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BATTLE CREEK – The strength of a loving family connection and the power of a healing relationship led young Shaena Freeman to apply her interest in science to a career in the medical arts.
“I didn’t grow up wanting to be a doctor,” said the native of Ottawa Lake. “In fact, it came to me when I was in my early 20s, while caring for my grandmother.”
However, what happened next set her on a path that led to a career as a family physician with the Marshall-based Oaklawn Medical Group. She now sees patients of all ages at the organization’s Beadle Lake office at 14231 Beadle Lake Road, where appointments may be made at (269) 962-0441.
“My Grandma Tressie had a fall resulting in a debilitating injury to her leg,” Freeman said of that inspiring moment years ago. “She became wheelchair-bound.”
To help out, young Shaena would make frequent visits to her grandmother in nearby Toledo, Ohio, and make certain the older woman had all that she needed.
“I’d go over there and sit with her, paint her nails and take her to the doctor,” she said. “It was a special relationship.”
The young woman’s discovery that such connections can yield positive healing results led her to consider a career that would “help and respect the dignity of the person I was caring for,” she said.
“I liked that there’s so much trust in the physician-patient relationship. It’s a true bond, and when I started working with patients, I knew it was the right choice.”
Freeman earned a bachelor of science degree in biology in 2009 from Lourdes University in Sylvania, Ohio, and went on to receive her doctor of medicine degree in 2014 from Ross University School of Medicine in Roseau, in the Commonwealth of Dominica, West Indies.
Since 2018, Freeman served as a clinical assistant professor for the department of family and community medicine at the Western Michigan Homer Stryker School of Medicine, where she earlier served her internship and family and community medicine residency.
Her positive, two-year experience studying and working in the West Indies led Freeman to delve into tropical medicine, a study she has furthered during additional studies in the regions of Madagascar and Dominican Republic.
Shaena and her husband Ben Freeman – who is a biomedical engineer technician – met during their college years in Ohio and now live in Battle Creek. The couple enjoy water-based activities such as boating and kayaking, as well as traveling across the United States and Europe.
The Freemans have two cats from the West Indies, and recently were joined at home by a Siberian husky that Shaena hopes to train to be her companion when she goes on fitness runs.
In addition to family medicine, Shaena Freeman’s special medical interests focus on women’s health and obesity medicine. She is a member of the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Obesity Medicine Association.
“What I like about family medicine the most is the relationships,” Freeman said. “It’s such a broad range of medicine. You never know what you’re going to get. It’s fun, and it keeps you on your toes.”