Ariel Clark: Daughter of a Military Family, Motivated to Help Veterans

Ariel Clark Headshot

Born in Long Beach, California, Ariel Clark, is the daughter of a military family and a PharmD student at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, Duluth. Clark is currently working on a suicide prevention program for her leadership emphasis area project, with the hope that it will help everyone including veterans. 

Clark started working in pharmacy at a young age, but it took awhile for her to know what she wanted to do.

“I started working in pharmacy at 19 but I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I grew up,” Clark said. “It took five years of working full-time for me to decide to go back to school to pursue a PharmD. I knew I wanted to help people and pharmacy is the perfect combination of science and patient interaction.”

Attending the University of Minnesota’s College of Pharmacy, Duluth was an obvious choice for Clark. Not only is it a highly ranked pharmacy school, it is also located in the same town as the United States Coast Guard station where Clark’s husband is stationed. She has enjoyed her time at the college so far, as it has proven to be the right choice for her education and family life. 

Since beginning pharmacy school, Clark has worked at Walgreens and Falks Nursing Service Pharmacy. She has learned a lot at both of her jobs, and she has furthered her education though working on her Leadership Emphasis Area project. 

The project focuses on implementing a suicide prevention program that was developed in Washington by the QPR Institute. The program is based on giving people simple actionable steps that they can take, if they were to encounter someone in a crisis. Clark is a certified instructor of the QPR Institute’s method of suicide prevention. 

QPR stands for question, persuade and refer. These are the three steps that anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide.   

“Suicide is a very delicate topic that unfortunately doesn’t get a lot of attention,” Clark said. “While at a conference I learned about the QPR method of suicide prevention and thought that pharmacists would be in a unique position to make a difference in this area, not only as health care workers but also as members of the community.”

Clark has learned a lot from this project and wants to make it as successful as possible. She has read many books on suicide prevention and how to make life-saving interventions. She and the others working on this project are using this program as an opportunity for more research into suicide prevention, specifically regarding the role of the pharmacist.

“I truly believe that suicide prevention is everyone’s business,” Clark said. “Each and every person has a responsibility to the person next to them. And not just because we are future health care workers, but because we are humans and we should help other humans if we are able. This training program gives people tools they can use to help prevent death by suicide and that is the best outcome we can possibly hope for.”

Having grown up in a military family, Clark has a strong admiration for those who serve our country. She hopes she can utilize her knoweledge about suicide prevention to help veterans, who are nearly one and a half times more likely to attempt suicide than civilians1, by applying for a residency with the VA in the future.

“I know that psychiatric pharmacy and suicide prevention are really important to me,” Clark said. “So it is my hope that the things that I have done while in pharmacy school will lead to a career helping those who need it most.”

12019 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report