our students

Raechele Leone

Raechele Leone is a current student in the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)/Master of Public Health (MPH) combined degree program at the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions.

How did you become interested in this combined degree program?

I became interested in the DPT program in my adolescence when I suffered an athletic injury and was referred to physical therapy. My therapist and his team were very invested in my recovery and I liked the idea of working in a health field that allowed me to see my patients more than just once every few months. As I progressed through my academic career, I also became interested in preventative medicine and insurance policies related to reimbursements and Medicare/Medicaid. I was referred to the MPH program by one of my professors in the DPT program to learn more about the health care system, health behavior change and to gain a broader knowledge base outside of the physical therapy field.

Why did you choose UB?

I chose UB starting with my undergraduate degree in exercise ccience because I wanted to go to a large university outside of my home town. I grew up in a small town where everyone knows everyone and I wanted a big university feel. After touring the campus, I knew it was the right fit. I also chose UB because of its reputation for academic excellence in health sciences and vast alumni network. In addition to those reasons, I have cousins that are alumni that still live in the area so it was nice to know that I would have family nearby.

Tell us about your experience in the program?

So far in my career at UB I have completed a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and I am 3 semesters away from completing a combined DPT/MPH degree with a concentration in community health and health behavior. Over the course of my academic career I have been exposed to an inspiring faculty who have pushed me to push myself and explore things I never thought I would have an interest in.

I have had the opportunity to volunteer at various organizations and clinics and get real life experience in various settings. I have also had multiple interactions with UB alumni that come back to the university to teach and give students real life examples of what it is like to work in healthcare. Overall my experiences in the School of Public Health and Health Professions has led me to a point where I feel confident going out into the world as not only a clinician but as a better person. I feel that I am very well-equipped to work with patients and members of the community in a time that healthcare is constantly evolving and changing while having a passion for learning, caring for others and making the world of healthcare a better place. 

What have you enjoyed the most?

I really enjoy working with faculty and my fellow classmates. Everyone in the program is such an inspiration and I have been fortunate enough to work closely with and form a bond with amazing people. The program has also offered challenging and didactic coursework that covers a multitude of interests and topics. That also includes a lot of clinical scenarios and out of the classroom experiences to gain real life experience. The program has allowed me to learn, be inquisitive while also exploring new and ongoing research in physical therapy and public health. The combined program has allowed me to be a well-rounded clinician and feel comfortable working with others as a team.

How will receiving a degree from the UB set you apart?

Receiving a degree from UB sets me apart from others because it has offered so many valuable experiences beyond the classroom setting. These experiences not only enhance my resume, but also have given me the skills required to go out and be a competent clinician. It also is a great feeling knowing that there are so many UB alumni out there to connect with and have as mentors. The UB community may be large but in true Buffalo “Good Neighbor” fashion, I am proud to be a part of the university community and feel so connected to a network of people.