Meet Our Scholars
University of California, Berkeley/University of California, San Francisco
Walter Decker Point Scholar
Tara Benesch believes that creative, interdisciplinary partnerships are essential to solving major health care challenges. As a queer, multiracial teenager, Tara battled anorexia nervosa and clinical depression, and witnessed the mental health disparities that disproportionately affect minority communities. These experiences led her to study schizophrenia and earn a B.A. in psychology from Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL). As an Annika Rodriguez Scholar at WUSTL, Tara volunteered with the Latino Empowerment Team to provide college application support to disadvantaged students. Subsequently, she taught in bilingual classrooms for four years with Teach for America, where she organized panels for LGBTQ educators, and support groups and health seminars for parents. From 2011-2014, Tara served as an HIV test counselor at the Berkeley Free Clinic. There, she helped establish the Transgender Inclusivity Committee, which offered clinic-wide training on transgender health issues. Tara also used her teaching experience to help redesign the HIV test counselor training to improve outcomes for clients and volunteers. As a medical student in the University of California, San Francisco/ University of California, Berkeley Joint Medical Program and Program in Medical Education for the Urban Underserved, Tara continues to integrate her educational and clinical experiences. She assists underserved populations as a health coach at La Clínica de La Raza, a coordinator of the Suitcase Youth Clinic for homeless youth, and as a San Francisco General Hospital Summer Urban Health and Leadership Academy Fellow. Taras goal is to reduce health disparities by addressing mental health, educational, structural and sociopolitical issues through diverse, community-based coalitions.