Clinician, Mentor Dr. Robert Ruddy Talks About Perseverance and Leadership
As soon as their first trimester of study at Northeast College of Health Sciences, students have the opportunity to learn from Robert Ruddy (D.C. ’96). Dr. Ruddy is a well-known figure at the College. He teaches nutrition courses as an associate professor and has become a clear leader and mentor as a senior clinician at the College’s Seneca Falls Health Center.
Dr. Ruddy finds it especially rewarding to work with students in the clinical and final phase of their education at Northeast. A former health center director at the College, Ruddy now leads student clerks as they work with patients under his expert guidance. He proudly refers to Northeast students as “the future leaders of the profession.”
One of those students, Fawod Majidi, (D.C. ’22) worked as a student clerk at the Seneca Falls Health Center with Ruddy and said he could not ask for a better mentor. “His ability to communicate with patients and the relationships he builds within his community are what all doctors should strive for. He teaches students about the critical thinking and diagnostic skills that allow us to become greater clinicians,” Fawod said. “Dr. Ruddy offered the support and guidance we needed to be confident and be the best advocates for our patients. I couldn't be more honored to have had the opportunity to learn from him.”
As an alumnus, Ruddy understands what it means to be a student at the College – and in fact, enrolled in the College twice. The first time he was 24 but had to drop out when his daughter became ill. He went back to work as a chef so he could pay for the medical bills. Ten years later, Ruddy was making a good living, the bills were paid, and his daughter recovered. He still wanted to become a doctor, so he reenrolled at the College and graduated with his doctor of chiropractic degree in 1996.
In his more than 25 years as a practicing chiropractor and educator, Ruddy’s passion for chiropractic has remained strong. As the keynote speaker at Northeast’s 2022 Pursuit of Academic Excellence & Leadership Ceremony, Ruddy shared his story to remind students that challenges will arise, but perseverance and hard work will pay off. “You are about to embark into the best possible profession on the planet,” he said. “And you will have the opportunity to work with patients that need your skills, compassion and empathy.”
Quick Questions with Dr. Robert Ruddy.
What is your best advice for students becoming leaders in their profession?
We live today in a society that needs good leaders. You can help fill this void by learning how to set a standard for yourself and striving to live up to that standard every day. After you leave the College and start your practice, stay humble and be a leader in your office and in your community. Donate your time to help the people in your community. Strive for excellence in everything you do – every patient encounter you have, every test you perform. Never settle for mediocrity. With this type of attitude, you will quickly become a leader in your office, your community and most importantly in your own personal life. You will notice that with hard work, integrity and perseverance you’ll build a great practice and become an expert in your field. The real key to success though, even as a great leader is to be kind to every patient and realize that as a leader you are no better than any other human being. Always take the time to listen to your patients and give 100 percent of your effort.
Who were your mentors and leaders?
Mentors are so important. They provide you with their knowledge so that you can become the best doctors of chiropractic. I still remember my mentors who helped guide me on my path: Dr. Kenneth Padgett (former College president and current chancellor), and former College professors Dr. Vincent Loia and Dr. Lloyd Henby.