Dr. Sandra Geiman Ruby could have built a brilliant career anywhere. She chose to focus her practice on the place —
and the people — she loves best.
The wait time for an appointment with Dr. Sandra Geiman Ruby ’99 at her offices in Westminster can be up to five months. That reality is both frustrating and affirming for the brilliant neurologist who could have built her career just about anywhere but decided to go into practice in her hometown. Not only is she helping to fill a great need in the county, but in many cases she is caring for people with whom she has a personal connection, people she knows directly or people who know a member of her extended family, which has deep roots in the area.
Sandra Geiman Ruby almost didn’t become a neurologist or a physician of any kind. After she had her first child during the summer of her senior year, she seriously considered pivoting from her dream and explored nursing or pharmacy as slightly less rigorous grad school options. She shared the new plan with her biology professor and mentor Michael Brown, who listened sympathetically and assured her that he would support whatever decision she made. “But he told me, ‘You really need to go to medical school,’” she recalls. A bio-chemistry major and Phi Beta Kappan, she had been recognized with both the Gordon B. Shelton Award for Excellence in the Life Sciences and the Harry C. Jones Award for Chemistry at commencement. If anyone could ace medical school, it was Sandra.
Dr. Ruby remembers those years completing medical school, her residency and fellowship as a giant juggling act with many extra hands helping to keep all of the balls in the air. Before she officially began her medical training, Sandra and Mark decided to give their son Blake a sibling, and the addition of Anna three months before the start of medical school made life delightfully more complicated. Early in the mornings, Mark would take the kids to childcare and preschool on his way to work, while Sandra caught the metro down to the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.
These days, in her practice she treats the gamut of neurological disorders, from patients with Parkinson’s and MS to those with seizures and migraines. She performs electromyography, or EMG, a diagnostic procedure to assess the health of muscles and the nerve cells that control them. And she interprets electroencephalogram (EEG) tests used to find problems related to electrical activity of the brain.
There’s not a lot of downtime in her schedule. A typical day of office visits can involve appointments with 15 to 20 patients. She spends full weeks on 24-hour call at the hospital. And yet she always strives to give patients the time and attention they need, and to stay focused on the people behind the problems.