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Growing Up WellStar: Erin Oweida
​​Erin Oweida, PA-C, would accompany her dad, Steven Oweida, M.D., WellStar vascular surgeon, on visits to neighbors who needed medical help. By high school, she was already shadowing doctos at WellStar Kennestone Hospital.​​​

“I have always known I wanted to work in medicine. It has been a dream of mine since I was a child.”

Waking up and going to work holds a special meaning for Erin, Rachel, Carol, Illan and Catherine.

For them, WellStar isn’t just an employer. Here, some of their parents and grandparents built better communities as physicians, nurses and administrators. In our hospitals, they were pediatric patients who grew to become local volunteers and students.

This journey was more than just following the footsteps of their parents — they cut their own paths, and solved new problems. They grew up WellStar.

Get ready to meet them this holiday season, from Carol, who’s worked here since 1983, to our four young healthcare professionals who are just starting their careers.

This week, meet Erin, who first learned to love medicine by watching her dad help their neighbors.


Birthday Memories

For Erin Oweida, PA-C, working in healthcare feels like coming home.

She still remembers her birthday at WellStar Cobb Hospital when her dad, vascular surgeon Dr. Steven Oweida, happened to be on call.

“My family packed into the SUV and went to eat dinner with him at the hospital. All 10 of us ate in the Cobb Hospital parking lot together,” she said.

As she grew, she learned to take pride in organizing her dad’s filing cabinets. By high school, she was already shadowing doctors, getting her first taste of what it was like to really work on the floor.

“While shadowing at Kennestone, I remember walking the halls thinking ‘I can't wait to work here one day.’ I often felt I couldn't get through school quickly enough because I wanted to be the one scrubbing and helping assist in surgery,” she said.

Later in college, Erin became a volunteer at Kennestone Hospital, still assisting doctors and rooming patients. She also volunteered at a church in Augusta, providing free physical exams and health screenings.

“I felt most rewarded when working with the children. They found the medical instruments exciting and I even let a few of them look in my ears and use my stethoscope to listen to their own heart sounds,” she said. “The opportunity to not only help out, but also get kids excited about medicine and less afraid of medical providers was really special.”

Despite her parents both building careers in medicine, Erin never felt pressured to follow them – it just kind of happened.

“My mom and dad wanted us to chase whatever was going to make us happy in life. For me, medicine was what I always saw myself doing,” she said. “My dad has helped foster my love of medicine and learning by allowing me to shadow and volunteer in his office. Both of my them have been incredibly supportive.”

Erin graduated college in 2012 and has completed a physician assistant master’s program since then. As a physician assistant-certified, she’s following her parents’ example by making the world a better place for others.

Next week we’ll meet Rachel Garner, who has also loved medicine since a child, when she used her yellow stethoscope to care for family and friends.​