Matches made in medicine

Standing on stage, Dr. Patrick Duff lobbed a ball to UF softball player Stacey Stevens. It was a ceremonial first pitch to kick off Match Day — held at the J. Wayne Reitz Union and viewed around the world as family and friends tuned in to celebrate the UF College of Medicine class of 2012 and watch as they uncovered where they would be spending the next several years of their medical careers.

Stacey Stevens, who used to play on the Gator softball team, caught Dr. Patrick Duff's ceremonial 'first pitch' to commemorate the start of the Match Day event. Stevens commissioned in the U.S. Navy in the spring of 2008 and matched in OB-GYN to U.S. Naval Medical Center in San Diego. Photo by Maria Belen Farias

“I think I’m having a heart attack … I’m feeling tingly,” said Patrick Buchanan, a fourth-year medical student who bravely approached the lectern, reading his letter for the first time in front of the crowd, including his mother and sister, who were watching online. He took a deep breath and announced where he will train in plastic surgery.

“The University of Michigan. Go blue!”

Buchanan was one of 129 soon-to-be graduates of the UF College of Medicine who learned where they matched for their residency training during the college’s annual Match Day ceremony, held March 17 at the Reitz Union.

“This is about to be a very profound moment. Thank you in advance for the great things you are going to do for the profession of medicine,” said Michael Good, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine.

Dr. Patrick Duff talks with fourth-year medical student Chris Newman just before the start of the event. Photo by Jesse S. Jones

Before the ‘first pitch,’ Chris Newman said he was very superstitious and didn’t want to disclose where he hoped to match, saying he just wants to be happy and surrounded by other passionate people. An hour later, however, the fourth-year medical student was beaming. Newman matched in neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

“This is a very exciting time for me and I got my No. 1 choice!” he said.

This year, the top three specialties of the class were medicine, emergency medicine and pediatrics, with a total of 33 percent of students choosing a primary care specialty, such as family or internal medicine, pediatrics or obstetrics/gynecology.

Click here for a video highlighting Match Day.

Dr. Patrick Duff, Associate Dean of Student Affairs, looks over the students' envlopes prior to the start of the UF College of Medicine's Match Day, Friday, March 16, 2012. Photo by Jesse S. Jones

Twenty-three percent will stay in Florida for their residencies, with 12 students staying at UF to complete their residency training, said Duff, the college’s associate dean for student affairs.

One of the students to stay at UF was Avan Armaghani, whose brother is a 2010 UF College of Medicine graduate. With her parents by her side and her grandparents watching from Iraq, Armaghani learned that she received her first choice: a residency in internal medicine at UF.

“I couldn’t have wished for a better school. I was born and raised in Gainesville and I know that this program is the best fit for me. I know I will receive the best training,” she said.

Click here to view more Match Day 2012 photos.