MARSHALL – Kevin Kelch’s love of active outdoor sports and other activities almost certainly steered him toward a healthy lifestyle – and a career in helping others stay healthy, too.
“I am an outdoorsman. I’m obsessed with hunting – fishing, camping, hiking. I love anything outdoors,” Kelch reflected during a recent interview.
Kelch, 31, already is a familiar face in Marshall, having worked in the health-care field here for several years. Now he is raising his profile in the community by bringing his medical talents to Oaklawn’s expanding orthopedic services as a Physician Assistant.
Kelch is a native of Jeddo in Michigan’s Thumb area and a current resident of Jackson. He and his wife Kali have three children, ranging in age from 1 to 5 years.
He comes to Oaklawn from Marshall Medical Associates and the office of Mark Machalka, M.D., where he began work in 2011.
“I was active in a lot of athletics right up through college, and I looked at the idea of being an athletic trainer,” said Kelch, whose sports over the years have included football, baseball, basketball and track. “Athletic training sounded like something I would have liked to do, because I was good at science and I loved athletics.”
Kelch studied athletic training from 2004 to 2008 at Saginaw Valley State University in University Center, Mich., graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree. He also worked as an aide in physical therapy at Saginaw Valley Sport and Spine in Bridgeport from 2006 to 2009
However, Kelch still wondered whether there might be something more for him out there.
“While doing my athletic training program, I was talking to some of my advisors at Saginaw Valley who said, ‘You’d be a good doctor.’ And I thought, ‘You’re crazy.’ But then I thought that it might be a possibility. They talked me into it,” Kelch said.
“I did a rotation with an orthopedic Physician Assistant and realized, ‘This is exactly what I want to do.’”
Kelch went on to receive a Master of Science degree in biomedical sciences from the University of Toledo at the end of 2010.
Kelch, who also worked in early 2011 at the University of Michigan’s Orthopaedic Spine Surgery, now is certified as a Physician Assistant by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.
Kelch has joined a growing team of medical professionals who see patients as part of Oaklawn’s broad-based expansion of orthopedic services.
At the start of 2016, Robert S. Schaefer, M.D., of Portage-based Orthopaedic Associates of Kalamazoo, began seeing Oaklawn patients as an independent medical professional, assisting Kurt Piatkowski, D.O., with patients in Oaklawn’s Emergency Room.
In the late summer of 2016, Tracy Smith joined Oaklawn as a Physician Assistant to Schaefer, and Kimberly McLean joined Oaklawn as an orthopedic surgeon.
“Oaklawn offers a full range of orthopedic surgical services right here in Marshall and among the many other communities we serve,” said Mark Montross, Executive Director of the Oaklawn Medical Group.
“Kevin has a strong background combined with great experience in patient care. He will be a perfect complement to our ortho team,” Montross said.
“While I’ve been working in Marshall, I’ve gotten to know quite a few people at Oaklawn and the group in the orthopedic office there, which is growing and doing some really very good things,” Kelch said.
“I’m just excited about the future of Oaklawn orthopedics.”