My name is Leah Finkeldei. I’m a physician assistant at the Cotton O’Neil Digestive Health Center.
What is your role on the digestive health team?
My role here as a physician assistant is to see patients in the clinic setting on an outpatient basis. I coordinate with the physicians on a variety of levels on patient cases, and often refer them to the physicians for endoscopic evaluation. And once we have all our test results back, we can decide on treatment strategies together.
I read the majority of the small bowel capsule endoscopies, where patients actually swallow a pill camera, and we watch it go through their small bowel.
I am very involved in the clinical research department. I’m the sub-investigator in all the trials. Working with Dr. Baum and Dr. Welton, and the research coordinators, we are to able to offer patients treatments and medical regimens that would not otherwise be available for them.
How would you describe what a typical patient is experiencing when they first come to you?
There are a lot of patients that we see here in this clinic for lab abnormalities or imaging abnormalities, and they don’t have any GI symptoms. But a lot of patients have pretty debilitating GI symptoms, which we like to work through and better their quality of life.
Why should patients trust you with their care?
I love seeing patients, and I love working through patient cases and listening to patient stories. I think that patient education is so important. I think when patients understand their diagnosis, they are able to make good treatment decisions. And it promotes better compliance, and ultimately, better outcomes.
National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants
Physician Assistant Program
Wichita State University
William Penn University