In the emergency rooms and clinics where Michelle Reisen-Garvey ’00 has made her career, her patients have often been her friends and neighbors.
“I can’t say I knew absolutely everyone who came in,” she says, “but small towns can make you incredibly motivated to provide good care. And they are also really supportive.”
After graduating from the physician’s assistant program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Michelle worked for five years in the emergency room at the Monroe Clinic. She went on to family practice in her nearby hometown of Darlington, Wisconsin before specializing in gastroenterology. Now she is back at the Monroe Clinic to provide specialized treatment for digestive illnesses.
As an undergraduate at UW–Platteville, she studied biology and started her career as a medical assistant. The physician assistants she worked with inspired her to continue her studies so that she could direct patient care.
My education let me do this — serve the community around me.
UW–Madison selected Michelle to join one of the top physician assistant programs in the country. Upon graduation, she provided care for a wide range of cases that came to her in the Green County emergency room — from chest pains and fevers to accidents and injuries.
“You see some of everything,” she says. “And you get a chance to really connect with people and to make a positive difference in their lives.”
When she decided to go back to continue her education, her daughter was in grade school. She watched her mom study at night. Later, on the holidays and weekend days that Michelle was in the emergency room, her daughter knew she was helping those in need.
“My education let me do this — serve the community around me,” Michelle says. “What I would want people to know is that the University of Wisconsin offers a wonderful education, and it got me a profession I love.”
“Whatever your dreams are,” she adds, “you should go for them.”