PA has been here for more than 40 years

Kadra Sommersted, Staff Writer

Gary West has passed the 40 years of service mark, providing physician’s assistant and health services to students at Wayne State College.

“Student health services is something that is provided through the student activities fees,” said West. “Its health services provided at no cost to the college student. There are no professional fees for my service.”

He said that he typically sees students for two hours a day, five days a week, Monday through Friday.

“He always works 11 to 1 every day,” said Regina Korth, of Student Health.

West said that he sees roughly 10 students a day, so that is about 50 students a week.

“We see a variety of different problems through student health,” said West. “Most of what we see are colds, sore throats and illnesses like that.”

West said he has seen a variety of health problems through the student health center in the hospital, including mental health services such as depression and anxiety.

“We work in conjunction with the counseling services to help students get through their college years,” said West.

He said that students meet him in his office for their care, though many students are more familiar with the Student Health office, in the Kanter Student Center where the nurses are located.

“The second location is here at Providence Medical Center in the student health offices,” said West.

He said that he works in the Providence Medical Center exclusively.

“The advantage of seeing students here in the hospital setting is that if there are any tests that need to be done, as far as diagnostics services, such as laboratory or X-ray, they’re available here,” West said.

He said that he and the student can then proceed with the test evaluations immediately, if needed. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are also accepted.

“When I came to Wayne 40 years ago, I went to work for Robert and Walter Benthack,” said West. “Dr. Bob, as he was referred to, was providing student health services for the college at that time, and I became a part of that as my job duties with him.”

West said that he had graduated from physician’s assistant school the year before.

Kathy Bird of Student Health said, “I worked with him at the clinic before I was here, so I’ve worked with him for the last 22 years.”

Bird and Korth triage the students at the Student Health office in the student center before they send them to West.

“We can give them over-the-counter medicines or make them an appointment,” said Bird.

Bird and Korth would like to thank West for his 40 years of service to the school.