Public Health Buckeyes: Angela Falconi

BSPH student combines passions for health care, policy

Kristen Mitchell
Angela Falconi poses with Cunz Hall in the background

Falconi has been involved in CPH research and is an active member of Ohio State's Pilipino Student Association.

Meet Angela Falconi, a fourth-year student specializing in environmental public health who aspires to advocate for others through public health policy.

What inspired you to pursue a public health education?

Growing up, I was surrounded by both medicine and public policy because of my parents. Since I was six, my father, a politician and elected official, had me act as his unofficial campaign staff—knocking on doors with him to speak to voters, sitting in on city council meetings and accompanying him to various events. My mother, a pediatric physician, inspired me to pursue a career in medicine by showing me the impact that she’s made on her patients and always encouraging me to learn more about the health care field. When choosing my major, it felt natural to me to combine policy and health into public health.

What public health topics are you passionate about?

“Your zip code determines your health.”

This is one of the most important phrases I have learned in my public health courses, and as a volunteer at Helping Hands Health and Wellness Center, a free clinic which provides health care services for the uninsured and underinsured. I see the realities of this phrase in the patients who I work with. 

As an aspiring elected official, I want to create health care reform which helps individuals the health care system has failed to provide with affordable service.

You spent last summer in Washington, D.C. interning in the U.S. Senate. What was that experience like?

I worked (there) through the IMPACT program, created by the US-Asia Institute in coordination with the Embassy for the Philippines for Filipino students interested in public policy. Working and living in D.C. was one of the best experiences I have had in my undergraduate career because I was able to learn about and research health care policy on the national stage, which is exactly what I hope to do in my future career.

What have you enjoyed most about being involved in research as a student?

I am a research assistant for the Consumer Access Project which utilizes a secret shopper survey of Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance marketplace plan networks to study these barriers and inequities, including disparities related to race. I have loved getting to work with Wendy Xu as she has helped me learn more about the research process as well as how everyday Americans experience the health care system.

What kind of extracurricular activities are you involved in?

The Pilipino Student Association (PSA) has been my home away from home since the start of my time at Ohio State. It has not only allowed me to learn more about my Filipino culture, but I met my best friend through this organization. I have been involved in PSA in numerous roles: culture night coordinator, vice-president internal, president and now dance leader. 

As dance leader, I lead PSA’s tinikling team. Tinikling is a dance which involves two people beating, sliding, and tapping two bamboo poles on the ground while two people dance above the sticks, trying not to get caught in between them. Our latest performance from PSA’s culture show “Barrio” was in October. I choreographed, taught and performed the modern part of this dance!

What are your goals for the future?

I hope to not only assist individual patients as a physician, but I also hope to help others on the national scale by being an advocate as an elected official. I hope to apply the experiences and lessons that I have learned from my time at Ohio State into my future career in the field of health policy.


About The Ohio State University College of Public Health

The Ohio State University College of Public Health is a leader in educating students, creating new knowledge through research, and improving the livelihoods and well-being of people in Ohio and beyond. The College's divisions include biostatistics, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, health behavior and health promotion, and health services management and policy. It is ranked 29th among all colleges and programs of public health in the nation, and first in Ohio, by U.S. News and World Report. Its specialty programs are also considered among the best in the country. The MHA program is ranked 8th, the biostatistics specialty is ranked 22nd, the epidemiology specialty is ranked 25th and the health policy and management specialty is ranked 17th.