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Grandfather's medical work helped to inspire Oaklawn's new general surgeon

When Andrew Worden was a boy growing up in Holt, his family would take him on annual visits to his paternal grandparents in Tennessee.

“My grandfather was a doctor, an internist who would do house calls,” Worden recalled. “It seemed like a very cool job.”

In time, Worden was to follow in his grandfather’s medical footsteps by becoming a general surgeon, and recently became the newest addition to Oaklawn’s full-time surgical staff.

In addition to his grandfather’s influence, the young man seemed destined to follow a scientific path, especially considering that Worden’s father was a professor of chemical engineering at Michigan State University.

The elder Worden would give his son lessons at home by setting up experiments that had been well-developed in his classroom to intrigue graduate students with the wonders of science.

“In terms of his scientific knowledge, my dad is very impressive,” Worden said. “He fostered a love of science in me while I was growing up, and I thought originally that I might become an engineer.”

The family’s yearly trips to his grandfather’s home state also helped him understand the respect that people paid to those who help others through healing.

“It was cool to see how many of my grandfather’s patients would go out of their way to greet him and tell him what a wonderful person he was,” Worden said. “I was in elementary school at the time, and that made a great impression.”

After graduation from Holt High School, Worden went on to Michigan State University, where he graduated in 2011 with a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry and molecular biology.

As Worden participated in medical “shadowing” visits at regional emergency rooms and physicians’ offices, he realized that his onetime notion of becoming an engineer held less appeal for him than a role in medicine.

“I always liked working with my hands around the house, and I thought surgery would be a good choice – working with science as well as with my hands,” he said.

When Worden was 21, he told his grandfather that he now planned to pursue a medical career.

“He was very excited and proud that I was going to keep the legacy of physicians in the family going,” he said.

Worden subsequently enrolled in Wayne State University’s School of Medicine, from which he received his degree as a doctor of medicine in 2015.

Along the way, Worden developed a strong interest in surgical techniques that are minimally invasive – particularly in regard to abdominal surgery – and recently completed his residency in general surgery at Henry Ford Hospital.

Worden is a member of the American Medical Association and the American College of Surgeons.

Worden and his wife of two years, Ting, met while he was in residency and she was studying to become a nurse practitioner. They have an infant daughter, Reagan, and recently purchased a home in the Battle Creek area.

“We enjoy the outdoors – traveling, camping, hiking, fishing, but mostly spending time with family,” Worden said. “I also like to play sports, especially soccer.”

The couple enjoy visiting Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and hope someday soon to travel to Europe and Asia, he said.

Worden said he and his wife were drawn to Oaklawn and its location in central lower Michigan because of its proximity to his family in the Lansing area and his wife’s family in metropolitan Detroit.

“I also like the idea of working in a smaller community hospital where there’s a wide variety of need for surgery procedures,” Worden said.

“We wanted to stay close enough to be involved with family, especially as we have a young daughter,” he said. “Plus, Marshall is a really nice town with cool shops and it seems like a nice place to be – especially when you have a young family.”