DEARBORN — Even during the decade when she was a practicing physician, Dr. Cristina Bailey – the new director of Academic Services at Henry Ford College – remained a teacher at heart.
“I’ve always been a teacher. I was a teaching assistant in medical school. I taught head and neck anatomy to dental students. I continue to teach, and I will always teach – in and out of the classroom,” said Bailey, a fourth-generation educator.
Bailey’s transition from medicine to higher education felt like a natural evolution of her career.
“The concept of spending two years in school and getting an associate degree – in nursing or a trade, for example – and then being able to enter the workforce is fascinating to me,” the Canton Township resident said. “I fell in love with the idea of higher education.”
Bailey earned her bachelor’s degree in premed and biology and her medical degree at the National University of the Northeast in her native Argentina. She completed her residency in general surgery and oncology at Vidal Hospital in Argentina.
Bailey also earned a master’s degree in exercise physiology from Eastern Michigan University. She is a registered clinical physiologist and a certified yoga teacher. She speaks fluent Spanish and English, as well as conversational German and French.
After emigrating to the United States in the late 1990s and raising her three children, Bailey taught anatomy and physiology at EMU and Baker College. She became a full-time faculty member at Baker in 2011. She rose in the ranks, becoming the dean of health sciences and, later, the director of academics.
She has found a way to balance her dual career paths, though her current focus is squarely on academics.
“I fell in love with medicine,” Bailey said. “I also fell in love with teaching college students.”
This month, Bailey joined HFC as the new director of Academic Services, a position that was vacant for several months. She reports to Michael Nealon, vice president of Academic Affairs.
“Cristina Bailey is an excellent addition to HFC,” Nealon said. “She brings a unique perspective on higher education, given her diverse background as a physician. Her experience, coupled with her passion for higher education, makes her an invaluable asset to our team. I look forward to working with her to move the college forward.”
Bailey’s duties in her new position include creating articulation arguments with other colleges and universities for both in-person and online programs. She is responsible for maintaining and updating the college catalog, including the introduction of new programs.
She will collaborate with the four HFC academic deans on various academic initiatives. Bailey would also like to teach anatomy and physiology at HFC, as time permits.
“I am a serious advocate for students. I always have been,” she said. “HFC gives many amazing opportunities to students to prepare them for the workforce. I share Dr. Nealon’s vision to make HFC a college that is nationally recognized for the quality of its programs. I believe we will achieve that vision.”