March 23, 2001

Students learn locations, prepare for residencies

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Youngho Yoon surprised everyone by proposing to fellow medical student Hongthao Thieu at Match Day. (photo by Dana Johnson)

Students learn locations, prepare for residencies

Nora Lee doesn’t seem to be as happy as her parents Carla Tucker and John Lee after finding out that Carla’s pediatric residency is at Vanderbilt. (photo by Dana Johnson)

Nora Lee doesn’t seem to be as happy as her parents Carla Tucker and John Lee after finding out that Carla’s pediatric residency is at Vanderbilt. (photo by Dana Johnson)

Lucky winner.  Bryan Burnette was the last person to reveal his residency location, winning the fishbowl of money.  (photo by Dana Johnson)

Lucky winner. Bryan Burnette was the last person to reveal his residency location, winning the fishbowl of money. (photo by Dana Johnson)

Kristina Storck and John Matthew Hassan rejoice at their residency location at Vanderbilt. (photo by Dana Johnson)

Kristina Storck and John Matthew Hassan rejoice at their residency location at Vanderbilt. (photo by Dana Johnson)

For Hongthao Thieu and Youngho Yoon, matching at separate programs in the same city was exciting enough. The Thursday match made it possible for the young couple to stay together.

But Youn took the good news of a pediatrics residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston one step further. Accompanied to the front of 208 Light Hall by Thieu, who had already matched in ob/gyn at New England Medical Center in Boston, he dropped to his knees and presented Thieu with an engagement ring.

Their classmates, many of them crying, rose to their feet with a standing ovation.

The two were among 98 Vanderbilt University School of Medicine fourth-year students who learned residency locations on Thursday. Twenty-five of the students will be staying at Vanderbilt.

One of the students seems destined for her specialty.

Her future patients can honestly say their babies were brought into the world by the stork, well, Dr. Storck, that is.

“I get kidded a lot about my name, but actually I kind of enjoy it,” said Kristina Storck. “I think it’s pretty funny myself. When I was born, everybody thought it was so funny that I was ‘Baby Storck’ and that ‘Mother Storck’ had delivered. So I guess I’m pretty used to it by now,” she said. “Surprisingly though, all that made me swear to everybody that being an ob/gyn would be the last thing I would ever do….I loved my ob/gyn rotation and then realized that I might really want to do it, last name and all…in the end though I realized maybe I was fated by the name after all.”

Storck is engaged to classmate Matthew Hassan, who also matched at VUMC in surgery and urology. They will be married May 26 in Nashville.

Mike Engel is another married medical student that got good news on Thursday. The MD/Ph.D student will be staying at VUMC to serve his pediatrics residency. That was good news to his wife, Dr. Jeannine Engel, assistant professor of Medicine at VUMC, and their children, Lauren, 5, and Benjamin, 2.

Engel said although balancing a family with his degrees has been challenging at times, it has also been a blessing.

“I have never been in this alone. I benefit tremendously from the love and support of my family and friends, as well as from the supportive relationships with the VUMC faculty and staff. This process would have been far more difficult and far less rewarding without these relationships. They help keep you grounded, and to realize that you are working for things outside of yourself in large measure.”

On hand for Thursday’s events were former Dean John E. Chapman, now associate vice chancellor for Medical Alumni Affairs and Dean Steven G. Gabbe, attending his first VUSM Match Day.

“I can tell you that student applicants from Vanderbilt are always highly regarded,” Gabbe said. “Any program that gets a Vanderbilt student should consider itself lucky.”

Match Day is held at the same time at each medical school across the nation. The process at Vanderbilt works like this: the sealed envelopes are placed in a basket, then chosen randomly by Dr. Bonnie M. Miller, associate Dean for Students. The Class of 2001 carried on the long-time tradition of putting a dollar in the glass fishbowl as they received their envelope. The last medical student to receive an envelope gets the fishbowl’s contents. William Bryan Burnette, who will go to University Hospital in Cincinnati for a pediatrics residency, then to Johns Hopkins for neurology, received the fishbowl of dollar bills.

The medical students started the process for the National Residency Match Program (NRMP) more than a year ago by formulating initial lists of medical centers and hospitals to be considered for application and review. After grueling application processes and on-site interviews, residency preferency lists are prepared by the students and the various programs. The NRMP computer then matches programs and students to give each their best choice. Match Day is the national event where the selections are revealed to medical students across the country.

Miller said that 97 percent of VUSM students matched at one of their first four choices.

Nancy Campbell was joined by members of her family Thursday as she achieved a longtime dream.

Four years ago the 48-year-old left behind a quiet life as an attorney’s wife and resale shop owner in Greenville. Her three daughters were away in a New England boarding school and the time was right. She had applied to medical school once before, in 1975, but had changed her mind.

So in 1997 she persuaded her husband to stay in Greenville while she tried the first year of medical school alone. She wanted to make sure she had made the right decision.

Campbell, whose husband, Roy, moved to Nashville in 1998 to join a local law practice, will serve her internal medicine residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“I came here by myself,” she said. “I had basically been a housewife and didn’t want to disrupt the whole family until I was sure I was going to pass,” she said, adding that her husband visited Nashville almost every weekend during her first year.

“I’ve loved Vanderbilt,” she said. “It’s a wonderful medical community and I am thrilled to be staying here.”

Campbell was joined on Thursday by her husband and two of her three daughters, Larrison, a junior at Connecticut’s Wesleyan University and Martha, a high school junior at Groton School, near Boston.

“My children have been great sports about my not being around the past four years. They actually love the fact that I’ve been in medical school and not so focused on them. It’s a teen-ager’s dream to have a busy mother,” she said, laughing.

Sister Mary Diana Dreger is another fourth-year student who was glad to be staying at Vanderbilt.

Dreger, a Dominican nun from Nashville’s St. Cecilia Convent and the first nun to ever attend VUSM, is 42. She was sent to medical school by her fellow sisters who decided that as their convent prepared for the future, it would be a good idea to have a physician among them. She will serve her internal medicine residency at VUMC before joining her sisters back at St. Cecilia.

For Timothy Sherry and Katie Freeman the Match Day process was particularly stressful. Engaged to be married on April 21 in Birmingham, the couple participated in couple’s match, a tedious process in which couples like Sherry and Freeman must have their fates combined.

Sherry and Freeman, who got to know each other when they were partnered for a first-year oral presentation in biochemistry, found out Thursday they each received their first choice, matching at programs in Salt Lake City, Utah. Freeman will serve her pediatrics/psychiatry/child psychiatry residency at the University of Utah Affiliated Hospitals. Sherry will serve a transitional year, then his residency in Radiology at LDS Hospital and the University of Utah Affiliated Hospitals.

“They have a unique program for Katie, combining adult, child psychiatry and pediatrics, which was by far her favorite, and they have an excellent radiology program for me. Of course it doesn’t hurt that the hospital is within 35 minutes of world class skiing, near other amazing recreational opportunities, is an area of impressive natural beauty, and close to my family.”

The couple has strong family ties to Vanderbilt. Freeman’s great grandfather, Arthur M. Freeman Sr. graduated from the divinity school in 1919. Her grandfather, Arthur Jr., graduated from VUSM in 1940. Her father, Arthur III, a 1967 graduate, is chairman of the department of psychiatry at Louisiana State University Medical Center in Shreveport, La. Sherry’s brother, Rick Sherry, graduated from VUSM in 1987.