Match Day

Welcome to your future

Medical students meet residency matches during annual ceremony

By Melanie Stawicki Azam

Photo by Jesse S. Jones

Michael Scott was one of the brave students who didn’t peel open his envelope for a peek at his residency match before he was called to the podium.

“I think I need to know if there’s a cardiologist in the room, before I open this,” he joked, standing in front of his UF College of Medicine Class of 2011 classmates, their families and friends.

He smiled as he publicly read the results — he was headed to the Scripps Mercy Hospital Program in San Diego for a transitional year, then to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami for a radiation oncology residency.

Scott was one of 120 medical students who found out where they matched for their residency training during the college’s annual Match Day ceremony, held March 17 at the Paramount Hotel.

Twenty-one students chose a primary care specialty, such as family or internal medicine, pediatrics or obstetrics/gynecology. Twenty-seven percent will stay in Florida for their residencies, with 17 percent doing their residency at UF, said Patrick Duff, M.D., the college’s associate dean for student affairs.

Julie Greenwalt got accepted to her first choice for residency, UF for radiation oncology./Photo by Maria Belen Farias

The National Resident Matching Program matches prospective residents to residencies using a mathematical algorithm that compiles students’ and institutions’ top choices. The decision determines not only where the medical students will complete their residencies but also what specialties they will enter. All graduating medical students in the U.S. find out about their “match” on the same day at noon.

Leonardo Pena and his fiancée Reshelle Smith, who are getting married April 16, were one of three couples who opted to match together. Pena will study anesthesiology, while Smith will do obstetrics/gynecology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. The pair both took a look at their match, then kept the results mum from their families until they were publicly announced.

“Our moms wanted to kill us because we wouldn’t tell,” Pena said.

Popular choices for residencies this year included internal medicine, radiology and emergency medicine. However, Jamal Carter was interested in the research side of medicine and got his first choice — a residency in pathology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Photo by Jesse S. Jones

“I had my first taste of snow on the interview trail, but it didn’t scare me off,” said the Miami native.

Kristina Betters found out she was one of 10 UF medical students entering a pediatrics residency at Emory University in Atlanta, a popular match site this year.

But she had to wait extra long — Betters didn’t peek at her match, and her name was the last one announced.

“I didn’t sleep last night. People were so freaked out,” she said. “It’s a like being a little kid waiting for Christmas morning.”