One of the first things that comes to mind when Greg Gilmour, MD ‘15, DC, FAAPMR, recalls his own white coat ceremony – “I was terrified.”
Much of that anxiety came from Dr. Gilmour coming to RUSM as a nontraditional medical student.
He knew early on that a career practicing allopathic medicine was his aspiration, and it was around the time he was in high school when a neck injury he sustained during a sporting event landed him in a chiropractor’s office. As he advanced through undergrad, Dr. Gilmour decided to focus on chiropractic as his specialty field and enrolled in Palmer College of Chiropractic located in his hometown of Davenport, Iowa. Early on, though, the thought of transferring to an allopathic medical school was on his mind, but he stayed the course and graduated as a Doctor of Chiropractic in 2004. Dr. Gilmour practiced chiropractic independently for seven years, and all the while the voice in his head lingered reminding him that what he really wanted was to be a Doctor of Medicine. “One day, I still remember it, the voice became too loud to brush off,” said Dr. Gilmour. “I got home after a long day at the office and said to my wife – ‘I’m going back to medical school.’” She replied, “finally?”
Dr. Gilmour applied to United States-based schools for two cycles only to be wait listed, but that never deterred him. He eventually came across an advertisement for Ross Med and landed an interview in Chicago, Illinois, a three-hour drive from home.
In 2012, Dr. Gilmour was accepted and enrolled at Ross Med.
The White Coat Ceremony
The white coat ceremony is traditionally during the first week of classes in the first semester of medical school. It is a celebratory occasion and monumental moment for physicians-in-training, but Dr. Gilmour went into his ceremony in 2012 terrified. “I arrived thinking I had already completed one professional degree, so this should not be that much different,” he said. “I already proved myself academically, but I found I had truly no idea what I was getting into. Medical school was much harder than what I had gone through before.”
Only four hours of class on day one had Dr. Gilmour doubting his choice. His wife, family, and entire support structure were back home. All he had were two suitcases of belongings and a dream to carry him through medical school. Despite his doubts, giving up was never an option.
“I stood up from that first four-hour lecture and went straight to the tutoring center. By the time I got to the white coat ceremony later that week, I still was not confident that I had what it would take to make it through. I have no pictures from my ceremony because I was terrified, I was not going to make it.”
From that first tutoring center visit on, Dr. Gilmour utilized Ross Med’s academic support services to stay on track. “I never could have done it on my own. I had never needed a tutor at any point in my life, but I would have struggled had I not swallowed my pride and asked for help.” That is one of the several key messages Dr. Gilmour hopes to extend to the class of 2027 when he delivers his keynote address at the January ’23 white coat ceremony. “There is a lot going on as a medical student, and if you find yourself in a similar situation struggling to stay the course, rely on the resources here to help you,” he says. “Do not be too proud to ask for help.”
Throughout his medical sciences training on campus, Dr. Gilmour was attracted to Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PMR), which he viewed as a hybrid between general primary care and his former career as a chiropractor. He pursued that specialty through clinical rotations at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital in Pontiac, Michigan.
After graduating from Ross Med in 2015, he matched into PMR residency at Michigan State University (MSU) and later accepted Attending Physician and Assistant Professor positions at MSU. He and his wife Ashley of 19 years permanently relocated with their children, Brayden and Addilyn, now eight and six years old. “My wife was always a huge part of my success. There is no chance I could have done this without her support,” he said. Ashley will be accompanying Dr. Gilmour to Barbados to speak to student spouses about supporting their journey throughout medical school.
Dr. Gilmour currently practices in Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at MSU, serving as co-medical director of Mary Free Bed at Sparrow, MSU’s partner hospital. He also continues to spend time in the classroom as an Assistant Professor for MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. Since graduating, Dr. Gilmour has been eager to help RUSM students and volunteer his time through student support programs, including the Ambassador Program and HOST Program.
“Medical school was the hardest thing I have ever done,” he shared. “I had to harness every opportunity to utilize every resource just to make it through, and now sometimes I wake up in disbelief that I have an awesome job where I help people every day and I make an incredible living. I cannot overemphasize how none of this could have happened without the opportunity Ross Med provided me. Nobody else wanted to give me a chance but Ross Med did, and I want these students to have the same opportunity I was given.”