Go to Top

Raluca Cecilia Mihalache

Raluca Cecilia Mihalache 130 x 180I was born and raised in Bucharest, Romania. My background is clinical nutrition/dietetics and nursing. I am that type of a public health professional who started from the need to help patients, then decided that the next logical step is to focus on prevention and communities. I have worked within the Romanian health care system for about ten years, while continuing my medical education.

The first ten years of my life unfolded in the 1980s, during the last decade of the communist regime. Like many childhood experiences, the environment that I grew up in marked me profoundly. It was then when I slowly realized what a community means or is supposed to be. Among my first recollections of that period are long queues and food rationing. People had to wait, not given the alternative, long hours staying in line just to buy the basics: bread, cheese, eggs and sometimes meat. As a young person, I was not able to grasp the complete absurd and abusive state of the situation. After the fall of the dictatorship in 1989, my country started a long and troubled transition period.

The public health and social justice interest awoke during my teenage years. At age 14 I joined ARAS (The Romanian Association against AIDS) as a volunteer and was an active member until I finished high school. Being involved mostly in adolescent related programmes, raising awareness, educating and trying to be a connection between a somehow fractured society is a huge task for a young individual. Nevertheless, it truly enriched me as a person. Afterwards, being planted this seed, I decided to pursue a medical career.

In 1999, during my studies pursuing a Pharmacy Assistant diploma I began working in a neighborhood pharmacy in Bucharest. In 2004, after becoming a Registered Nurse I worked in the field since. My clinical training and practice varies, having worked in different medical areas, settings and wards (GP practice, ICU, geriatrics, dialysis, camp health care manager).

In 2007, after graduating and becoming a dietitian/nutritionist (sometimes the terms are used interchangeably); my clinical career took another turn. I immediately started working as a nurse. I am equally fond of clinical dietetics and nutrition and their hospital based approaches, as well as research oriented activities. Among my interests are: enteral and parenteral nutrition, critical care patient nutrition, renal dialysis nutrition, diabetes, and maternal nutrition.

In Romania the nutrition field is still at the very beginning. The profession itself and what it entails is not yet fully regulated and established. I am confident that in time and with the growing number of (young) people interested in this field the occupation will develop, become an important part of the Romanian public health arena. For the only beneficiary of this future policies and practices should be the general public. It is my strong belief that the right to proper healthy nutrition and universal healthcare should be undeniable human rights.

I always remember and try to dig deeper and understand the why’s and the how’s of difficult situations. And public health is a serious and demanding mission. I believe that an effective public health (nutrition) professional has to be flexible and unprejudiced in order to accomplish the given tasks. Two key elements in bridging the gap between so many participants (clinical practitioners, scientists and researchers, industry representatives and the public) having conflicting opinions are collaboration and transparency.

I also consider there is a growing need for female professionals in the public health and nutrition domain to be more involved in the decision making process, not only to represent the lower and middle levels of the hierarchy.