Monica Lupei, MD never had a doubt that she would become a physician.

“In pre-school, all the kids were asked what they want to become, and I was very certain I wanted to become a doctor,” said Dr. Lupei, “ I always felt responsible for the well-being of the people around me and felt a lot of compassion for their suffering. I came to realize that my vocation was to be a doctor and to dedicate my life to others.”

While in medical school at Victor Babes University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Romania, Dr. Lupei originally considered specialties in surgery and psychiatry. Surgery was attractive because of the fast-paced decision-making, and psychiatry because of the implication it has on patients’ lives. She ultimately found that she could experience both as an anesthesiologist.

“Anesthesiology is the art and science that keeps patients safe while undergoing a surgical procedure, alleviates their pain and minimizes the emotional impact. I was fascinated by this profession. In my opinion critical care, the subspecialty I chose, is a continuation of anesthesiology outside of the operating room”.

After completing her Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Residency, she came to the University of Minnesota for a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in the College of Pharmacy before completing a second Anesthesiology Residency at the University of Minnesota.

“When I came to Minnesota, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be in this state forever, but I discovered it’s a community that welcomes diversity, and there is an interest in multiculturality. I was thrilled to find that,” said Dr. Lupei.

Now an Assistant Professor in the University of Minnesota Department of Anesthesiology specializing in critical care, Dr. Lupei combines her desire to connect with and help patients with her interest in research by doing outcome-based clinical research in areas such as quality improvement.

“I enjoy seeing the results of my research have an impact in a practical way,” says Dr. Lupei, “Doing clinical and quality improvement research combines my passion for clinical work with my interest for research.”

Another way Dr. Lupei is improving patient care is through organizing the Department of Anesthesiology’s Morbidity and Mortality (M&M) Conferences for faculty, residents and CRNAs to discuss complex cases.

“For our M&M, I have the chance to participate in organizing the conference and help residents prepare their cases, but also collaborate with other specialties,” says Dr. Lupei, “This is a profession of teamwork, and we cannot provide the best care for our patients unless we communicate and work together, and nurture learning in a safe and respectful environment.”

Dr. Lupei’s childhood desire to help others has stuck with her and is evident in her roles as an educator, physician and researcher.

Says Dr. Lupei, “This is the profession I wanted to go into from a young age and I didn’t change my mind ever. I’m honored to be an Anesthesiologist and Critical Care Physician at the University of Minnesota. My professional mission is to be an excellent doctor, great teacher and fruitful researcher.”