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Renata Arrington
Tom Cogill
Renata Arrington

Local Woman With Passion for Improving Community Health Will Graduate From U.Va. School of Medicine

May 10, 2000 -- Unsure whether it was by divine proclamation, her mother's gentle nudging or a desire for the "magical" powers exhibited by her pediatrician, Renata Gayle Arrington instinctively knew she would practice medicine.

One of the few African Americans from Albemarle County to graduate from the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Arrington, 26, will receive a medical degree on May 21. While in medical school, she took time out to earn a master's in public health.

Even before entering Stone Robinson Elementary School in Shadwell, Arrington was planning to become a doctor. She grew up in a nurturing household, the daughter of Brenda Arrington and the Rev. Angus Arrington III.

"My mother, who is an educator, tutored me over summers and provided me with work books, counseling and academic planning to ensure my academic success," Arrington said.

After graduating from Albemarle High School in 1991, Arrington applied for early admission to college and was accepted to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. "Hopkins was my first choice because the school is well known for producing top-notch physicians in a competitive environment," she said.

She was emotionally unprepared for the move from small-town Charlottesville to the large city of Baltimore, she recalls. But because of her passion for helping people, she plunged into volunteer work. She volunteered in Big Sisters programs, Habitat for Humanity and other groups.

In the spring of 1994, Arrington worked at the Abafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital in Nigeria. She also volunteered at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health by addressing the academic and health needs of children in East Baltimore. She graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a B.S. degree in natural science and public health in 1995.

That same year she entered U.Va.'s School of Medicine. Despite a demanding academic schedule, she participated in a program for children with cancer and in the HIV/AIDS awareness program for local high schools students. She also volunteered at the Shelter for Help in Emergency and Charlottesville Free Clinic.

During the summer between her first and second years at U.Va., Arrington's research related to HIV-positive patients was presented at U.Va.'s research forums.

Arrington's strong interest in public health research led her to return to Johns Hopkins to complete an 11-month program in public health between her third and fourth years at U.Va. In May 1999, she returned to Virginia armed with a master's degree in public health.

"She has made major contributions to the School of Medicine and the community through her outstanding leadership in extracurricular activities," said Dr. Richard D. Pearson, associate dean of student affairs. "She has the potential to make major contributions during her career, given her excellent clinical skills, enthusiasm for medicine and devotion to the health of patients and their communities.

Following graduation from medical school this summer, Arrington will begin a four-year residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati. She says that while she would like to return to Charlottesville to practice medicine, she will "leave that up to my Creator.

For more information, Arrington can be reached at (804) 296-0008.

Contact: Katherine Jackson, (804) 924-3629

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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