When describing the feeling of being matched with his top-choice surgical residency program, Ross University
School of Medicine (Ross Med) student Muller Pierre-Louis, Class of ’22, is overcome by a sense of uncontained joy.
“It’s kind of like winning the lottery, you know? You feel like you go from one life to another in a matter of seconds. One email, one sentence defined the last four years of my life,” he said, “I was just so happy because I knew that I was destined to do great things.”
For Muller, the achievement of matching with the nationally regarded surgical residency program at St. Luke’s Hospital in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania was about more than realizing his dream of becoming a surgeon – it was about paving the pathway for more people to become doctors and to uplift his community. It was about continuing, and building on, the legacy of his parents who are both physicians. It was about shattering doubts. On Match Day, all of those “one days” became “today.”
The Road to Ross Med
As a kid, Muller recalls running through the hallways of Jamaica Hospital in Queens, New York, where his mother was a practicing physician. Having this early exposure to medicine made the field seem inevitable as a career path, but as Muller entered undergraduate studies at SUNY Albany, he started to feel more pulled toward activism – advocating for and working with people from underrepresented communities. During undergrad, he was the president of his college NAACP chapter, and soon after graduating began working with individuals with developmental disabilities.
Over time, Muller began to see that these two passions – medicine and activism – could complement each other and, in fact, make him the kind of doctor that lifts up the community in which he works. Around this time, he recalled how highly his mom spoke of the students she worked with who had graduated from Ross Med.
“I was so determined that I wanted to go to medical school right now that I applied to Ross Med. It was the only school that I ever applied to. I got in and then the rest was history.”
Gaining More than an Education
While on campus in Barbados, Muller got more than a hands-on medical education. He also became a part of a community of supportive friends, discovered a passion for surgery, and even met his future spouse.
At the start of his education at Ross Med, Muller enrolled in the Medical Education Readiness Program (MERP). Through this program, he not only received a great foundation on which he could build his medical school education, but he also met his support system of friends who would be there by his side through the next four years.
“One of the most important things in helping me get to where I am now is having a group of friends that were all dedicated, motivated with the same passion. We’ve studied together since the first day, and we all graduated together. I’m very grateful for that program,” Muller said. “Everyone was bonded through the fact that they all desired to pursue medicine but may not have had the perfect timeline or the perfect life leading up to it. I felt like each individual had a unique story and it was beautiful.”
Muller found his passion for surgery while taking a gross anatomy lab as part of his curriculum. “I was fascinated with the complexity of anatomy. I was hired to be a teaching assistant the very next semester. And that opened my eyes toward a field working with my hands and dealing with anatomy. So, I was like, ‘Maybe I could possibly do surgery.”
As the dream of becoming a surgeon blossomed in Muller’ mind and heart, he also felt doubt creeping in. “I told myself I didn't want to get caught in that dream; let's be more realistic,” he said. But as Muller continued and started his clinical rotations, the doubts started giving way to determination. Not just because this was something he loved and was good at, but because it’s what he felt he was meant to do.
“I fell in love with the definiteness of surgery. When a patient came in with appendicitis, and we did the appendectomy, that sense of resolution that I got from actually being able to solve a problem was big for me, and I knew that this was the field that I wanted to do moving forward.”
Building a Legacy for Future Doctors
Match Day represents a pivotal moment in a doctor’s career. For Muller, it’s a step toward opening up the field of medicine for future generations. His dreams go far beyond becoming a world-class surgeon. He also hopes to one day become a program director and shape the next generation of surgeons.
“I would love to help the pipeline for minorities, and underprivileged and underrepresented groups when it comes to pursuing careers in the STEM field. I thought about my journey, and I knew that had I not had the exposure of my parents in the medical field, there would be no way for me to even know that this is a career worth pursuing. So, I think about individuals who have potential, who can be really great doctors but they just don't have that level of exposure,” Muller shared.
He also plans to take the legacy of his parents further, and to mentor younger generations. “I believe that it's a privilege to start where my parents left off, and to be part of the change that I seek.”
Looking Back on the Lessons Learned
Muller accomplished a lot during his time at Ross Med which undoubtedly helped prepare him to become a surgeon. He was a peer-tutor, a gross anatomy teaching assistant, and is currently the chief teaching assistant of the clinical Academy for Teaching and Learning (cATL). Through these experiences he learned how to be adaptable, how to manage work-life balance, and how to trust and believe in himself.
But perhaps the most important lesson that Muller wants to impart on future Ross Med students is to find a community of people who will lift you up and cheer you along on your journey.
“Whenever you get that light inside you that’s motivating you to accomplish something, find people who will fan that flame and not extinguish it. If you truly believe in yourself, and you stick with those who can provide mentorship and give you that support, then you can accomplish anything.”
In 2023, Ross Med achieved a 98% first-time attainment rate for 2022-2023 graduates.* To get started on your own path to Match Day, learn about how you can be hands-on from the start at Ross Med here.
*First-time residency attainment rate is the percent of students attaining a 2023-24 residency position out of all graduates or expected graduates in 2022-23 who were active applicants in the 2023 NRMP match or who attained a residency position outside the NRMP match.