It only makes sense that Dr. Ruby Roy was eventually called to palliative medicine, a medical specialty that treats the body, mind and spirit of patients living with serious illness.
In her personal life, the pediatrician had always looked beyond medical journals and books for ideas to improve health, including devoting more than 500 hours of study to become a certified yoga instructor.
In her career, Dr. Roy (who goes by Dr. Ruby to her patients and team) most recently spent seven years caring for children at LaRabida Children’s Hospital in Chicago and the University of Chicago Hospital. Her practice specialized in patients living with chronic illness and developmental disabilities, including degenerative neurological diseases and cerebral palsy.
“It was in working with them that I realized the need for palliative care,” she said. “I learned that palliative care was about allowing a child to have the best possible life they can, for as long as they are alive.”
To Dr. Roy that meant more than just medical treatment. That meant helping their families understand and come to terms with their child’s diagnosis, or using her yoga training to help a teenage patient learn to combat anxiety attacks without medication.
Dr. Roy immersed herself in palliative care clinical trainings through both the Coleman Foundation and Harvard University, then helped to found LaRabida’s palliative care program. The program became so successful, she said, that she discovered her desire to practice pediatric palliative care full-time.
That passion brought Dr. Roy to JourneyCare early this year, where she now serves as Associate Medical Director. She brings nearly 25 years of medical expertise and a holistic approach to treating patients and caring for their families – which includes her latest endeavor to become certified in pediatric hypnosis for pain management.
“Medicine is a service,” says Dr. Roy. “It’s a really cool profession because it allows you to combine science and technology with human relationships and they have to be equally important. Palliative care especially demands that you take time with families. It forces you to slow down and put the patient first, in whatever way they need.”
Dr. Roy notes that JourneyCare offers a talented, well-rounded pediatrics team that includes nurse case managers, a nurse practitioner, certified nursing assistants, Child Life Specialists, social workers, chaplains and volunteers. As the full-time physician leading that team, Dr. Roy said she looks forward to working with each team member and, ultimately, helping the program grow to serve even more patients and families. “I look forward to working with this impressive team and hitting the ground running,” Dr. Roy said. “With our expanded service area across 10 counties it is a vital time to educate more families on the importance of palliative and hospice services for our pediatric patients.”
Get to Know Dr. Ruby Roy:
Dr. Roy graduated with honors from Harvard University, earning a degree in biology. She then earned her medical degree from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, and completed her Pediatric Residency at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati.
“I continue to study and practice yoga and to lift weights. But I also love to cook and my specialty is whatever is on Food Network or Epicurious that looks good this week – though I of course cook a lot of Indian and Italian food since my husband is half Italian. I work out in the gym to deal with the effects of my love of food.”
“I came to the United States when I was 17, but I grew up in England and Canada and was born in India.”
FAMILY “I have two children, a 19-year-old son in college and a son who is 23 and attending graduate school. My husband is a pharmacist, but also a gifted musician and guitarist who produces his own CD every year.”
BEYOND THE EXAM ROOM
“I also love poetry and have taught a Medicine & Literature class at Loyola and The Healer’s Art at both Loyola and The University of Chicago. Healer’s Art is a class pioneered by Dr. Rachel Remen, author of ‘Kitchen Table Wisdom.’ I take integrative therapy as a personal philosophy, both in and outside of work.”