Overcoming Adversity: Community Health Student Finds Way to Pursue His Dream

Branden Leimbach understands that when life gets difficult, you must pivot in order to continue to pursue your chosen path. Currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Community Health option at Clarkson College, he has not let his physical disabilities deter him from pursuing a career in the field that he loves.

Branden lives with muscular dystrophy, a genetic condition which limits the use of his arms and legs, but dealing with these challenges inspired a passion within him. “Growing up, I was constantly in and out of the hospital,” he says. “This is what made me want to pursue a career in health care.”

While he knew health care was going to be his final destination, Branden originally thought that he would pursue a career as an anesthesiologist. He even had a university and medical school picked out. “As time went on, my physical abilities diminished, and it became impossible for me to be able to seek my vision,” he says. “I wanted to stay in health care, but I wasn’t able to perform the invasive part of it, which is why I chose community health.”

The Community Health program prepares students to help people within communities access services they need. Graduates can utilize their skills in a variety of settings from clinics to non-profits and can work with individuals of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. For Branden, he hopes to utilize his degree to care for the pediatric population.

“I have a passion for working with children,” he says. “I hope that I can take my degree and find an opportunity working in a health care setting in pediatrics.”

To assist him as he earns his degree and begins his career, Branden is exploring the use of new assistive technology that will compensate for the lack of strength and motor control in his upper extremities.

“The technology is basically a replica of a normal human arm, just without the anatomy,” says Branden. “It still has the shoulder, elbow, wrist and fingers capability, and it will be attached to my wheelchair so I can control it with the installed controller on my wheelchair. Literally anything that you can do with your arms, this device can do—I have never had that luxury.” 

You can learn more about the technology and the difference it can make for Branden in his everyday life and future career, plus discover more about our Community Health degree options.