Allison Ruff, MD, Assistant Professor in the Division of General Medicine, is a primary care general internist at Taubman General Medicine, whose clinical interests lie in the primary care of medically complex adults, along with women’s health. She is passionate about providing excellent patient care and equally as passionate about teaching and mentoring medical students and residents in their journey to becoming a doctor. In acknowledgment of her work in medical education, Dr. Ruff received the 2019 Special Recognition for Contributions to the Medical Student Teaching Program Award from the Department of Internal Medicine.
Behind the Scenes with Dr. Allison Ruff
How did you become interested in primary care?
During my training at the Cleveland Clinic, I saw many extremely complex adult patients. As I was exploring my career interests and options, I always wondered what happened to these patients once they left the hospital – who would care for them and take care of their new complex medical needs and educate them about these issues? I realized this was a niche I could fill and I knew I would gain personal satisfaction developing relationships with these patients and their families.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I spend half of my day seeing patients in the clinic. I will often have a medical student working with me, learning from the patients we see. I spend the other portion of the day responding to patient messages and phone calls, as well as teaching at the Medical School as part of the Doctoring Course.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
My biggest accomplishment is being a mom of three incredible children! From a work standpoint, my greatest moment of pride and joy comes from seeing a learner I have trained and worked with throughout their time in medical school or residency choose a job in outpatient general medicine. I feel proud to know I gave them a valuable training experience and set them on the course to a career that will bring them joy and satisfaction.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering specializing in general medicine?
Don’t hesitate! A career in general medicine will allow you to fulfill the aspirations you had when you chose a career in medicine. You will be able to sustain your wide breadth of knowledge, while also having many other opportunities available to you including research, teaching, and administration.
Dr. Ruff is a strong advocate for pursuing a career in general medicine. Read about her work:
- Doctors Who Specialize in Not Specializing: Key to Medicine's Future
- A Different Kind of Speed Dating
What part of your job gives you the most satisfaction?
In primary care, we spend so much of our time counseling patients and motivating them to make healthy life choices. My greatest satisfaction comes from seeing a patient reach their personal goals! When a patient comes in having lost 20 pounds or has quit smoking, I have been known to jump up and down and cheer!
How do you balance your work and personal life?
My children and family are the most important part of my life. I absolutely love my job, but without family it would mean nothing. I have an extremely supportive husband and we balance responsibilities at home as much as possible. We have a detailed online calendar, color-coded to highlight my type A personality! I get to work very early in the morning, before my kids wake up some days, which allows me to be with them after school. I don’t mind working after bedtime if need be, as long as I make it to all of the activities that are important to them! The supportive environment in the Division of General Medicine makes this a great place to be a working mom.
What five words best describe you?
Enthusiastic, authentic, sincere, empathetic, and enterprising.
More about Dr. Ruff...
In addition to patient care and teaching, she conducts research and has been published in several journals. You can read her publications at Michigan Research Experts.
You can keep up with what she's doing on twitter @AlliLRuff.