MSU Health Care Gastroenterology Clinic Opens to Serve Greater Lansing

“I’ve been working in gastroenterology for over 20 years,” says Kerschen. “I’ve been to various practices in the Mid-Michigan area. I have been with MSU since 1999. MSU Health Care approached me to open a gastroenterology practice here at MSU, and we look forward to starting this practice. “

“I’ve been in the practice for almost 20 years and have worked with Cathy and Maria in one form, shape or form all the time,” adds Oliveri-LePain. “I’m a graduate of MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine, so it’s nice to be back where I started.”

“I grew up in the East Lansing and Grand Ledge area, so I know this area well,” says Reed. “Since 2001 I have also been working with Dr. LePain and Dr. Kerschen together. I got my bachelor’s degree from Michigan State and then attended PA school in Miami, Florida. I am grateful to be back in the East Lansing area and to work with these really great doctors to meet the needs of the East Lansing community. “

So, talk a little about why the new practice and you are getting together. What is the goal, the mission?

Lindsay Gluf-Magar

From left to right: Reed, Oliveri-LePain, Kerschen, White

“The three of us all share the same philosophical goal of having a patient-centered group practice where we can cater to the needs of everyone in the Lansing and East Lansing and some of the surrounding areas,” continues Oliveri-LePain. “We are Interested in outreach by helping a section of the community that doesn’t have the best access to health care. Nobody should die from something like colon cancer these days. We really want to help the community and build a strong program. “

What is gastroenterology?

“Gastroenterology is the specialty of treating diseases of the digestive tract,” continues Kerschen. “We like to say that we cover everything from mouth to anus and everything in between. Some of the most common conditions we treat are colon disease. Colon cancer screening is something that concerns us. We also take care of inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Then we take care of diseases of the esophagus such as heartburn and stomach ulcers. We also cover a wide variety of liver diseases, as well as diseases of the pancreas and gallbladder. We treat a wide range of patients, but we’re primarily adult gastroenterologists, so we see patients over the age of 18. “

Who should see you What symptoms would someone have to get them to come forward?

“There are a variety of symptoms,” says Oliveri-LePain. “You can experience anything from abdominal pain, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, and gas. And sometimes the symptoms aren’t that obvious and many symptoms overlap. You may have minor symptoms, which could be a symptom of something more serious, like Crohn’s disease or colitis, or something like irritable bowel syndrome, which you may have similar symptoms. However, the treatments vary widely and can affect all age groups of men and women. ”

What does the treatment look like and what are the challenges associated with it?

“Some of the challenges are environmental factors like our diet and the stressors we are exposed to,” says Reed. “We have all been through a lot of stress with COVID and try to take a holistic approach to treating our patients to ensure they are getting proper nutrition and exercise every day. Drug treatments are also possible. We are working with Henry Ford and hope to use a lot of research in conjunction with MSU to offer treatments to our patients that may otherwise not be available. “

Is diet the single most important factor contributing to someone developing GI disease? Is it hereditary Why should anyone have to see you?

“Each disease entity has a different etiology or risk factors that make it better or worse,” Kerschen continues. “So for some of our illnesses, diet, exercise and mental health all have an impact on how well the patient reacts. Most colon cancers are sporadic. However, there is an increased risk if you have a family history. So there can be a genetic link. Some of the liver diseases we treat have genetic links, so we are more likely to screen patients for specific liver diseases like hemochromatosis. However, many liver diseases are due to risk factors such as hepatitis C. If you had a blood transfusion or were using IV drugs years ago, it increases your risk. So we would look at these risk factors for patients. It really depends on what disease we are talking about within the GI system. “

Do patients most often start with their GP and then get referred to you?

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Lindsay Gluf-Magar

Catherine Kerchen

“Yes,” says Oliveri-LePain. “Most people start with their family doctor and then get referred to us when they have exhausted their assessment. If you need a procedure, you will also be referred to us. “

Is there any exciting research or new treatments on the horizon that got you interested in better gastrointestinal tract management?

“There are a couple of things,” says Kerschen. “In the liver world there is currently a lot of research going on about fatty liver, which is currently a big topic in our society. It is linked to other diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. So liver disease can be linked to it. Right now we only have one lifestyle change to treat it, but there is currently a lot of research going on into different drugs that could help with fatty liver. I expect we will have more treatment options for people with fatty liver in the next 10 years.

“In gastroenterology, research is constantly being carried out on a large number of diseases. Inflammatory bowel disease has something interesting and exciting that they are working on in research. Hopefully through our partnership with Henry Ford Hospital we will be able to participate in clinical research again. “

Talk about the excitement of coming together under the auspices of MSU Health Care and doing what you love to do.

“For me, this is a perfect union of the three of us because we know each other so well,” says Oliveri-LePain. “We know how we work philosophically. We are very similar in our dealings with our patients. We will be able to bring a lot of positive caring to the community and the MSU.

“It is important that patients always feel that they are heard. Many patients are fed up with the livestock philosophy of being driven in and out and not really listened to or paid attention to. It is important to us that patients who come to us are heard, that their concerns are heard and taken seriously. Every patient should know that they are the most important patient at this point. It’s really important.”

What would you like to tell our listeners about GI disorders and how you can help them?

“One thing we’ve seen in the past few years is improvements in our treatment for hepatitis C. When I started the practice, treatments for hepatitis C were very intense and the success rate was only around 50 percent. In the past few years, our treatment success rate has been around 96 percent. For patients who have had hepatitis C in the past 30 or 40 years, or who may not even know they have hepatitis C, the cure rate is phenomenal right now. The treatments are much shorter and the side effects are very minor. For people who might have had hepatitis C years ago, which led to cirrhosis and maybe even liver cancer, we no longer have that. We’d love to have a hepatitis C clinic here in East Lansing at MSU to help these patients. “

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Lindsay Gluf-Magar

Reed, Oliveri-LePain

“We want patients to know that there are a multitude of gastrointestinal complaints that they can suffer from at home that they don’t know can be done about,” says Kerschen. “I would encourage patients to speak to their GP because often there are things the GP can do for them to alleviate them. But if they work with their GP and find that they are still having problems, they come to us and we will keep working to find out what is going on. Especially in times of COVID when people are not asking so much for help for various reasons, we want patients to come back to their doctors and talk to them about some of the things that are going on. Then if they need specialists like us, we are here in the community to help them and work with their GP to try to improve their symptoms. “

Can you explain these symptoms in a little more detail?

“That is a difficult question, because depending on the problem, minor symptoms such as mild abdominal discomfort or heartburn can occur,” continues Oliveri-LePain. “For people who wake up in the middle of the night with acid problems or difficulty swallowing, it could be something as minor as heartburn. Other symptoms include abdominal pain, which can go back down your chest, and diarrhea or constipation. No symptoms should be ignored. So start again with the family doctor and then come to us if things are not resolved. “

“Endoscopy is an important part of gastroenterological practice,” adds Kerschen. “As doctors, we spend a lot of time in the endoscopy ward. Right now we are working through the McLaren Healthcare and Genesis Surgery Center, which is on Jolly Road. This is arranged through our practice with our appointment planners, and we make sure that our patients are well looked after in these facilities.

“Patients can find us in the Hannah Technical Research Center on Hagadorn. We’re on the second floor and our phone number is (517) 353-3102. We share a waiting room with the MSU Urology. “

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