In this new Vital Signs series, we feature 4th-year UNC School of Medicine student Clark Williamson. From Statesville, NC, Clark has always had the ambition to want to help others. After entertaining other career options, he pursued his calling after discovering his passion for medicine.
Clark Williamson is a 4th-year UNC School of Medicine student from Statesville, North Carolina. He shares why he decided to pursue medicine and what influenced him to become a doctor.
Q: What were you interested in in high school and college? Did you always want to be a doctor?
I remember in high school being very drawn to chemistry and engineering. However, throughout my undergraduate studies I leaned heavily into public health, taking particular interest in how our communities and spaces play a role in our health. From a young age I always admired the role of the physician, and from time to time I considered it as a potential career, but I spent many years entertaining other career options.
Q: Why did you choose to become a doctor?
A large part of my initial decision was heavily influenced by role models and mentors in college, especially those that straddled the fields of public health and clinical medicine. I grew up with healthcare workers in my family, and having gained an undergraduate degree from UNC Gillings School of Public Health, I was motivated to create a career at the intersection of medicine and public health. I ultimately decided to pursue medicine because I knew I valued the opportunity to impact people’s lives and work to reduce their suffering.
Q: What is the most interesting part of medical school at Carolina?
It’s hard to pick a “most interesting part” of medical school at Carolina, but I think one aspect that I have found most intriguing is how committed the clinicians are and the school is to this state. On my rotations this was evident in the connections providers would make with their patients – sometimes as simple as finding a common local eatery they both loved. As a teaching assistant for one of the first-year classes, it became evident in the way the physicians talked about training their replacements – the current students who would go on to care for their patients, and even themselves one day.
Q: What do you plan to focus on after med school (residency in what and where)?
I’m pursuing internal medicine following my graduation from UNC in the spring of 2024 and the “where” is yet to be decided; it’s a slow burn until Match Day! I hope to move to a new city and train in a new health system so I can compare and contrast my experiences at UNC Health in my future work.
Q: What is your career goal?
My career goals are continuously evolving and yet there are some fundamentals I expect will stay with me. In my future career, I hope to spend time in the clinical space, teaching residents and medical students, and also devoting time to quality improvement work.