New physician brings ‘caring and honest concern’

Zackary Willem

Dr. Ward Harbin joined the University Health Center this semester and is bringing with him many ideas to help reshape the view of health care at the university.

Harbin is a physician specializing in basic check-ups for problems such as sore throats and lacerations.

“It’s almost like a medical director job. I share the load with the nurse practitioner, Melissa Attebury. I tend to do more male issues and physical exams,” Harbin said.

Before Harbin was hired, the health center was understaffed after losing Dr. Richard Redford because of extended medical leave.

“Hiring Dr. Harbin really helped alleviate the stress on the center’s staff,” said Brandi Sitzmin, the health center’s practice manager.

“He gets along (well) with the students and really cares for them. He will take time for students if need be,” Sitzmin said.

The health center takes preventative steps to help stop diseases and sickness on campus and assists anyone who isn’t at their healthiest.

“The idea of health care is that (it) is usually reactive when treating diseases, but USI’s is preventative and I like that,” Harbin said.“I would like to bring the idea of establishing student physician relationships and show caring and honest concern.”

Harbin said caring for his in-laws inspired him to become a physician.

“Showing concern for the geriatric world drove me to become a physician. It’s been the ultimate mid-life crisis for me,” Harbin said.

Harbin makes the health center feel like home for many patients and co-workers.

“He’s a great addition to the center, and he is very motivated in doing outreach activities. He interacts well with the students and patients,” Sitzmin said.

Harbin’s philosophy as a physician is simple.

“Physician and patient relationships are kind of lost in healthcare,” he said. “You’re not a number, or a revenue source, you’re a human being and I’d like to bring that back.”

Harbin walks the extra mile to makes sure the health center gives the best healthcare to anyone one who needs their help, he said.

“You really have a medical home here,” Harbin said, “and we will always welcome you into our home.”