Black History Month: The Wesleyan Way, Dr. LaTasha Henry ’08

by Kathy Rutherman

LaTasha Henry, born and raised in Ashland, Ky., to hardworking parents, had two goals for her immediate post-high school life–to prepare for medical school and play college basketball. “I wanted to play ball, but I was realistic about my field of study and career goals,” she recalls. “I knew the best fit for me was a small college with a reputation for academic excellence, and that’s why I chose Wesleyan.”

She explains that access to care and lack of medical knowledge competency pervaded the community in which she was raised. “I saw family members as they were treated by some of the best . . . and not the best. My motivation originates from those observations.”

Dr. Henry says of the KWC science faculty, “I had one heck of a crew in my corner. Drs. Evelyn Hiatt and David Oetinger in biology, Dr. Bob and Nancy Flachskam and Drs. Henry Connor and W.L. Magnuson in chemistry-all the best. They were there for me every step of the way.”

She remembers a time when she was overwhelmed and doubted herself. “I felt like pulling out of the race altogether. I just didn’t think I had what it took to get into medical school.” Dr. Hiatt counseled and encouraged her. “She would not let me give up. She imparted wisdom to me and educated me in a very caring way during that time of crisis.”

Dr. Henry describes her Panther teammates as “family forever.” She recalls victories and losses, on the court and off the court, that allowed them to grow together. But playing basketball at Wesleyan was about more than her teammates; it was about the fans, too. “You don’t meet fans anywhere like Panther fans. What memories.”

After earning a B.S. in biology, she enrolled at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and graduated in 2012. An internal medicine residency there followed, and she completed a fellowship in gastroenterology, also at UofL, in 2018. She is board certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology. Today she is medical director of gastroenterology at Providence Hospital, a part of Ascension Health, in Mobile, Ala. This is her fifth year at Providence, and she is one of the highest volume GI’s in all of the Ascension Health system (#2 this year). Ascension has 139 hospitals and sites of care of 19 states and the District of Columbia.

Dr. Henry is married and has two awesome kids, Alijah and Londyn Henry. “We are Christians with a strong awareness of God’s calling on our lives. I know He laid out this journey for me and has carried me through.”

LaTasha explains that she chose medicine because she loves science and wanted a career with direct involvement with people. “I take very seriously the day-to-day conversations and impact I can make as a physician. I love my job. It is tough, demanding and rewarding. I learn more of God’s love and intricate details of life from every experience and interaction.”

She says her goal today is to give whatever she can where it is most needed and wherever God wants her to be. She looks back on her years at Kentucky Wesleyan and is grateful that the College helped her grow and mature. “KWC shaped me. There were so many helping hands, and I always knew God was in control. The people there, and their faith and compassion, are still with me all these years later.”