In August 2020, Adeleye Adaralegbe joined the Department of Allied Health Sciences (AHS) as a lecturer and academic advisor. While working on his Ph.D. at the University of North Texas in health services research, Adaralegbe focused his dissertation research on a study assessing the mental health of older Americans. He also found that he enjoyed teaching and course development. “I think I always liked teaching because during my medical school days, I was always passionate about teaching my classmates. My goal is to become a college professor.”
Without mentorship and with little support, Adaralegbe worked hard to earn admission to the prestigious University of Lagos College of Medicine, where he completed his medical education and interned for a year. With his experience growing up in Nigeria, then serving as a physician in a suburban area with a high rate of poverty and little opportunity for college education, he brings a unique perspective to the classroom.
Adaralegbe’s philosophy for teaching is to consider each student individually and motivate them to reach their potential while being active participants in their learning experience. Four weeks into each semester, he reaches out to any student with a grade of C or below to share concerns and help them improve their performance. He is also committed to creating a safe learning environment while promoting real-life applications to learning.
With a passion for fostering social justice while improving health disparities, Adaralegbe participated in various medical outreach projects in underprivileged rural communities in Nigeria. He was also an active member of several public health advocacy groups focusing on HIV/AIDS and infant and maternal mortality. As a physician, he sought positions in vulnerable and diverse communities, where he found that older adults were particularly at risk.
Adaralegbe plans to focus his research at UConn on older adults and the psychosocial factors that influence mental health such as loneliness, depression and physical ailments. “Loneliness is a major determinant in healthy aging,” he says. “I observed during my medical practice and with evidence from research that loneliness is associated with most of the health problems in old age, including chronic diseases.”
He is looking forward to working with faculty and students in the AHS. “One of the reasons I was impressed with the department is that there is this flexibility allowed by the department head, Professor Justin Nash, where he allows his faculty to develop professionally and align their interests to research and teaching.”
Adaralegbe moved to Storrs with his two toddler sons and his wife Ngozi, a health services Ph.D. candidate at the University of North Texas. She is currently completing her dissertation virtually.