Ashley Black let a friend take a peek at her results, but she forced herself to wait until she was called onstage to open her envelope and find out where she would be headed for her residency.
She wasn’t disappointed. Not only did she get one of her top choices, Black made history by becoming the first UF medical student to match in cardiothoracic surgery, a relatively new residency program, at Stanford University.
“I just feel so relieved,” said Black, a member of the UF College of Medicine’s class of 2013.
Black is one of 127 medical students graduating May 11, who found out where they matched for their residency training during the college’s annual Match Day ceremony, held March 15 at the J. Wayne Reitz Union. Family and friends worldwide, from India to Macau, also viewed a live video stream of the event online.
Michael Good, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine, said Match Day is such an important day that he could still recall his own 29 years later. He was a graduating medical student at the University of Michigan and he was matched to an anesthesiology residency at the University of Florida.
“This year, I’ll be celebrating 30 years at the University of Florida,” he said. “That is how profound today is.”
Thirty-one percent of graduating students will stay in Florida for their residencies, with 23 percent doing their residency at UF, said Patrick Duff, M.D., the college’s associate dean for student affairs.
Nationally, 163 students matched to residencies at the UF College of Medicine in Gainesville, said Michael E. Mahla, M.D., associate dean for graduate medical education. An additional 81 students matched to UF College of Medicine-Jacksonville residency programs.
One of those students who will be staying at UF for residency training at UF is Eva Vertes, whose father drove for two days from Ontario, Canada through snowstorms to attend her Match Day ceremony.
“UF just rocks-I love it,” said Vertes, who was matched to a pathology residency at UF Gainesville, which was her first choice. Her husband, Evan George, is an attorney in Gainesville and the couple is expecting their first child in August.
Forty-one percent of graduating UF students chose a primary care specialty, such as family or internal medicine, pediatrics or obstetrics/gynecology. The most popular specialties among the class of 2013 were internal medicine, pediatrics and emergency medicine.
Ashley Patterson will be headed to Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Jacobi) in the Bronx, NY for her pediatrics residency. She said she’s ready for a big city and the new responsibility of being a doctor.
Her parents said Patterson had said she wanted to be a pediatrician since she was 5 years old.
“She’s our family’s first doctor,” said her mother, Margaret Patterson.
Desmond Schatz, M.D., medical director of the UF Diabetes Center of Excellence and associate chair of pediatrics at the UF College of Medicine, said his experience matching to a residency in his native South Africa was not the exciting event that it is here in the U.S. But he was thrilled to share his son Richard’s news that he will be headed to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston for a residency in internal medicine.
“It just brought back wonderful memories of the combination of hard work and the desire to succeed and help other people,” said the elder Schatz. “This is a very proud moment for me.”
Lauren Lee, who was the only member of her class to do the military match, found out Dec. 12 that she matched to an internal medicine residency at Lackland Air Force Base at Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. But she said it was exciting to find out where the rest of her classmates were headed.
“We have a lot of really successful people,” she said.
Five couples from the class chose to match to residencies together. One of those couples, Will McFarland and Diana Mora-Montero, both matched to UF Gainesville. McFarland is specializing in diagnostic radiology and Mora-Montero’s residency is in emergency medicine.
“She agreed to a couples match before I proposed to her…and she said ‘yes’ to that too,” said McFarland.
Medical student Tim Tidwell was anxious to see what state he and his family would be living in for the next few years.
“This will be the second surprise in the last year,” joked Tidwell, looking at his 5-month-son Oaks.
An hour later, Tidwell and his wife, Meagan, found out they were headed to Exempla St. Joseph Hospital Program in Denver, Co. for his internal medicine residency.
“We got our number one,” said Meagan Tidwell, who smiled happily at Oaks. “He better learn how to ski.”