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2021 Champion of Diversity Presented to Dr. Alexandra Clark

Dr. Alexandra Clark, a graduate of the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology and recent postdoctoral trainee in the Interprofessional Postdoctoral Fellowship in Polytrauma and TBI Rehabilitation at VA San Diego and UCSD, has been selected as the 2021 Department of Psychology Trainee Champion of Diversity. Dr. Clark has worked tirelessly to improve anti-racism efforts across research, clinical, and training/teaching spheres. She has also taken her efforts to the national stage as she proactively works with key leaders around how to intentionally create a welcoming environment and inclusive, welcoming culture in science. Notably, she generously gives of her time in order to meet with trainees, local and national neuropsychology experts to develop DEI programming, including sharing valuable training opportunities in diversity for faculty and trainees. She has tirelessly amplified diverse voices and programming in our training programs and within research and clinical contexts here and elsewhere.

Among her many achievements throughout her nearly 8-year tenure here at UCSD, Dr. Clark made important local and national DEI contributions, including her recent writings in the journal Nature where she highlighted concerns that the National Science Foundation’s proposed change to restrict science foci would further drive inequity in grants awarded to underrepresented minority trainees. She also spearheaded the creation of the often-cited “Call to Action” document that has enjoyed wide circulation here and elsewhere across the country. Her action letter has sparked considerable national interest as it has served as an important roadmap for how academic settings can better promote and support diversity in order to move closer to achieving inclusive excellence. Dr. Clark was also instrumental in helping revamp the UCSD/VA Clinical Neuropsychology Seminar (CNS) to include lectures on race-based stress, disparities in neurocognitive outcomes, and LGBTQIA+ considerations in assessment. Her input on this Diversity Series was not only instrumental but also essential to the improvement of education in cultural neuropsychology at UCSD/SDSU/San Diego VA, and because of her specific contributions, the CNS Diversity Series is becoming nationally recognized as an example of how others might improve DEI education in our field.

Dr. Clark now champions others as she begins her own laboratory at the University of Texas Austin Department of Psychology and teaches critical courses focused on the appreciation of diversity and the importance of cultural considerations in research and clinical contexts. Her nominators stated that “there is no one more suited for this year’s Trainee Champion of Diversity Award, as Dr. Clark has emerged as a true leader for several DEI initiatives here and elsewhere. Her inspiring work has had a powerful impact toward the creation of a culture that is more inclusive, fair, and representative.”