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Ross Lordo delivers

Student body president turned OB-GYN brings public health mindset to patient care

Ross Lordo smiles in front of blurred out Downtown Greenville buildings

Ross Lordo knew he wanted to be a doctor when he entered the University of South Carolina as a public health major. He just took a less traditional path to get there.

“My undergrad experience was focused much less on the stringent academics and more on becoming a very well-rounded individual, from developing leadership skills and the ability to balance a high workload,” says Lordo, who graduated in 2018. “I did what I needed to meet the academic threshold and requirements to get into medical school, but I was really focused on broadening my horizons and pushing myself.”

Student government was one way to achieve those goals. The Honors College student worked his way through the ranks, first as a member of Freshman Council and eventually as student body president. Beyond developing his leadership skills, he sought opportunities to get involved at USC, including the University Ambassador program, where he met his wife, Emily.

And he looked beyond the scope of health sciences when considering research opportunities, which led to an unconventional partnership with associate professor Darin Freeburg in the School of Information Science. Freeburg helped Lordo understand why people volunteer for organizations by applying the Health Belief Model.

“All of these experiences were opportunities to have conversations with people who thought differently than I did and had different interests,” Lordo says. “That translated to medicine. Being able to interact with people from a variety of different backgrounds and who have different priorities, being able to sort through that and relate has made me a better physician.”

The Fort Mill, South Carolina, native knew he wanted to stay close to home, so he chose USC’s School of Medicine Greenville.

“It was important to me that I stayed true to who I was and the things that mattered most to me, which was being close to family, being in a place where I would be happy,” he says.

What he didn’t know was that he’d be drawn to OB-GYN. In fact, Lordo went into medical school certain that it was the only specialization he wouldn’t consider. That changed during his clinicals. OB-GYN physicians, he realized, are there for patients during the most significant moments of their lives. And seeing that he could help all patients, no matter their background, at a point when they are most vulnerable spoke to his interest in public health.

"It was important to me that I stayed true to who I was and the things that mattered most to me, which was being close to family, being in a place where I would be happy."

Ross Lordo

“Being a doctor who has a consistent standard amongst patients, whether they're English as a second language or don't speak any English at all or homeless or have a $2 million house — I think when others look at how you serve patients and see equity amongst all of them, then that really makes a difference.”

Since graduating from medical school, he matched and is completing his OB-GYN residency in Greenville with Prisma Health. He and Emily have stayed connected to USC by attending Greenville Gamecock events, and during football season, they are close enough to come back to campus for games.

After welcoming their son, Foster, last year, they feel like Greenville is the place they’d like to stay.

“There's a new generation of energy, especially as more USC graduates end up landing here in Greenville,” Lordo says. “It's such a great place and great quality of life that I think it's becoming even more attractive to people as they start their careers.”

Even though he is only in his second year of residency, he is already making meaningful connections with his patients. Becoming a father has made those connections even more meaningful.

“One of my favorite things is when you get stopped by someone and you delivered their baby,” he says. “That was the biggest moment in their life. And you were an important part of it. Just seeing the relationship between the provider and the patient throughout the journey is so important. And I think it's made me a better doctor as a whole.”


Gamecock Nation: Greenville

If you studied at the University of South Carolina and are now living and working in the Upstate, you might sometimes feel like you’re alone as a Gamecock. But the truth is that the Greenville area is home to more than 28,000 USC alumni, making it the top destination for USC graduates after Columbia. We spoke with several alumni who are making an impact in Greenville.

Meet our Greenville Alumni
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