be yourself during the interview season.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank?

I would like to thank my family and friends the most – everyone that was a part of my journey and kept me going. They’ve been the backbone of everything that I’ve done and my biggest supporters. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their encouragement.

Diana Radoja –  It all started with her and how amazing she was, answering my questions and making me feel so welcomed.

Dr. van der Waag – I’ve known him since second semester, and he’s been an inspiration as I pursue family medicine. He’s accomplished so much in his career.

Everyone at Drexel – They’re giving me the opportunity to do what I love, allowing me to help patients and finally become the physician I’ve always imagined I could be.