Get to Know Your Peers: Ross W. Hilliard, MD, FACP

Ross Hillard

Ross W. Hilliard, MD, FACP
Associate Professor of Medicine, The Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University
Associate Program Director, Brown Internal Medicine Residency Program
Director of Medical Informatics, Lifespan Health System

1. What is your current professional position?

I currently wear a few different “hats.” I am an Associate Professor of Medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, an Associate Program Director for the Brown Internal Medicine Residency Program, the Director of Medical Informatics for the Lifespan Health System, and the Medical Director of the Rhode Island Free Clinic and the Lifespan Community Health Institute.

2. Why did you choose Internal Medicine?

I loved the breadth of internal medicine (IM), and was drawn to primary care early on, which led me to the GIM residency at Brown where I trained. I love being able to have longitudinal relationships with patients and being their resource to help make sense of sometimes complex and occasionally conflicting information from a myriad of specialists.

3. What trends are you seeing in your day-to-day practice (with patients, the health care system, or otherwise)?

Patients are struggling more in so many aspects of their lives and health: this has progressed (alarmingly) through the pandemic and especially in the last year. I care primarily for a very vulnerable population, so the effects of inflation, the end of pandemic supports, and the struggles of health care organizations are even more acutely felt by my patients. These struggles are in a variety of areas, including physical health, mental health, housing and food insecurity, and many more.

4. What do you want to accomplish professionally within the next five years?

That’s a tough question. I’ve been fortunate to be able to craft a mix of interests into my current role, and I enjoy the variety of my work. In truth, I’ve been lucky in that I met some of my initial goals more quickly than I expected.

5. Can you share a brief (and anonymous) patient encounter or professional situation that made you proud to be an Internal Medicine physician?

For me, the proudest moments I have in IM are watching the successes of my residents as they progress through training and as they embark on their own professional journeys in IM. One recent moment of pride came as I read an excellent letter of recommendation from an attending physician I had watched progress from medical school through residency who is now practicing and teaching. This led me to reach out and check in with them: I found that they were thriving. There is no better reward than that.