Rull Finds Faculty Career at School of Medicine Rewarding
Gary Rull ('92 B.A., Chemistry; M.D. '98, Internal Medicine) developed an interest in science in junior high and high school but he never considered pursuing a career in medicine. His parents owned and operated a long-term care facility, started by his grandparents, which gave him some exposure to health care. He originally wanted to follow in the footsteps of his two sisters, both of whom had business degrees from SIUE. Through the SIUE Student Leadership Development Program, Rull volunteered at Saint Anthony's Hospital in Alton to gain more insight into a medical career. "Through this opportunity as well as talking with faculty and others about the medical profession, I finally made the decision to go to medical school," Rull said.
Rull graduated from SIUE in 1992, and entered medical school in 1994. He spent some time in a research lab at The Jewish Hospital/Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He graduated with honors from the SIU School of Medicine, and then completed a three-year residency in internal medicine, followed by a year as the chief medicine resident. Rull currently is a faculty member at the SIU School of Medicine.
Rull's schedule varies according to his duties as a general internal medicine and primary care physician, a supervisor of both medical students and internal medical residents, and an instructor at the medical school and in the residency program. He is currently the Doctoring Director of the SIU School of Medicine. In addition to teaching medical students how to take patient histories and do medical exams, Rull covers communication skills that will foster good doctor-patient relationships. He also conducts classes on legal issues that relate to the medical field.
"The presentation of a disease in one person may be completely different from the presentation of the same illness in another person. Similarly, the treatment response for the same disease among different patients might be dramatically different," explained Rull. This is the most challenging aspect of his medical career.
One of his most satisfying moments was when Rull and some colleagues were awarded a large grant for an SIU School of Medicine program to improve student attitudes toward older patients. "Through this grant we developed a program in which medical students see standardized patient couples. People who are trained to have certain illnesses/diseases, who age about 10 years during each year of medical school," Rull said. During this time period, the husband will acquire several medical problems while the wife remains healthy. The program allows students to see what kind of a medical and social impact results from these dynamics. "The program is successful, yet always developing and expanding," said Rull.
"Although I have only been practicing for a rather short time, it seems like the practice of medicine is becoming more business-like and less personable" Rull said. "I certainly hope this is not a trend because it is so important that the human touch and human connection is not lost in the patient-physician relationship."
Outside of Rull's medical career, he enjoys playing basketball, water skiing, studying French language and culture, and traveling. His interest in the French language developed, in part, by Dr. Debbie Mann, a professor in SIUE's Foreign Languages and Literature Department. His traveling experiences began during the summers of his sophomore and junior years at SIUE. Since those days, Dr. Rull has traveled extensively in the United States and Europe.