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Success & Impact

From Nigeria to Philadelphia: Chinne Ezeigwe, DPT ’24, Wants to Make a Difference in Healthcare

Chinne Ezeigwe, DPT ’24, born in Onitsha, Nigeria, says attending Saint Joseph’s has not only made her feel at home but also prepared her for life after college. She plans on traveling after graduation and finding a community where she can make a difference.

Headshot of Chinne Ezeigwe, DPT ’24

Written by: Kevin Gfeller, BS ’20

Published: May 16, 2024

Total reading time: 4 minutes

For Chinne Ezeigwe, DPT ’24, helping others runs in her blood. Her entire family works in healthcare. Her mom is a nurse and financial advisor. Her brother is a pharmacist. One of her sisters is a nurse, while the other is an anesthesiology resident. And her dad, who passed away when she was younger, was a doctor. 

This tragic moment was a catalyst. At 12 years old, Ezeigwe didn’t know what she wanted to do, but she wanted to help others like her father. Now at 24, after graduating from Saint Joseph’s University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program in May, she is ready to help people live more fulfilling, healthy lives.

“I think what motivated my family was that my dad was in a car accident,” says Ezeigwe, who was born in Nigeria and moved to the United States in 2012. “I feel like he could have been saved if he got the appropriate medical attention. In the United States, if there is an emergency, you can call 911. Back home in Nigeria, we don’t have that. We sent him to the U.S. for medical attention, but it was too late. Many people in Nigeria need medical care, but the country’s healthcare system is not equipped.” 

In high school, Ezeigwe found her calling in the medical field. When a physical therapist addressed her class, she became captivated by the profession. 

“I shadowed that physical therapist for a long time and I really liked it,” says Ezeigwe. “My high school had a college fair and I was looking for good physical therapy programs. I spoke to a lady from University of the Sciences, now Saint Joseph’s, and she was wonderful.”

During her college search, Ezeigwe didn’t settle. Having like-minded, compassionate individuals surrounding her was important. After visiting Saint Joseph’s three separate times, she knew it was “home.” 

“Everyone I met [at Saint Joseph’s] seemed very motivated and everyone wanted to do something in healthcare,” says Ezeigwe. “I knew I could grow and learn here.”

Everyone I met [at Saint Joseph’s] seemed very motivated and everyone wanted to do something in healthcare. I knew I could grow and learn here.

Chinne Ezeigwe, DPT ’24

Over the past few years, Ezeigwe gained invaluable experience to prepare her for the future. One of her clinical rotations was at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital. During her time there, she contributed to the diversity, equity and inclusion committee, engaging in initiatives to foster a more inclusive healthcare setting. During another clinical rotation in Dallas, Texas, she was immersed in worker’s compensation. 

“This experience provided me with a unique perspective on the challenges faced by individuals navigating the worker’s compensation system and the critical role healthcare professionals play in advocating for their rights and well-being,” says Ezeigwe. “My time in Dallas reinforced the importance of compassion, empathy and proactive advocacy in delivering holistic care to individuals facing challenging circumstances.” 

Margie Roos, PT, DPT, PhD, professor and acting chair of physical therapy, emphasized how these clinical experiences prepare students for life after graduation.

“We want students like Chinne to have both an inpatient and outpatient experience,” says Roos. “During their final clinical rotation, we tell them to pick something they might like doing. This way, students are well-rounded after graduating from Saint Joseph’s.” 

Now, Ezeigwe wants to provide healthcare to communities in need, not only in Nigeria but elsewhere in the world too. Before getting a job, Ezeigwe will travel back to Nigeria, as well as visit Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. 

“One of my teachers in high school gave me the advice to travel before starting work,” says Ezeigwe. “So, I am going to do that first. However, I want to end up in an environment where I am making a difference. I will probably seek out a low-income community because that is my passion.” 

While Ezeigwe is excited about the future, it is also bittersweet. Halfway across the world, she will miss the relationships built over the last six years. However, she is content knowing she chose the right school to further her education. 

“Whenever I needed help with anything, I felt like I had someone I could go to,” says Ezeigwe. “I’ve met so many wonderful people here that I am calling them ‘my college mom.’ If I didn’t attend Saint Joseph’s and join the many student organizations here, I know my experience would have been so different.”