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COLDWATER – Positive experiences often produce positive outcomes in unexpected ways. Consider the story of Rachel Miller as she considered her career choices early in life while growing up in the Lenawee County village of Clayton.
It was a friendly family dentist and, later, a helpful physician assistant who – by performing their care-taking jobs properly and well – helped to guide her toward choosing her own life’s work as a healer.
As a result, Miller has joined the Oaklawn Medical Group as a physician assistant and will work out of the group’s Coldwater site at 375 N. Willowbrook Road. The office may be contacted at (517) 924-1605.
“I’ve always liked science in general,” Miller said. “ I like asking questions and researching. I wanted to know how things work. I like taking care of people and I’m very into physical health and well-being.”
As a student in the Hudson schools, the former Rachel Ham developed a strong interest in science and mathematics. Although her mother worked as a medical biller and her older sister eventually would choose to pursue nursing, those facts had little impact on Miller’s own eventual choice of career.
Instead, her family dentist – whom she had visited from childhood up until she was in her mid-20s – became an important early medical role model.
“I was never afraid of going to the dentist, and I even thought it would be cool to be just like him,” she said, adding that her initial plan after graduation from Hudson High School was to pursue an education in dentistry.
“That stuck with me all way through my sophomore year in college, and I even applied for dental school,” she said.
A change of heart came when it became necessary for the young woman to make a medical appointment with a physician assistant in a dermatology office.
“He was the best provider I’d ever had,” she said, “and the visit had a completely different demeanor. There was no rush, and I was the only patient he was concerned about. That made a real difference to me.”
At that point, Miller said, she decided to pursue study as a physician assistant and to be part of a medical team. Newly resolved, she plotted out a different educational route.
Miller went on to receive a bachelor of science degree in biology from Adrian-based Siena Heights University in 2010, and went on to receive a master of science degree in physician assistant studies from Indiana State University in 2015.
Miller is licensed to practice as a physician’s assistant in the state of Michigan and is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. She has had clinical experience in emergency medicine, behavioral health, pediatrics, geriatrics, general and trauma surgery, orthopedics, internal and family medicine and women’s health.
Other early experiences continue to impact Miller’s current life. She and her husband, James Miller, met when they were both in fifth grade in the Hudson schools. Now married for seven years, they have two sons – 4-year-old Kirk and 9-month-old Isaac. A 10-year-old Shih tzu/poodle mix named Samson completes the family.
In her spare time, Rachel Miller continues to enjoy staying fit through running – a practice that began with cross-country training while she was in sixth grade.
“I like to take care of my body as well as stay active mentally and emotionally,” she said. “I also love playing with my kids and my dog. We do a lot of outdoor stuff, such as camping, kayaking, biking and four-wheeling.”
Miller is coming to Oaklawn’s Coldwater site after service as a physician assistant with the Faith Haven Care Center in Jackson. She and her family now are considering a household move to be closer to her new work in Branch County, and they are even exploring potential residential properties through online searches.
“We’ve wanted to move to the west side of the state, where there’s more of a country feel,” Miller said. “We really like the area and the community, and we think it’s gorgeous there.”