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Paying it forward: MaShel West helps bring autism coverage to CHG


When MaShel West first joined CHG 16 years ago, she didn’t just find a job, she found a work family.

From an admin role to working a sales desk to leading the pediatrics team today, she credits her career success to the support of her teammates.

“It was so good to have people that saw something in me when I didn’t see it in myself and help me grow into who I am today,” she says.

Mashel’s coworkers have also supported her outside of work.

Her youngest son, Lucas, is autistic. When coworker Teri Gibson learned about the diagnosis, she pulled MaShel aside and told her, “Hey, I have a really amazing friend who’s a researcher. She has an autistic son and has done a ton of legwork. I should connect you two.”

When MaShel met Teri’s friend, a bond formed and a whole new world opened for her and Lucas. The new friend was “super helpful on therapies, grants, different things I should be trying to do for Lucas which helped me a ton,” MaShel says.

One of the discoveries they made together was a therapy that has exceptional results with autistic children. Called Applied Behavioral Analysis, ABA offers hope but at a high cost, one that most employers don’t cover — including CHG.

One day MaShel saw CHG executives Scott Beck and Kevin Ricklefs driving out of the company parking lot. On impulse, she ran up to Kevin’s car and knocked on the window, all “cry face,” as she put it.

Though she was worried they would think she was crazy and just roll the window back up, she managed to share her story through tears. “There’s a therapy for my son that could make a difference for him having an independent life or not and we don’t cover it,” she says. “It could make a huge difference for my son but I can’t afford it.”

Scott scheduled a meeting with her. Then a flurry of meetings took place with her and leaders of our talent management team. Work sessions, surveys, fact-finding research, and analyses followed.

Today, CHG covers ABA therapy.

Without the help and support that had nurtured her at CHG, she doubts she would’ve been “vocal enough and brave enough to go knock on that car window.”

MaShel now leads a support group for as many as 25 CHG parents of autistic kids. Therapists are invited to address them, “and we all sit there and cry about our kids,” she says, adding how important it has been to “just have that support for each other.”

After all the help and kindness she’s received, MaShel is proud to be able to pay it forward to other members of the CHG family.

Watch MaShel’s video below.

About the author

Kevin Kealey

Kevin Kealey is a marketing writer who’s been with CHG for 14 years in various roles, including perm physician recruiter and divisional trainer. Prior to CompHealth, Kevin worked as an educator, executive coach, and training consultant for more than 20 years. Kevin lives with his wife, Suzanne, in South Carolina with their two German shepherds, Bailey and Blazer, and a Congo African Grey parrot who goes by the name of Sebastian.

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