Raleigh Dettlinger just started her second semester of her public health curriculum, but she has her eyes on the needs of her future patients. Enrolled in Campbell’s unique Master of Physician Assistant Practice and Master of Science in Public Health program, Dettlinger will graduate in 2018 with the educational training needed to provide compassionate and comprehensive care. We sat down with the Michigan native at the beginning of the semester to find out why she chose Campbell and how she experiences life in Buies Creek.
What is your favorite part about Campbell so far?
Every new class I take at CPHS, I just love it. The professors here are so great and approachable. At my undergraduate program, I felt like a small fish in a big pond and it was difficult to get to know my professors. It’s not like that here. I feel such a connection at Campbell.
One of my favorite experiences with Campbell so far has been being on Team FOOD last semester. We went out into the community to assist migrant farmworkers and their families sign up under the Affordable Care Act. We got to go into their dwellings and they would invite us in and were so thankful for our help. To see that kind of community and to make a difference, I wouldn’t have gotten that experience anywhere else.
Was your undergraduate degree in exercise science a means to an end? Did you always know you wanted to be a PA?
I’m a people person, I love to be on my feet, and I knew I didn’t want to be stuck at a desk job. So I landed on health and exercise science. From there, I debated medical school, physical therapy programs, physician assistant programs, and even nursing. After I graduated from undergrad, I sat down with people from my community and from my church who were in the health care field. It took a while, but I think getting to hear about their experiences really led me to figuring out that a career as a physician assistant would be the right fit for me. I really want to be able to have face time with my patients and learn their stories. Sometimes you just have rule things out to figure out what you really want to do.
What projects are you working on through the public health program?
My practicum is working with Angier Elementary School with third graders. We are helping them learn how to create their own mini health fairs to educate their parents and families about preventative care.
In high school, I worked with a project where we would go to the Children’s Center in Detroit and we held a class where we taught them about nutrition and active lifestyles. We brought in different types of food to introduce to the kids like apricots and avocados, and we taught Zumba lessons just to show them exercising can be fun. I would love to create something like that in this community.
You recently organized a candlelight vigil in honor of the terror attacks in Paris, France. Tell me about that.
It came together quickly. It was a good way to get involved with the campus community. We don’t have much interaction with the undergraduate students, so I was touched to see how many of them showed up. We had over fifty students attend. We spoke about the importance of standing united when violence happens, we shared a moment of silence for the victims and their families, and there was a student from the divinity program who led everyone in a prayer. It restored my faith seeing all of the students come together on such short notice.