The newest medical provider in Grantsville has only been on the job for three months, but he already feels right at home.
Alex Childs arrived at the Grantsville Medical Clinic in June 2019. As a physician assistant, Childs is a trained medical professional with the ability to serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider, diagnose illnesses, develop and manage treatment plans, perform certain medical procedures and prescribe medications.
Childs feels at home in Grantsville because he is from Grantsville. He now offers medical care to patients in the same clinic where he had annual physicals as a youth.
After graduating from Grantsville High School in 2009, Childs headed to Utah Valley University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in 2015.
“I went to UVU with the idea of doing pre-med studies,” he said. “I’ve always been interested in the medical field. Probably because I like helping people.”
During his sophomore year at UVU, Childs had second thoughts about medical school.
“It felt like medical school was too long, took too much money, and would require too much time away from my family,” he said.
After a computer search of potential jobs in the library at UVU, Childs, along with his wife, narrowed career choices down to two possibilities — social worker or physician assistant.
Childs said he searched for programs for physician assistants and found one that fit his needs at Keiser University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
“It was a 24-month program, which is one of the shortest programs in the country,” he said. “It started in January and I was graduating from UVU in December, so it fit my schedule.”
Childs, with his wife, a 2-month-old child, and a student loan, left Utah and went to Florida in January 2016.
By December 2017, Childs had earned a master’s degree in physician assistant.
The two years in Florida were an interesting time, according to Childs.
The school did not allow physician assistants students to work, he said.
“They essentially told us if we worked we would fail or be failed,” Childs said.
Child’s wife stayed at home to take care of their young family, leaving her with limited opportunities to earn an income.
“We had to survive off of my student loan,” Childs said.
While in Florida, Childs rode out two major hurricanes while attending school.
For one storm, Childs took his family from the east to west coast of Florida for as long as the school would allow him to leave. Childs and his family rode out the other major storm in a friend’s hurricane-proof house.
After graduating from Keiser University, Childs worked in a rural clinic in Yreka, California.
Yreka has a population of around 8,000 people. The clinic pulled in patients from many of the smaller surrounding communities and was very busy, according to Childs.
After working in Yreka for over a year, Childs started circulating resumes looking for an opportunity to move back to Utah, which was his ultimate career goal.
When the chance came to move to Grantsville, he jumped on it. His wife is also from Grantsville. With strong family ties in town, working in Grantsville was an easy choice to make, he said.
Family medicine in Grantsville is a little different that Yreka, according to Childs.
“I miss my COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] patients,” he said. “We had a lot of COPD patients in Yreka from smoking.”
Instead of COPD, Childs said the pattern he sees in Grantsville is diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol with some weight management issues and sleep apnea.
While at home in Grantsville, Childs has resumed many of the recreational pursuits he enjoyed as a youth.
“My family loves the outdoors,” he said. “Hiking, camping and fishing.”
Childs just returned from hiking Middle Teton, near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, but his favorite outdoor spot is here in Tooele County.
“When you have a place like South Willow in your backyard you don’t need to go far,” he said.
He also likes skiing. Childs said he and a friend have found a chute in the Stansbury Mountains that has skiable snow well into the summer.
Some of Childs’ outside of work pursuits revolve around his medical career.
He volunteers as a medical provider for missionaries in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Utah Salt Lake City West Mission.
While in Yreka, Childs worked on developing a street clinic to serve the area’s homeless population. He is working on a similar plan for medical outreach for Tooele County’s homeless and hard to serve population.
Instead of a physical location, Childs hopes to provide a “backpack” type clinic that would reach out to the homeless where they are found, provide treatment and encourage them to come into an established clinic for follow up.
The Grantsville Medical Clinic is located at 822 E. Main Street in Grantsville City on the southeast corner of state Routes 112 and 138. The phone number for the clinic is 435-884-3578.
The clinic offers routine and preventive wellness care for illness and injuries, and chronic condition management for the residents of Grantsville and surrounding areas. It is part of the Tooele Medical Group. Childs is accepting new patients.