ALBION – Teleah Phillips already is familiar to many people in this city as a health-care professional as well as a church minister.
Now she is expanding her presence in the community as a family-practice physician based at the Oaklawn Medical Group office of Albion – Family Medicine at 300 B Drive North.
The former Teleah Young-Hamilton was born and raised in Flint, where an experience in senior high school propelled her toward a career in medicine.
“I was part of a humanities program in school, and had an assignment to pick a profession and spend a month with a professional person, to introduce us to their work,” Phillips recalled.
As a result, she spent several Friday afternoons studying the work of Elmahdi Saeed, an internist who remains affiliated with Flint-area hospitals including Genesys Regional Medical Center and Hurley Medical Center.
“I was so impressed by the personal connection that he had with his patients,” Phillips said. “He knew so many people so well. He was something of an old-school physician, so that it seemed he knew every patient’s entire life story. He knew their grandchildren’s names and their hobbies. It was amazing to see how committed and dedicated he was to his work.”
Phillips was particularly struck by Saeed’s after-hours work after full days of seeing patients.
“He would go back at 6 p.m. to his office, where he would have piles and piles of charts,” she said. “He would stay at the office and do all his charting. It gave me a clear sense of the beauty of medicine and the responsibility of it all – what a serious commitment it is.”
After that inspiring experience, Phillips went on to receive a Bachelor of Science degree from Albion College in 2004, having majored in biology and chemistry, and went on to receive her Doctorate of Osteopathy from Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2012.
“I fell in love with the people of Albion,” Phillips said, crediting much of that attitude to Hazel Lias, a retired physical education teacher at Albion Public Schools who was part of an Albion College mentoring program. “Through her, I became connected to the community.”
For two years ending in 2006, she served as associate director of the Albion Health Care Alliance, a non-profit community health organization. Phillips also has participated in parenting enrichment seminars conducted in Albion by the Community Action Agency.
Now 34, Phillips completed her family-medicine internship and residency at the Community Health Center of Branch County in Coldwater. During that time, Phillips commuted regularly to her Albion home.
Phillips is licensed to practice medicine in the state of Michigan and has completed and passed examination by the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners. She is a member of the American College of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Osteopathic Association.
Although her childhood religious affiliation was with a Baptist congregation in Flint, that changed after she came to Albion and joined the Lewis Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Albion. She was ordained as a minister in the denomination in 2010 and has served since that year as the church’s assistant pastor.
Her husband, Donald Phillips, a graduate of Farmington High School, came to Albion from the Detroit area in 2005 as the church’s new minister. Donald Phillips now serves as pastor of the Albion church as well as chaplain at Albion College, and is a former president of the Albion Board of Education.
The couple are parents of five children, two boys and three girls, although the household consists of six children as a goddaughter also is a member of their family.
“I was blessed to birth four of our five children during medical school and residency,” Teleah Phillips said. “Although it was challenging at times, the journey was mostly rewarding in the sense that I had a beautiful sense of balance.
“My home responsibilities made it impossible for me to be fully consumed by medical information, and gave a greater sense of value to the role I would be playing as a caregiver of families as a family practice physician,” she said.
“People would always ask how I did medical school/residency with five children. My response was always, ‘A lot of prayer, a little sleep and an amazing husband,” she said.
“The ministry is one of the things that God has placed in my heart to do,” Phillips said. “Beyond that, I love cooking – my favorite channels are HGTV and the Cooking Channel, and my husband calls me a foodie. I also crochet, enjoy music and love to travel.”
Travel definitely is part of her ongoing experience. As a church representative, Phillips and her husband have provided medical services to residents of the nation of Rwanda and in Hyderabad, India, during alternate years since 2012 through the missionary division of the Methodist Church.
“I’m always looking for another place to go to serve,” she said.
“This is home,” she said of Albion. “My husband and I laugh about that. We’re not from Albion, but our children were born in this community and this community has become our family. We can’t imagine living anywhere else.”
Her work at Oaklawn is part of that sense of commitment to community, Phillips said.
“Oaklawn has over the last 15 years shown itself as an organization to be invested in making my home and better place, whether through the investment in the Wildcat Wellness Center, the local schools, the Oaklawn lab downtown or the new dialysis facility,” she said.
“I wanted to be a part of a ‘family’ – the Oaklawn Medical Group – that was willing to invest in my Albion family,” Phillips said.
“Teleah is a person with wonderful people skills and a sincere devotion to the people of Albion,” said Mark Montross, Executive Director of the Oaklawn Medical Group. “She is deeply invested in the Albion community. She lives there, she shops there and now she works there!
“We couldn’t be more fortunate in having her join our team of medical professionals,” Montross said. “She certainly has the vital community-minded attitude that we at Oaklawn strive so hard to foster.”
People who would like to receive help in finding a family-practice physician or being referred to another Oaklawn Medical Group physician may call (888) OAKLAWN or (888) 625-5296.