March 20, 1998

Match Day answers all residency questions

Match Day answers all residency questions

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At Match Day, Laura White (left) and the rest of the graduating medical students cheered for classmate Sylvia Parra, who was happy – to say the least – to learn she is headed for Denver. (Photo by Donna Jones Bailey)

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Tabu Terrell was pumped about his match. (Photo by Donna Jones Bailey)

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It was easy to figure out where Jill Hurley and Jason Call matched. (Photo by Donna Jones Bailey).

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Hossein Ardehali and his wife, Fatemeh, got some envelop help from their eight-month-old daughter, Mariam Mina. (Photo by Donna Jones Bailey)

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[TOP] Greg Stewart and his wife, Amber, are Misssissippi-bound. [BOTTOM] As the last to match, Sarah Gladstone took home the traditional fishbowl full of dollars. (Photos by Donna Jones Bailey)

It was, as one student put it, "real-life drama, all within an hour," as graduating medical students at VUMC "matched" to do their post-graduate training.

Four years of hard work came down to this moment.

Match Day is held at the same time at every medical school across the nation. Sealed envelopes containing residency site information are handed out at 11 a.m. sharp.

"It was unbelievable," said graduating medical student Ted Boyse. "Watching my classmates open their envelopes and see where they will spend their next few years was really tough. There were major life-changing decisions going on."

"It was the best match ever by a medical school class while I've been at Vanderbilt," said Dr. Deborah C. German, associate dean for Students. "This class did very well. They are a very cohesive class and they are very supportive of one another. It's a group of bright kids. I just urge them now to make the most of these opportunities."

Seventy-one percent of the VUMC Class of 1998 got their first choice and 92 percent got one of their top three choices ‹ far better than the national averages of 55 percent and 79 percent.

"This is the 31st class which has 'matched' since I came to Vanderbilt," said Dr. John E. Chapman, Dean of the School of Medicine. "All classes have done well. This class, the class of '98, has done particularly well. There is a common thread to these events ‹ pride, success, friendship and a true sense of accomplishment. Next stop, graduation. I congratulate the class of 1998."

The medical students started the process for the National Residency Match Program (NRMP) more than a year ago, formulating initial lists of medical centers and hospitals to be considered for application and interview.

After lengthy application processes and on-site interviews, residency preference lists were prepared by the students and the various programs. The NRMP computer then matched programs and students to give each their best choice. Match Day is when those selections are revealed.

For Boyse, his envelope revealed that he will go to St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco for a transition year then on to a residency in diagnostic radiology at University of Michigan Hospitals, Ann Arbor, Mich.

"It will be great. I am really looking forward to my time in San Francisco and then in Ann Arbor," Boyse said. "The University of Michigan has really treated me well. And I am from the Midwest, so this will be great."

Match Day was "painful" for Reena Talreja.

"I wasn't prepared for what it was going to be like. It was emotionally intense. I thought I had psyched myself up for it, but I didn't do a good job, obviously," she said, wiping away a tear.

Talreja matched at Vanderbilt in Ob/Gyn and will be here for four more years.

"I am excited since I get to stay here. My brother, a resident in Medicine, is here and I can stay with him now. This will give us a couple more years together."

Overall, 105 Vanderbilt students matched. Seventeen students, 16 percent of the class, will be staying for residencies at Vanderbilt while 88 students, or 84 percent, will be going elsewhere.

Ready to pack up to go back to her home state is Sarah Gladstone. She matched at Boston Combined Pediatrics Residency Program, where she is going into pediatrics and ultimately adolescent medicine.

"I am very excited. It's a program that I have thought about for four years. It offers a great mix of tertiary care and primary care. It's really made me happy," Gladstone said.

Extra perfect, she says, because her fiancee, David Feiock, a former VUMC medical student, will be joining her in Boston as he continues his residency training.

"Now we can set a wedding date. It will be June 1999, but now I will know my vacation schedule and can set an actual date."

Twenty-nine students will be doing residencies in Internal Medicine; 17 in Pediatrics; nine in Surgery; six in Ob/Gyn; five each in Emergency Medicine, Family Practice, and Orthopaedic Surgery; four each in Ophthalmology and Diagnostic Radiology; two each in Anesthesiology, Medicine/pediatrics, Otolaryngology, Pathology, Urology and transitional year; and one each in child Psychiatry, Dermatology, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Plastic Surgery and Psychiatry. Three students will be pursuing other residencies.

Heading off for a transitional year together are Esther Maksymovitch and Daniel Penn.

"We have both matched together through a couples match," Maksymovitch said. "We are going to Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Denver, and, after that, we are going to the University of Michigan Hospitals. I'm going for ophthalmology and Dan is going for radiology."

The couple, set to get married next month, said they were very lucky and surprised that they will be doing their transitional year together.

"There is no guarantee or 'couples match' for the transitional year," Penn said. "We could have potentially been apart for the transition year. But we wrote some very interesting letters to the American Association of Medical Colleges to get our point made about couples matching in their transition year, too," Maksymovitch said. "I think communicating with the program, explaining our special situation, helped us."

Also going to Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center is Sylvia Parra.

"I'll do a transition year in Denver and then I will be working for the Air Force for four years as a flight surgeon, before I do my full residency."

Parra hopes to ultimately specialize in either Pediatrics or Orthopaedic Surgery. But for now, after the transition year, she will be assigned as a primary care doctor for a group of Air Force pilots and their families.

"I took a scholarship from the Air Force. It's a different situation from my classmates, but I am real happy with it. Because of the Air Force, I don't have any debt from medical school and I have an opportunity to do some things that I wouldn't get to do otherwise. I am hoping to go overseas."

Going as a family to Mountain Area Health Education Center in Asheville, N.C., is Blake Fagan, wife Rachel and seven-month-old Rebecca.

"This was our first choice and we are quite happy. Rebecca doesn't know how to walk yet, but there will be lots of mountains to go hiking in and we are excited about that," Fagan said.

Fagan took his entire family along for the various interviews required in the match process.

"It was hard being on the road with a baby. It made our trips a little bit more difficult than some of my classmates, but I think it was worth it because we wanted to make the decision together as a family."

Fagan and the rest of the graduating class have a fondness for each other that will stay with them after they part ways.

"I wish I could talk to all of my classmates at once because they are amazing," Boyse said. "They did great in this match and they deserve it. I love them."

Soon it will be time to start making moving plans, but for Boyse there is something he still needs to do.

"I have a cell phone in my pocket and I am waiting to tell my girlfriend how I matched. She should be calling any time Š"