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Oaklawn physician Erin Rockwell's fascination with medicine began in childhood

Erin Rockwell can trace her connection with her medical career with unusual clarity: It began with her birth.

“I was born six weeks premature, at University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor,” she said, adding that medical attendants worked at length with specialized equipment to assist her heart and lungs until those organs could function independently.

“That equipment could be found only in California and Ann Arbor,” she said. “I took that fact as a divine inspiration – that God had given me a purpose to help other people and that I’ve got things to do on this planet to help people.”

That’s exactly what Rockwell has been doing for several years as a doctor of osteopathic medicine, and now she has joined the Oaklawn Medical Group’s medical staff in that capacity.

Rockwell will work initially at the Oaklawn Medical Group’s Beadle Lake facility at 14231 Beadle Lake Road, Battle Creek, where appointments may be made by calling (269) 962-0441.

As she became aware of her medical past, the former Erin Darlington seemed to waste no time planning her future.

“At a young age, I told my parents I wanted to be a doctor,” she said, adding that at age 5 she enjoyed playing with a toy doctor’s bag.

“I was putting Band-aids on everybody,” she said. “I had a toy stethoscope and would listen to people’s lungs, and test their reflexes with the little hammer.”

Fully accepting that Erin was interested in medicine, her parents encouraged her toward high-school courses that focused on the sciences, including biology and chemistry.

After graduation from Northville High School, Rockwell went on to Hope College in Holland, where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in chemistry and psychology in 2005.

“At one point, I had a long conversation with my uncle, who’s an occupational medicine physician in the state of New York,” she said. Erin told him that she wanted to be a mother, a wife and a daughter – in short, aiming for a full family life – and asked how professionals could balance all that in the medical field.

“We talked three or four hours, and he went through all the steps,” Erin said. “He talked about the ins and outs and even got me in touch with different people to interview. The more I talked to them, the more I realized that I wanted to go into medical school. That was very formative for me.”

With such encouragement, Rockwell went on to earn her degree as a doctor of osteopathy from Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2011. She completed her residency in family medicine at the University of Wyoming in 2014.

Since returning to Michigan, Rockwell has been employed through the Saint Joseph Mercy Health System in an outpatient practice, working with patients of all ages, and has participated in guidance programs for nurse managers, senior services and substance-abuse prevention programs.

Rockwell now comes to Oaklawn after three years with a home-based medical practice, during which she visited patients in Lansing and surrounding areas and worked closely with home-health and hospice services.

Rockwell is licensed to practice medicine in Michigan and is certified by the American Board of Family Medicine. She is a member of the American Academy of Home Care Medicine.

Rockwell and her husband of six years, Nathan, a corrections officer in Adrian, reside in Chelsea. The couple have one young son.

During her spare time, Erin Rockwell enjoys family time, reading, travel, baking and cooking.

“I’m mildly obsessed with gardening, and I grow flowers and vegetable all from seed,” she said. “I also like to play music with my family. We often get together to do that.”

She also believes she’s found a good home in Oaklawn, where she expects to work with patients at all stages of life.

“Oaklawn is a very good fit because it’s a small community hospital, and I believe I have a good rapport with the people there,” she said.