PT alum sponsors SPHHP’s summer program for high schoolers

Published June 11, 2024

Blue Path brings Western New York high school students interested in health careers to UB for two weeks during the summer to cultivate and refine skills central to thriving careers in epidemiology, health policy and economics, exercise science, occupational therapy, community health, nutrition, dietetics and more.

The School of Public Health and Health Professions program, formerly called Pathways Academy, now has a new sponsor. Sobe Rehab, a growing provider of rehabilitation therapies, has become the exclusive sponsor of the program for five years.

Sobe Rehab’s CEO and founder, Nkume Sobe, is a 2010 graduate of UB’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program. His firm specializes in providing physical, occupational and speech therapy to patients in assisted living facilities in Florida, Virginia and North Carolina.

“We are thrilled to be the exclusive sponsor for the UB Blue Path program,” Sobe says. “Giving back and paying it forward … blessing the future leaders of tomorrow by opening doors: It’s always been a dream of ours to support the professional development of students achieving greatness. This pledge makes that dream come true.”

“Blue Path is delighted to have Dr. Nkume Sobe sponsor and actively support our mission of promoting multiculturalism in public health and the health professions, inspiring the minds of the next wave of professionals in health care,” says Dennis Daniels, clinical assistant professor the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health and director of the Blue Path program.

SPHHP partners with the Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center (ENAHEC) to host the Blue Path program. ENAHEC is a federally and state-funded initiative with a focus on increasing diversity by recruiting and training people of all races and ethnicities for careers in health care.

Blue Path is a two-week, interdisciplinary, interactive learning experience for rising 10th and 11th graders in the Buffalo-Niagara area. It also builds bridges between health professionals and underrepresented high school students.

This year’s session takes place July 29 through Aug. 9. Students who take part not only get hands-on experience and interaction with health professionals, but also receive one college credit for their efforts. They also receive free lunch and a bus pass. The program meets on the South Campus.

One aspect of Sobe’s route to his profession may have prompted his support of UB’s Blue Path program: As a high school student in the Rochester area, he took part in the Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP) at the University of Rochester.

“That program was instrumental in getting me interested in health sciences,” he says.

Once in college, he began in a pre-med program intending to become a pediatrician but soon realized the classes “did not excite me. I yearned to learn more about the human body, injuries and recovery. I found physical therapy and was reinvigorated.”

Applications for Blue Path are available online.