Varina Clark, Class 5
High School: Miss Porter’s School
Undergraduate: Brown University
Graduate: Current Medical Student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Varina Clark was recently awarded the competitive Dean’s Leadership in Health and Science Scholarship at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
What have you been up to lately?
I am currently a medical student at the David Geffen School of Medicine (DGSOM) at UCLA. After pursuing my Sc.B. degree in Human Biology at Brown University, I was a Clinical Research Supervisor at Memorial Sloan Kettering and also spearheaded health education initiatives with the Bronx Community Health Leaders (BxCHL) at the Montefiore Family Health Center in the Bronx. While at DGSOM, I established a new position on the Medical Student Council (MSC)—Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Representatives—to promote diversity-related resources, events, and co-curricular learning opportunities. This year, I serve as the UCLA EDI Student Advisory Board and oversee initiatives on both undergraduate and graduate levels.
While completing an exploratory year as a Dean’s Leadership in Health and Science fellow, my current research explores potential biomarkers that will help to lay the foundation for therapeutic targets for pulmonary hypertension-associated right ventricular failure.
I also serve as an Albert Schweitzer Fellow and developed an intervention called “eMpower: Strengthening Mothers’ Mental Resilience” to improve perinatal mental health and related birth outcomes amongst Black women in Los Angeles.
I was also inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) in July 2019, where I was recognized for compassion and commitment to patient care.
Favorite Memory at TEAK:
Celebrating our accomplishments at TEAK Graduation right before college. It was such a special occasion, and I enjoyed spending time with all of my classmates, our family, mentors and the TEAK staff before we all moved forward with our respective careers. I still have the photos from that special day!
How did you become involved with medicine? How did your time at TEAK prepare you?
During my junior year of HS, I solidified my decision to become a physician while serving as a camp counselor for children with HIV. I continued to explore the medical field (research, shadowing, conferences, etc.) in college and while working at Memorial Sloan Kettering. As a Fellow, TEAK nurtured my passion to serve others through community service, education, and mentorship. Now, as a future physician-leader, I will provide culturally responsive, comprehensive healthcare to patients by addressing health disparities, improving health outcomes, and advocating for underserved communities locally and abroad.
Advice for current TEAK Fellows:
Never doubt your abilities! I know “Imposter Syndrome” is real, but I encourage you to try your best, ask for feedback when you fail, learn from your mistakes, and give yourself grace to unplug and recharge. With these keys, you will be resilient in the face of adversity.
Is it alright for Fellows to contact you?