In celebration of Black History Month, Mercy Health is spotlighting some of our many colleagues who are contributing to the health and safety of our patients and the communities of West Michigan.
Arrysha Gant, RMA
Registered Medical Assistant
Hauenstein Neuroscience Center
Arrysha Gant, RMA, attended grade school in Grand Rapids, but moved to Chicago to attend high school but left in her third year of high school. When she returned to back to Grand Rapids, she hadn’t finished high school, so she needed to find a career using a different approach. First, she got her GED and then went on to become an RMA (registered medical assistant). She loves floating from department to department when needed because she is always learning something new. Her heart, though, lies in Neuroscience, and she loves working with everyone at Hauenstein Neuroscience Center, including the patients.
Q: How long have you been working at Mercy Health? What is your area of expertise?
A: I have been at Mercy Health for more than 13 years. I’ve worked all over — in Labor and Delivery and at the Wege Center, Browning Claytor and Heartside. I’ve worked at Hauenstein Neuroscience Center for nine years. My expertise is in Neuroscience.
Q: Positively or negatively, has your race has impacted your experience as a clinical colleague?
A: Working at Mercy Health, I haven’t had a problem with race. Maybe it’s because of positive attitude. I get along with just about everybody. I’m one of the only two Black women who work in the clinics. When there are gatherings at work, I go and I’m usually the only Black person there and always have been treated great. I have not run into anyone who is racist toward me at Mercy Health.
A long time ago, there may have been a couple of older patients who didn’t want me doing their vital signs…but that was a different time in life.
Q: What or who has been an inspiration to you during your career journey?
A: I love taking care of people. I did CMA (certified medical assistant) also Home Care work for so long, and I loved it. I wanted to go further into the medical field. My kids also inspired me to make a better future for them. The managers in both departments, and doctors and nurse practitioners I work with have been great. They’re so encouraging and give great advice. I love coming to work. It’s my happy place.
Q: Will you please share your education and training?
A: After I got my GED, I went to Ross Medical School and earned my Medical Assistant Certificate.
Q: Would you encourage others to consider a career in health care?
A: Yes, I encourage my daughter to go into health care. I even encourage my young adult children who are living at home too. If you’re a people person and like to take care of people, that’s the place to be because there is always someone in need. At the end of the day, you feel really good that you helped people. When you go into medical care, there are so many different departments you can work in. You can also go into research. You can follow so many interests.
Q: How has it been different working during the pandemic?
A: Before the pandemic, I was working full-time directly with nurse practitioner at Hauenstein Neuroscience Center. Now I spend most of my week at Hauenstein Neurosurgery and one day in the Hauenstein clinics. I’m learning different things, but now I travel back and forth. I enjoy working with everyone.Now I am an RMA for whoever needs me in clinic; I’m not assigned to one person like before the pandemic.
With our older patients, it’s hard because they can’t bring in a friend or family member to go to appointments.
About the vaccine…
I had COVID-19 in May. I was careful, and I still got it. I had all of the symptoms. I feel like I am a survivor of COVID. I got both doses of the vaccine.It’s like getting a flu shot…you can have some symptoms afterwards. Why did I get the vaccine? I figure if it’s going to boost my immune system, so I can get outside and do a little more, why not? We don’t know how long COVID will be here. So, I want to secure myself.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers about being Black in America?
A: The only time I truly experienced racism was when my sons were young — they were called names and asked what kind of guns we had in our home. Being Black can be tough to some, especially for our young men and women. I would say to young people always keep your head up high and speak clearly and respectfully in a professional way.