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Medical doctor, writer and model, Dr. Ivan Rusilko, practices what he preaches

Photo: Ivan Rusiliko
Friday, April 27, 2012 - Lori's Centiments by Lori Rose Centi

HUNTINGDON, PA, April 27, 2012 — Imagine being fortuitous enough to have striking good looks, a high intellect, and a strong entrepreneurial instinct that have culminated in several prestigious, prosperous careers.

For most of us, this is a dream life; for Dr. Ivan Rusilko, D.O., this is reality.

Rusilko utilizes one of his myriad gifts by practicing “Medical Wellness and Weight Loss for Physical and Life Enhancement” at the Miami Institute in Miami, Fla. Rusilko also works as a professional model, a columnist for Communities @WashingtonTimes.com, has co-written a novel, and has won Mr. U.S.A. and Mr. World for bodybuilding in 2008 and 2010, respectively. 

If these accomplishments were not enough, Rusilko is also politically active and belongs to several prestigious political committees. He is a founding donor of the George W. Bush Presidential Foundation and Library, as well as a vice chairman of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library’s Centennial Committee.  

“As a medical professional, I understand the importance of being involved in politics to promote and protect the interests of both the medical community, and the general public, so they can have access to quality, affordable healthcare. This has become even more important in light of the recent attempt by the federal government to reform healthcare in our nation,” Rusilko explained in an interview with the Communities. 

“While politics is something I have always been passionate about, my involvement really began several years ago when I was attending a medical event in Orlando, Florida, where I met my very good personal friend and professional associate, Dr. Shaun Herness,” Rusilko says. “This association has resulted in meeting and interacting with some amazing elected officials and political leaders and the privilege of affiliation with great organizations, including the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library and the Leadership Circle of the forthcoming George W. Bush Presidential Center. It is my intention to continue my involvement in politics, and expect that once my medical practice is firmly established, to become more actively involved in the political world.

Who knows, maybe one day I will be President!”

Given Rusilko’s accomplishments to date, nothing, including the Presidency, seems unattainable. In spite of his successes, Rusilko has remained self-effacing, describing himself the following way:

“Thankful is the one word that can sum up who Dr. Ivan Rusilko really is. There are thousands of people who are smarter, stronger, better looking, more creative, and more famous than I am, so being put in some of the situations I have been lucky enough to take part in, I can only smile and thank God that I get the chance to do what I do every day. My biggest attribute is that I like to consider myself the nicest guy you will ever meet, but at the same time, this is one of the biggest foibles as well. I like to think that even though ‘nice guys finish last,’ they usually have the most people waiting for them at the finish line!”

Undoubtedly, Rusilko would find a very large crowd waiting for him, as his popularity as a handsome, physically fit, doctor, body builder, model, and most recently, romance writer, grows. Rusilko and Everly Drummond co-wrote the novel, The Winemaker’s Dinner, which will be released this summer. 

Rusilko’s multi-facted talents and attributes are so diverse that it may be difficult for some to view him first and foremost as a gifted intellectual. “This stereotype has plagued me for the past several years, but at the same time has been the reason for my success. I tend to joke about going to medical school to become a businessman and, in a way, this is true. Being able to promote that you practice what you preach is essential to the success I have had in the weight loss/wellness fields thus far. Any doctor can pull a diet off the Internet, run labs, and regurgitate a weight loss program, but with my approach, everything I “preach,” I have done, and currently am doing to maintain a healthy appearance and overall sense of health. Why would someone take health advice from an overweight doctor who smokes?” 

Rusilko said that the most gratifying aspect of the type of medicine he practices, weight loss and wellness, is seeing the  patients achieve success in their goals. “They understand that there are no magic bullets when it comes to achieving their ideal body and are willing to make the necessary life adjustments to achieve their goals. Weight loss and wellness, to me, is one of the most satisfying and important fields of medicine in today’s age, especially with the obesity epidemic growing exponentially.”

Rusilko’s interest and desire to study medicine was precipitated by his family’s involvement in the medical field and healthy lifestyles. “Well, my family is rather entrenched in medical influence with my father being a chiropractor, mom having a her master’s in psychology, brother being a reconstructive urologist, and my sister, a physician’s assistant in a cancer clinic. My initial prompt came from both my infatuation with sports at a young age and my father’s influence in the medical realm. Being adjusted (through chiropractic) frequently as a child, along with proper exercise and diet regiments from the get go, helped me come to appreciate the holistic benefits of staying healthy. A natural progression into medicine was inevitable, and I couldn’t be happier.”

Rusilko grew up in a rural area in Pennsylvania, where he jokingly said his high school days “were a hockey rendition of the movie, Varisty Blues. “We partied hard, played hard, and occasionally broke a rule here and there. Hailing from a town where Walmart and Perkins were the hotspots, a fashion statement was wearing the camouflage pants you wore hunting that morning to school. I was guilty of labeling male models, like I was labeled myself, as a different breed and one I would never want to be associated with … Go figure. My father was a firm believer in good grades, good athletics, and good times, and if either one of the first two were lacking, then the last one wasn’t going to take place. Needless to say, my grades and athletics were on par and I had some amazing times with some amazing childhood friends.”

Rusilko’s foray into the modeling world was the result of happenstance. “It’s about as random as the Big Bang Theory. I had a few pictures online from the bodybuilding contest I had won in 2007 and was contacted by an agency in NYC that asked me to come up and conduct a few shoots. After a five minute crash course on how to take pictures, my modeling career was off and and running and continued to snowball over the next few years… It always brings a smile to my face when I think about how I went from bailing hay, milking cows, and shoveling …  to doing my little turn on the catwalk, drinking Dom Perignon by the bottle, and racing a Mercedes on an F-1 track. It’s a surreal comedy of randomly introduced errors. Thankfully, with the upbringing I had, I can appreciate what hard work is and what making a real dollar really means.”

Obviously, Rusilko is an anomaly - not everyone is blessed with so many attributes. Fortunately, Rusilko finds pleasure in all of his endeavors. “ … I see myself as a “right-brainer” confined to a “left-brained” body. I truly enjoy everything I do. To me, becoming a physician was when I graduated from the “left-brained” college of logic and science. Body building and writing on health-related topics helps nurture this part of me and keep me sharp to this day. The “right-brained” side of my personality is what helps me shut the world off for a bit and take a vacation from myself, which I enjoy more than anything. Co-authoring The Winemaker’s Dinner opened the door for a plethora of opportunities and new adventures in my future. Combining that with my passions for photography, art, and music (guitar), I am able to really take a break from my scientific self and explore my creative consciousness.”

Rusilko’s venture into writing his own column for Communities @WashingtonTimes.com, “Quality of Life Concierge,” presented itself while attending a social function. “I was first introduced to The Washington Times family during a social function for Platinum Members at the CPAC Convention in Washington, D.C., where they were a main sponsor. After chatting a bit over a glass or two of wine about what it is what I actually do, they asked if I may be interested in contributing a column or two here and there. Needless to say, they didn’t have to twist my arm too hard to get me on board. I enjoy the freedom I have to write about new and interesting things in the medical community that might be looked at as ‘outside the box’ in more traditionally based medical communities. Miami is not traditionally based in any way, and has unique medical ideologies and treatments not seen in other parts of the country, so I enjoy bringing them to light for all to learn about and, hopefully, try.”

Rusilko hopes to impart to the public that “ … Diet is 90 percent of it (staying healthy and fit). You can run and exercise until you are blue in the face, but if you make poor nutritional choices, you are just spinning your wheels. Understanding how food interacts with your body on a physiological level is the most important part of attaining the body you want. Exercise is great augmentation, but by far not the sole way to get the six-pack tight physique.”

The picture of good health and strength, Rusilko is obviously practicing what he preaches every day.


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Lori Rose Centi

Lori lives in Central Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons.  A  writer and a teacher on the post-secondary level. Lori began writing stories and poetry as a child growing up in a rural area in Central Pa. Passionate about writing, words (I know - weird, huh?), reading, and learning, Lori has a B.A. in Communications/Journalism and a teaching certificate in English.

My graduate work (which is yet unfinished) is in English as well. I enjoy spending time with family and friends; exploring our world (whether literally or metaphorically) and learning something new everyday.

 

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