Helping Where It Matters Most – One RUSM Alumnus’ Mission
Life had other plans for Meier, however, and six years later the gym was sold to a national chain, leaving Meier at a fork in the road.
In the interim, Meier had begun volunteering as a translator at Manos Juntas, a local clinic serving undocumented immigrants and uninsured patients, where he met his mentor, Dr. Boyd Shook. From his very first day, Meier was hooked.
“I really wasn’t sure what my next move would be,” he said. “In talking with Dr. Shook, he guided me in this direction by noting my love for medicine and the clinic, and asking why don’t I pursue medicine? So, I made the big leap at 27 to give up my cushy career and go to medical school.”
To do so, however, Meier had to finish his undergraduate degree. He returned to the University of Central Oklahoma, but given his new focus, changed his major to Biology. After graduating, Meier took the MCAT and applied to the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, twice. After his second round, he started looking into alternatives, and a chance conversation with a long-time client at the gym – a leading neurologist in Oklahoma City, Matthew Ryan, MD’ 03 – led to him learning about Ross University School of Medicine.
“At first I was like, no way,” Meier said. “But to my surprise Dr. Ryan said, ‘Why not? That’s where I went.’ Hearing that really changed my perspective, and I decided to see what RUSM was all about.”
Liking what he discovered, Meier applied and was accepted to RUSM, and even qualified for an Alumni Scholarship, thanks to Dr. Ryan’s letter of recommendation.
“It was all pretty amazing, the way it worked out,” he said. “Looking back and knowing what I know now, I wish I hadn’t wasted all that time and just applied to Ross from the get-go.”
One of the greatest things about RUSM, according to Meier, was the opportunity it afforded him to be able to train in many different healthcare systems.
“It absolutely made me not only a better physician, but a better person as well,” he said. “To understand the variety of different things that people deal with in their lives who come from such vastly different backgrounds and be able to treat them, that is a part of my Ross education that I’ll value for my entire career.”
Now on the brink of finally beginning his medical career at his number one MATCH℠ (the National Resident Matching Program®) pick, SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn, NY, as an Internal Medicine - Primary Care resident, Meier noted that he is most looking forward to “being of use.”
“The thing I love the most is when I am given a patient who speaks Spanish and they are expecting me to have to use a translator, but instead I’m able to directly communicate and connect with them in their heart language,” he said. “I’m hoping I can do that a lot in residency and my career – especially working with undocumented workers.”
Meier is also hoping to make a difference by helping to change the face of public health within communities by using targeted communication strategies. In fact, he is so passionate about this that he took a gap year after medical school to earn his MPH from RUSM’s sister school, Chamberlain University.
“Learning how to best connect with patients using the Health Belief Model and other communication and behavioral health theories is something I find really interesting,” he said. “One of the reasons I chose SUNY Downstate as my first choice was because the physician who interviewed me is a communication theory specialist, and I’m really looking forward to training under him and furthering my skills in this area.”
Helping clinics such as Manos Juntas that operate on the front lines of care led Meier to design and implement Your-5-Best: A one-year road trip to all 50 states, D.C., and Toronto, to create free marketing videos for medical and public health nonprofits. His Instagram and YouTube channel, @Your5Best highlights the journey. Unfortunately, COVID-19 cut the trip short by just 2-months and 6-cities to go. Meier is committed to completing the trip when it’s responsible to do so.
“RUSM awarded me the opportunity to meet so many leaders in the medical and public health realm,” he said. “Seeing how people on the front lines are fighting for those most in need is beyond inspiring.”
He continued, “That is the opportunity that RUSM has given me – to follow on this path and help where it is needed most. Going to RUSM was the best decision I’ve ever made.”