For Dr. Cosmina Zeana, becoming a physician was always at the core of her existence. Dr. Zeana’s father and grandfather were physicians, while her mother was a chemical engineer and chemistry teacher and her great-grandmother a midwife. She recalls her father making house calls and even giving his patients money for food to overcome the many challenges faced by the people of their native Romania. “I observed and was inspired by my father’s strength and determination to help those less fortunate,” stated Dr. Zeana.
It was Dr. Zeana’s medical and scientic heritage that influenced her decision to pursue a medical career. She first followed in her mother’s footsteps by attaining a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and then moved forward to fulfill her goal of becoming a physician, graduating from the Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Romania.
In 1996, Dr. Zeana came to the United States to continue her career pathway and completed a three-year medical residency program at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. An important milestone for Dr. Zeana was her acceptance into a specialty fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Columbia University. During this time period, she also received a Master’s degree in Public Health from Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. “My experiences at Columbia made me realize the importance of addressing public health issues in inner city communities and served as a driving force for me to become an Infectious Disease physician,” stated Dr. Zeana. Her decision led to a position at Harlem Hospital, where she worked as an Attending Physician for the next 10 years, becoming increasingly involved in treating the serious health problems of this community.
Dr. Zeana’s BronxCare career began when a friend from Romania recommended she apply for a position in its Division of Infectious Diseases. BronxCare’s record of accomplishments in the Infectious Diseases area was well known to her, and she was impressed with its dedicated team. Dr. Zeana subsequently joined BronxCare in 2011 and almost immediately applied the lessons learned from her experiences to the benefit of patients and the community.
At BronxCare, Dr. Zeana’s career rapidly advanced. She soon became Chair of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program and the Infection Control Committee, prior to being appointed as Director of Epidemiology in 2020 and, in 2022, to her current position as Chief of Infectious Diseases. In each of these positions, Dr. Zeana took on key roles in optimizing the use of antibiotics, resulting in a decrease in hospital-acquired infections as well as antibiotic resistance. She also developed Infection Control Guidelines and was an integral part of BronxCare’s successful response to HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Zika, Monkeypox, and COVID-19, among other infectious diseases.
As Chief of Infectious Diseases, Dr. Zeana is responsible for BronxCare’s Center for Comprehensive Care, coordinating a team of 50 physicians, nurses, and support staff, in addition to monitoring close to $3 million in grant funding. Regardless of these wide-ranging responsibilities, Dr. Zeana remains committed to providing the highest quality of care to her patients and community, as well as continuously strengthening the Division of Infectious Diseases and its research efforts. “We are achieving successful outcomes every day and helping our patients recover and live comfortably, and that is a source of pride for me,” stated Dr. Zeana.
During her time away from BronxCare, Dr. Zeana enjoys hiking and traveling. She has visited all the continents, with the exception of Antarctica, and frequently returns to Romania to be with family, often sharing medical advancements and patient success stories with her father, who is still practicing at age 85. Dr. Zeana and her husband, Tjark, also an Infectious Disease Specialist, reside in East Harlem and have two sons. Per is currently a student at the Bronx High School of Science, where his goal is to become a physician, while Lars is a finance major at New York University’s Stern School of Business.