Raleigh Dettlinger Eckert uses her Campbell education to serve the underserved.

Name: Raleigh Dettlinger Eckert

Degrees & Graduation Year: Master of Science in Public Health and Master of Physician Assistant Practice, 2018

Current Job Title: Physician Assistant

Practice Site: WakeMed Physician Practices- Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Job Description: I am a PA in the gastroenterology clinic at the WakeMed Raleigh campus. I see a variety of chief complaints ranging from vague abdominal pain to chronic disease management of Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis. I also manage patient’s colon cancer screenings.

How did CPHS prepare you for your current position: In addition to a solid foundation of medical knowledge, the PA program instilled in me an appreciation for extensive history and physicals. An important part of my job is determining the source of a patient’s abdominal pain, and a thorough history and physical can often reveal more than labs or imaging and save a patient unnecessary costs. The public health program allowed me to understand the importance of treating the entire patient in a biopsychosocial approach, and most importantly the value of practicing cultural humility.

How did your connections and experiences from CPHS guide you to your current position: Upon graduation I knew that I wanted to work in an underserved area. Many of the jobs available did not accept Medicaid or Medicare, and I found this very frustrating. I am so happy to be able to treat this population, particularly as a specialist. Our pharmacy at WakeMed qualifies for special federal exemptions helping our patients afford their medications. Also, I was drawn to GI because of its direct link to patients’ lifestyle and behavior. I use my public health background on a daily basis to educate my patients and help them make life long changes.

What were you involved in at CPHS: While at Campbell I was the Public Health Association Service Learning Chair. I organized fundraisers for local charities, volunteer opportunities for CPHS students, and started the Puppies in the Park event promoting stress relief and local animal adoption. I was an HPREP mentor to a wonderful group of young students interested in medical sciences. And I was also a member of the North Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants and the American Academy of Physician Assistants. I attended the 2018 AAPA conference with a group of peers representing CPHS on the national stage.

What do you miss most about Buies Creek: I miss the Campbell community, and the pride the surrounding residents have in the University. I wear my orange camel pin every day on my long white coat, and it is a wonderful conversation starter with my patients! It’s amazing to hear how many of them attended Campbell or know alumni. Campbell University, and CPHS specifically, has an impressive reputation in the Raleigh area that continues to grow.

Most impactful CPHS faculty/staff member/preceptor: This is a tough one! I was lucky to meet so many wonderful people during my time at Campbell. However, Dr. David Coniglio was the first faculty member I met at Campbell and one of the biggest reasons I decided to attend. He instilled in all of us a respect for evidence-based medicine, which I intend to honor throughout my career. He was a calming presence during the hectic nature of both my programs, and a strong advocate for the public health program. I am so grateful to have been mentored by him.