Meet our alumni: Gary Gilmond '12, MD

Graduate of the Internal Medicine Residency Program at the University of Vermont Medical Center: 2019

MD Graduate of Larner College of Medicine (Formerly the University of Vermont College of Medicine) Class of 2016


SLU Class of 2012

Major: Neuroscience    Minor: Chemistry

Activities at SLU: Class Council member (served as president, vice-president, co-president throughout 4 years), recipient of SLU Summer Research Fellowship in 2011, member of La Sociedad Hispana, ASIA, General Biology TA, tutor for General Chemistry and General Biology; worked for Calling All Saints


Why did you choose SLU to start your pursuit of a health career?

Early on in my college search, I was impressed by St. Lawrence due to its status as a relatively small college with low student to faculty ratios. Even though St. Lawrence was liberal arts college, the university demonstrated clear investments in their science departments. When I applied to SLU the Johnson Hall of Science was only a few years old and the science faculty had already built a strong reputation for close mentorships with their students. I knew I could get a high-quality education on the fundamentals of health science at SLU with plenty of access to faculty for both career guidance and research opportunities.


What SLU experience has helped you be successful in your professional program and/or current job?

My experiences in my advanced biology courses, in particular my time creating and troubleshooting research projects, played a critical role in improving my scientific knowledge. These experiences also helped me improve my critical thinking skills that I now use every day in my medical career.  Ultimately a key part of what I do every day is talking to people, educating them on their health and trying to embody leadership on often difficult decisions with little information. Many of these skills were fostered through my experiences as a teaching assistant, class council leader and even as a caller at Calling All Saints.


What course(s) did you find most helpful in preparation for professional school academics?

Every advanced biology course I took at SLU was truthfully useful for preparing for medical school. Most of the first two years of medical school is studying and mastering the basics of human health and disease. Having the opportunity to take courses in genetics, immunology, neuroscience and biochemistry at SLU undoubtedly gave me a running start in my medical school studies. Admittedly there were also a few courses outside of biology, chemistry and physics that were extremely helpful for medical school with psychology being a prime example.


What advice do you have for students pursuing a career in your particular field?

To say that healthcare is a unique field would be an understatement. The truth is that a career in medicine is a long and demanding road. I would argue it is more of a personal calling then your standard 9 to 5 career. If I had to pick a single piece of advice to give to pre-medical students, it would be to not to forget about caring for themselves in their pursuit of a profession defined by caring for others. It may feel like there is no sacrifice too great, no price too high to get that MD or DO behind their names, but that may not be true. The journey to becoming a physician is a worthwhile adventure, but it is demanding of a person’s time, patience, money; as well as social, mental, and physical health. You are entitled to a life of happiness, love, and self-worth no matter where you are in your career or what that career will be. If any path in life brings those fundamental facts into question, it is worth asking if it is the right path for you.


Any unique experiences so far?

During my time as a resident on the hematology service at the University of Vermont Medical Center, I had a memorable experience with a patient that will always stay with me. We had a patient transfer to our service from another hospital in the northeast. They had originally shown up to that another hospital complaining of malaise and were quickly identified as being jaundice. Their initial labs confirmed the presence of severe hemolytic anemia or low blood counts related to premature red cell destruction. The patient had a history of lymphoma that had been previously treated with chemo and radiation and the immediate concern was that their cancer had returned. They were transferred to our service to manage their anemia and potentially begin chemotherapy treatment. As we got them settled into the hospital and began transfusing them with blood, we got a call from our lab, which was very unusual. Their initial blood samples set off several abnormality warnings on our automated machines that provide our blood count results. The pathologists and laboratory techs took a closer look at their blood and found no evidence of cancer like cells, but the lab results did show what appeared to be parasites in their red blood cells. They turned out to have babesiosis, an uncommon parasitic disease that can be contracted via tick bites. We placed the patient on an anti-parasitic drug and they made a full recovery. They were very relieved not have a reoccurrence of their cancer! I subsequently presented this case at a morning conference to my fellow residents and senior physicians a month or two later. It stumped the entire room, but it was a fun learning opportunity!