Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) alumna Renuka George, MD ’12, was always inspired by her parents’ love for medicine and their patients. George’s father is a surgeon, and her mother, an anesthesiologist; both shaping her perspective of the world. Born in India, she viewed her parents as role models in medicine as they practiced in India, the Middle East, and then the US. “My parents served as great sources of inspiration to me. They continue to practice medicine and believe that helping patients is a privilege and an honor.”
George now serves as a Regional and Acute Pain Anesthesiologist and medical director at the Medical University of South Carolina, as well as assistant professor of Anesthesia and Perioperative Medicine. She sees her role as vital in both treating and preventing pain, caring for her patients at their most vulnerable, and promoting a variety of pain management methods that minimize the use of opioids. Trained at the University of Texas McGovern School of Medicine in Houston, where she completed her anesthesia residency and served as chief resident, she was selected as Outstanding Graduating Senior Resident for the 2015-2016 year during her time at the University of Texas at Houston Health Science Center Department of Anesthesiology.
As a perioperative physician in a surgical setting, George gravitated toward anesthesiology because of the immediate impact on patient outcomes and alternatives for pain management. “Given the current opioid epidemic, it's gratifying to know that now there are many more options in our arsenal,” she said, adding inspiring stories of her own personal care after congenital heart defect surgeries.
As the daughter of physician parents with nomadic tendencies, George gained a unique perspective on life. “It certainly gives you insight into what it means to be different. Whether it’s different because of your racial background or because you have a different concept of the world from the other kids in class, I’ve always benefited from it. I think being a woman of color starting your career in medicine is always going to be more challenging. The only way to overcome that is to have more women in medicine, particularly in leadership roles. That’s why I pursue those roles actively. We don’t have a lot of mentors who look like us. The only way to resolve that is for women of color to become those mentors.”
Since graduating from RUSM, George has been busy performing research, mentorship, and clinical work around education, administration, and research of pain management. One of her proudest accomplishments is a team-based initiative to build an Enhanced Recovery After Cardiac Surgery (ERAC) protocol to offer patients better pain control after sternotomy or open-heart surgery.
Looking ahead, the physician, wife of fellow RUSM grad, Burke Gallagher, MD ’12, and mom, hopes to become an associate professor and gives thanks to those who mentored her along the way. “I’m grateful to RUSM because my medical school education gave me an avenue to pursue a life I didn’t realize was possible.”
The RUSM Early Distinguished Career Award recognizes those who have achieved outstanding civic or professional accomplishments in their first 10 years after graduation. Learn more about the selection criteria for our Alumni awards.