Since childhood, Darrys Reese has known he wanted to become a doctor, but a particular specialty was not his primary motivation. The desire to care for patients in underserved communities is what drove him to pursue his dream of medical school. After considering several prospects, Reese found the perfect place: the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine.
“I felt a connection with the culture and environment here,” he says. “Talking to students and faculty and learning about the opportunities offered, I felt like it was the best fit for my personality and goals. What really got me to UCI is the PRIME LEAD-ABC program.”
Programs in Medical Education Leadership Education to Advance Diversity – African, Black and Caribbean, founded in 2018, trains and supports medical students who will work to reduce health disparities in ABC and other underserved communities.
“It’s a small cohort of only a dozen or so students, and we’ll dig deeper into understanding how to identify disparities and the ways in which they affect a person’s health,” Reese says. “We’ll do rotations in Long Beach and be involved in other projects to learn about our patients’ daily lives and how to effectively treat them.”
Although he still hasn’t selected a specialty, Reese is interested in internal medicine, emergency medicine, or allergy and immunology. He suffered watery eyes and sneezing whenever outside during his childhood in Tampa, Florida, and says his allergist, Dr. Raquelle Alexander, was his inspiration.
“She was amazing,” Reese says. “She reminded me of Ms. Frizzle from ‘The Magic School Bus,’ and I wanted to be a physician like her one day.”
His condition now managed by taking an over-the-counter antihistamine before going outdoors, he aspires to also make a positive difference in people’s lives.
Although the decision to move from the East Coast to the West Coast and leave behind family and longtime friends was difficult, Reese says, he’s very excited about the new adventure that California offers and the experiences that will shape him and his future as a doctor.
“The thing I’m looking forward to most is just starting medical school, because this is something I’ve been wanting to do my whole life,” he says. “So finally reaching this point is my dream coming true.”
On Aug. 4, Reese donned his first white coat in the official ceremony welcoming the UCI School of Medicine class of 2027.
If you want to learn more about supporting this or other activities at UCI, please visit the Brilliant Future website at https://brilliantfuture.uci.edu. By engaging 75,000 alumni and garnering $2 billion in philanthropic investment, UCI seeks to reach new heights of excellence in student success, health and wellness, research and more. The School of Medicine plays a vital role in the success of the campaign. Learn more by visiting https://brilliantfuture.uci.edu/uci-school-of-medicine.