The future in an envelope

The future in an envelope

By Mary Goodwin

Medical student Felicia Pierre was too nervous to eat. Surrounded by her mother, friends and classmates, she awaited opening the enveloped letter that would reveal her fate.

But when Patrick Duff, M.D., the College of Medicine’s associate dean for student affairs, presented a slideshow previewing the states each student would voyage to complete their residency, an arrow pointed to the state of Hawaii. The island is not only the location of Pierre’s No. 1 choice, the University of Hawaii, but also where her fiancé is stationed on active duty in the Army.

“When he announced that one of us would be in Hawaii, my entire table cried with me,” recalled Pierre, who will train in pediatrics. “Now I’m ready to learn how to surf!”

Pierre is one of 125 UF medical students graduating May 10 who found out where they matched for their residency training during the college’s annual Match Day ceremony March 21. Thirty-six percent of graduating students will stay in Florida for their residencies, with 29 percent completing their training at UF.

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.