Stephanie Urigwe Class of 2021
Stephanie Urigwe is a first-year doctor of occupational therapy student. She was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas.
She attended Baylor University and graduated with a B.A. in International Studies, she also attended UT Health Houston and graduated with a Master’s in Public Health, and she has also studied at the Universidade of Sao Paulo, in Brazil, as in doctorate global health and sustainability program.
Stephanie became interested in OT because of her desire to study and practice health in a manner that takes into account a holistic view of an individual. In her previous studies and career, she found health interventions to only be as successful to the extent the receivers ascribe value to it. In other words, one needs to personally believe in the intervention to even adopt it. If this notion was the case, then health should be approached with the perspective of the patient/client in mind. Additionally, health is not just about diagnosing and treating. Every patient is more than just a diagnosis. Arguably, diagnoses are unwanted interjections that threaten to stand in the way of one’s ability to engage in meaningful life activities. However, OT is uniquely able to circumvent the challenge of a diagnosis and empower an individual to heal to live. OT is not about a one-size fit all approach but takes into consideration the complexities of a life story lived in a context, interrupted by a patient’s health crisis. OT finds creative and therapeutic means to empower individuals to engage in life, notwithstanding their health limitations.
She is impressed by the reach of OT, and the variety of settings and applications this discipline has in beautifully impacting the health of many. “I desire a profession that will enable me to masterfully curate health for each patient, combining evidence-based practices and empathetic client-centered care. I can be a healer, a creative, a scientist, a researcher, a detective, an inventor, an artist, a counselor, and a friend—all within OT,” she said.
She chose UT Health San Antonio because she believes in the quality of education that she would receive here. “San Antonio is home for me, and I was elated to discover that an Occupational Therapy program was offered at this institution,” she said.
Her plans for the future is to work within the global health arena, combining Occupational Therapy and Public Health. She is passionate about culture and health approaches worldwide. Stephanie endeavors are to work in improving health infrastructure and policies to decrease barriers to accessing quality and comprehensive healthcare, especially within developing countries. She wants to engage in advocacy for health, especially for medically underserved and neglected populations. “Within OT, our patient can be either an individual or population, and I will explore both perspectives,” she said. As an Occupational Therapist, she hopes to discover her niche and better the lives of people both here in the US and abroad.
Her hobbies are practicing capoeira, drawing/painting, movies, music, traveling, and spending time with family.