February 11, 2016
Reid Muller, MD, FACC, FACP
In recognition of American Heart Month, the “Heart to Heart” series provides an inside look into the career path of cardiologists who got their start at RUSM. Below Dr. Muller shares his experience, including his position as a United States Air Force Flight Surgeon for the Air National Guard and Air Surgeon for the state of New York.
RUSM: What influenced your decision to pursue medicine?
MULLER: I was influenced to go into medicine by my family doctor growing up. He was an amazing person and an incredible clinician.
RUSM: You mentioned that you were a United States Air Force Flight Surgeon for the Air National Guard, what was that like?
MULLER: My Air Force career was quite varied. I started out as a squadron level flight surgeon in an airlift wing in Newburgh, NY. It offered opportunities to fly all over the world, as well as participate in humanitarian medical missions, particularly in Central America.
Eventually, I was offered command of a medical squadron attached to a fighter wing in Syracuse, near where I lived at the time. I was a squadron commander in a front-line fighter wing. I had the opportunity to fly at supersonic speeds and “pull G’s” (the act of diving and dropping an aircraft at such great accelerated speeds that a gravitational force is created) in fighter aircrafts such as the F-15 and F-16.
Then, 9-11 happened. For much of the next four years, I sometimes spent as much time on active duty as I did in private practice. I participated in multiple combat deployments, as well as a stint as the Task Force Surgeon at Ground Zero.
RUSM: What was your role like when you were selected as the Air Surgeon for New York State in 2007?
MULLER: I assumed oversight and supervision of the medical forces assigned to five Air Wings as well as the Eastern Air Defense Sector, and was responsible for the medical readiness of over 6,000 airmen. If New York was its own country, we would have the world’s 11th largest air force.
We additionally worked with state and federal agencies on disaster preparedness and response to weapons of mass destruction. Throughout my career, I think the consistent highlight was the opportunity to work with incredible people. I had X-ray techs whose ‘day’ job was CEO of a hospital, a nurse who was a Lieutenant in the NY Fire Department, a lab tech who ran the research labs at a major medical school; and I had the opportunity to care for many brave men and women who selflessly put their lives on the line to protect their country and their loved ones.
RUSM: Why did you choose cardiology as your specialty?
MULLER: I decided to go into cardiology as a number of family members were stricken by heart disease. I found that this is what often influences many of us to choose our respective specialties.
RUSM: What do you find most rewarding about being a cardiologist?
MULLER: I have found cardiology to be very rewarding - you have the opportunity to intervene in a person’s life at a particularly critical moment, salvage him or her from a potentially life-ending catastrophe, and restore patients to a decent quality of life and functionality.
More on Reid Muller, MD, FACC, FACP
Graduated: RUSM Class of 1984
- Air Surgeon, New York State
- Member, New York State Board for Professional Medical Conduct
- Retired, United States Air Force Flight Surgeon, Air National Guard (25 years of service)
- Internal Medicine Residency, Methodist Hospital, NY, NY
- Cardiology Fellowship, Methodist Hospital, NY, NY
- Advanced heart failure
- Mechanical support of the failing heart prior to transplant or in lieu of transplant
- Undergraduate: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
- Medical Education: Ross University School of Medicine
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