Ljiljana Krizanac-Bengez, MD, DMSc, began her studies at the School of Medicine of the University of Zagreb in Croatia, where she earned a Bachelor of Science and a Doctor of Medicine in 1985 and a Master of Science in biomedicine and molecular biology from the university’s Faculty of Science in 1988. After completing graduate coursework at the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research, now the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, from 1989 to 1990, she returned to the University of Zagreb to complete her Doctor of Medical Science in 1992. During this time, she served as a teaching and research assistant for the Rudjer Boskovic Institute between 1986 and 1992 before becoming a senior research associate from 1992 to 1993 and an assistant professor in the department of molecular medicine from 1996 to 1999.
Having been born in Croatia, the dissolution of Yugoslavia led Dr. Krizanac-Bengez to relocate to the United States. Her first position in the U.S. was as a postdoctoral research fellow in the transplantation biology department of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle from 1993 to 1996. Following her brief return to Croatia, she then joined the Cerebrovascular Center at the Cleveland Clinic as a research fellow in their neurosurgery department from 1999 to 2002. Remaining with the Cleveland Clinic, she was an assistant research professor with the Cerebrovascular Center from 2002 to 2008 and the coordinator for the clinical research program and outcomes research from 2008 to 2010. Dr. Krizanac-Bengez went on to spend two years as an associate professor of health sciences and chair of the health services management program for Chancellor University from 2011 to 2013.
Since 2014, Dr. Krizanac-Bengez has excelled as an associate professor of health sciences and the coordinator for the health informatics program in the School of Health and Professional Sciences at King University. In these roles, she specializes in translational medical science and is responsible for program and course revisions and development, faculty recruitment, research and education. Over the course of her tenure, she has also spent time on both the institutional review board committee and the institutional effectiveness committee with the university. Attributing much of her success to her passion for helping others as well as her honesty, diligence, accountability, patience and perseverance, Dr. Krizanac-Bengez also feels deeply indebted to the many wonderful mentors she has had throughout her education and career, one of whom was notably involved in the early development of bone marrow transplants in Croatia.
Alongside her primary responsibilities, Dr. Krizanac-Bengez maintains affiliation with a number of professional organizations, including the Nashville Health Care Council and the American Medical Informatics Association. She was previously involved with the American Heart Association, the International Society of Neuroscience, and the American College of Healthcare Executives. Furthermore, she has stayed in touch with one of her former colleagues from the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Albensi, and proffers her expertise as a consultant for his grant research into dementia. On a civic level, Dr. Krizanac-Bengez has given back to her community by being an active donor to a variety of causes, including to her homeland Croatia.
Holding considerable expertise in education and program and course development, Dr. Krizanac-Bengez has made a name for herself as a grant writer as well. Receiving a grant from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in 1993, she went on to author and/or co-author five grants for the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association, notably serving as a lead co-investigator for a National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke grant from 2004 to 2008. For her excellence, Dr. Krizanac-Bengez has been the recipient of a number of honors and accolades, including being named an “Alien of Extraordinary Ability” for outstanding research by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in 2001.
Born to parents Dragica and Franjo Krizanac, Dr. Krizanac-Bengez has been happily married to her husband, Zdravko Bengez, an electronics engineer, since 1986. Together they are the proud parents of one daughter, Lana Bengez, who holds a Doctor of Pharmacy as well as a Master of Business Administration from the Jack Welch Management Institute. Their family has also grown to include three grandchildren. In her free time, Dr. Krizanac-Bengez enjoys reading about ancient philosophies, such as feng shui, and donating her time as a Christian school teacher.