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MARSHALL – When Kimberly Chrisman was in high school, she received a very special insight.
“My younger sister was hospitalized and it was really hard on us,” she said. “My dad had raised us kids and he worked a lot, so I spent a lot of time going to visit her.”
At age 17, watching her 14-year-old sister in the hands of caregivers led young Kimberly to realize the potential impact such trained professionals can have on other people’s lives.
“It made me want to get on the other side of it, so I could make a difference and be a resource to families – to be the kind of person who can help best at a time like that,” she said.
Now a physician assistant, the native of Colorado Springs, Colo., is fulfilling that self-imposed mission. She has joined Oaklawn Medical Group – Marshall Internal & Family Medicine at 720 Old US-27 North, where appointments may be made by calling (269) 781-6600.
The call of medicine did not take hold fully for awhile, Chrisman admits. In fact, in high school she already believed she was destined for a career in business, and when she first attended college her major was in that field.
“But I still had a feeling that I would like to get into health care,” she said. “I took elective courses in anatomy and physiology during the first semester of my sophomore year, and I fell in love. It wasn’t long before I switched my major.”
The fact that one of her aunts was a pulmonologist in Denver and that she had several cousins who were physician assistants might have had some influence on her choice, she said.
“They were encouraging and we talked quite a bit about it,” she said. “I wanted to be sure before I jumped in.”
Chrisman received a bachelor of science degree in 2015 from Western Michigan University, where she majored in biology and minored in psychology. She went on to receive a master of science degree in medicine, physician assistant studies, in late 2018, also from WMU.
Chrisman’s clinical experience includes work at various medical centers in pediatrics, OB/GYN, psychiatry, cardiology, family medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine, general surgery and dermatology. She also has served as a certified nursing assistant at the Community Health Center of Branch County and Arbor Manor Nursing Home & Rehabilitation Center.
Chrisman is certified by the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants, and has been licensed in the state of Michigan as a physician assistant since August 2018. She also is certified in advanced cardiac life support.
Chrisman and her partner Mathew “Mat” Cronk, a transportation and logistics specialist with the U.S. Army, met in Colorado and have lived in several locations around the country. They came to Calhoun County when Cronk was stationed at the National Guard base at Fort Custer in Battle Creek. The couple live near Lyon Lake in Marshall and have a three-month-old son, Levi.
The area is ideal for the couple’s love of the outdoors, she said.
“We love to do stuff in the snow, like snowboarding,” she said. “We have a Labrador retriever named Molly and we go for walks, and hike. We like to fish and hang out on the lake. We love the small-town feel of Marshall and things that are native to Michigan.”
That sense of comfort has extended to Oaklawn itself, she said.
“During my clinical year as a physician assistant, I was able to work at the Wright Medical Building and see how Oaklawn works,” she said. “I was able to get my feet wet there and see what it would be like, and I learned that I would fit in well.
“I felt very welcomed by everyone I worked with,” she said. “Everyone was so kind and eager to help me learn. It was a joy to take care of people here,” she said.
“In fact, it’s nice to take care of people who you see in the community – your neighbors and friends. There’s a personal feel about it.”