Louie Ruland (Class of 2006) and Chris Ruland (Class of 2007) both always knew they wanted to pursue professions in the medical field, following the path of their Dad and two uncles (all also alumni of St. Mary’s School).
Upon graduating from University of Maryland, Louie worked for three years as a medical assistant and orthopedic tech. He noted shadowing a Physician Assistant (P.A.-C.) at his father’s Orthopedic practice, which influenced him to pursue a career as a physician assistant. After graduating from the Anne Arundel Community College/University of Maryland, Baltimore Collaborative Physician Assistant Program in 2016, Louie moved on to St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, where he currently serves as a Physician Assistant in the adult emergency room.
After a collegiate wrestling career at Johns Hopkins University and receiving his medical degree from University of Maryland School of Medicine, Chris currently works as a resident physician in Orthopedic Surgery at Stony Brook University Hospital in Long Island, NY. He hopes to specialize in sports medicine.
COVID-19 has had a major impact on both men as they work to provide assistance to those most in need. When the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an outbreak in the New York City area, Chris answered the call to assist with patient care, rotating to several different area hospitals where the need was most critical. When the outbreak reached its peak, Chris returned to Stony Brook to work night shifts in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, as all doctors, regardless of specialty, were redeployed to support these critical COVID-care units.
Chris noted that teamwork has been especially important during this unprecedented time, as the pandemic has created an ‘all hands on deck’ situation with his orthopedic team working with other units they don’t normally interact with including dermatology and psychology.
Louie is on the frontlines at St. Agnes, where he performs rapid medical evaluations and sees many patients presenting with COVID-19 symptoms. He notes his team has “really unified,” due to the unpredictable nature of this virus and its major effects on communities. “Every day is changing, but everyone is adaptive and unified in their approach,” Louie said. “Everyone has been stepping up, taking it one day at a time, and doing the best they can.”
When asked how St. Mary’s prepared them for this uncertain and difficult time, both men said the values imparted upon them while at school have helped influence their actions and service to others.
Louie said, “Values of perseverance, dedication and a desire to help others—all those were instilled early on at St. Mary’s and they stuck with me throughout my career.”
Chris said, “A Catholic education teaches you to love your neighbor and the importance of compassion. Empathy is something I learned early on — St. Mary’s nurtured that.”