Patrick Clarke

Patrick ClarkeClass of 2015

Major: Biological Sciences

Studying at the University of Vermont in the MD Program

Q: Why did you choose to pursue a career in healthcare?

I grew up with an aunt who was a nurse, so was always interested in healthcare. During my undergrad years I studied abroad with UConn in Cape Town and worked in a rural health clinic in a South African township. There I had learned more about the role of the physician and how I could incorporate an interest in healthcare with a career in global health. I then worked as an EMT in several other cities and states and committed to my path of becoming an Emergency physician.

Q: What are some meaningful extracurricular activities that you were involved in while at UConn?

UConn in Cape Town: worked in a rural clinic, built a library at a high school in another township of Cape Town Habitat for Humanity: Vice President of the org for one year, and led spring break trips to TX, AZ and CA to work on builds going on in these states UConn Water Polo: what a fun team! Met some great people, traveled to some cool places and played the best sport there is!

Q: What were some challenges you have faced along your healthcare journey so far, and how have you overcome them?

I didn't have many healthcare role models growing up. I didn't know any doctors in my life and had a hard time envisioning a life for myself outside my hometown when I was younger. I also grew up in a pretty religious environment and came out as gay about six years ago now. So I had a number of bumps in the road in my personal life, combined with not getting the grades I wanted to during my first years of undergrad. I eventually turned it around, invested in my future career as a physician, and started churning out to get the results I wanted.

Q: What did you do during your gap year(s) and what did you learn?

I took three years total. My first year I worked as an EMT, ED scribe and a health informational management technician. I was looking for more of a challenge so moved out to Los Angeles to work as an AmeriCorps VISTA at a non-profit. I also got a second job as an ED scribe in a hospital in Downtown LA. I can not recommend taking some time off more. I learned so much about myself, what I like, how to survive in unknown situations, and how to take care of myself. It was a wonderful experience and I think everyone should take some time off between undergrad and medical school.

Q: What are some ways that you take care of your mental health and overall wellbeing?

Daily meditation, almost daily exercise, good eating habits, therapy, medication. I didn't realize how much work maintaining my mental health in medical school would take, but I'm glad to have figured it out.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring pre-health students?

Get a therapist when you start pre-health school. Everyone can use a therapist or counselor. It's a tough road, take care of yourself.

Q: What are some ways that you take care of your mental health and overall wellbeing?

Daily meditation, almost daily exercise, good eating habits, therapy, medication. I didn't realize how much work maintaining my mental health in medical school would take, but I'm glad to have figured it out.

Q: What’s something that you wish you knew when you were in college?

You have the rest of your life to be a doctor. Take some time to get to know yourself first.