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A match made in medicine: Match Day celebration marks turning point for UTSW medical students

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This story was originally posted on Center Times Plus on March 15.

Drumrolls and chatter permeated the air as hundreds of eager hands grasped envelopes in the Bryan Williams, M.D. Student Center in anticipation as the digital clock counted down to zero. Each envelope contained one sheet of paper – which identified the students’ next steps toward their career goals – safely hidden until 11 a.m. DST, March 15. Match Day was underway.

Faculty, family, and friends gathered on the basketball court and watched as more than 200 graduating UT Southwestern medical students joined thousands more at medical schools across the country to reveal their futures. Drumrolls and chatter gave way to excited whoops and enthusiastic hugs as the students learned their futures.

During the fourth year of medical school, each student applies and interviews at a dozen or more residency programs in their desired specialty. The students and the programs rate each other, and the National Resident Matching Program runs an algorithm to determine the highest match. Married couples or committed partners can link their preference lists so that they can match in the same location. Of the 209 who matched, 59 will serve their residencies at UT Southwestern hospitals.

“Each Match Day is the most exciting and emotional day of the year, and this year is no different,” said Dr. Angela Mihalic, Dean of Medical Students and Associate Dean for Student Affairs. “In particular, the Class of 2019 has an adventurous spirit and resilience that allowed them to take on a new curriculum that will help them continue to thrive no matter what challenges they face in their future endeavors. I look forward to celebrating the advancements they will one day make in science and medicine and the countless lives that they will touch throughout their careers.”

For 2019, the top five residency specialties selected by our graduates were:

  • Internal Medicine
  • Family Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics
  • Anesthesiology, Obstetrics and Gynecology (tie)

Every medical student has a compelling story. Several from the Class of 2019 shared thoughts about their future careers in medicine and their reactions upon learning where they matched.

For a full list of the students and their matches, see the full match list.

Stephanie Florez-Pollack with Dr. Shawna Nesbitt
Graduating senior Stephanie Florez-Pollack with Dr. Shawna Nesbitt, Associate Dean in the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion.

Stephanie Florez-Pollack

Where she matched: Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Specialty: Dermatology
Reaction: “The University of Pennsylvania has one of the most excellent Dermatology programs. I’m really excited that I’ll be training there for the next four years, and I look forward to becoming a leader in the field. I’ve been amazed by the support that I’ve gotten today. It’s a beautiful thing that I have a community of people who really care about me and want the best for me,” she said. That support included some mighty hugs from Dr. Shawna Nesbitt, Associate Dean in the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion: “Dr. Nesbitt has from Day 1 supported me in every endeavor, in every project, and more than anything, she has been a second mother to me here in the Medical School.”

Read more about Ms. Florez-Pollack’s UTSW medical school journey.

Gene Hu and Loved One
Gene Hu (left) with friend Loktao Shing.

Gene Hu

Where he matched: University of California, San Francisco
Specialty: Internal Medicine
Reaction: “I’m very happy – we’re very happy, oh yes,” he said, gesturing to his fiancé, Stephanie Guo. “So I started the day feeling OK, and then I got more and more nervous until 11. But now I’m here and really relieved and just really excited to start the next chapter.”

Read more about Mr. Hu’s UTSW medical school journey.

Mikey Kutschke
Mikey Kutschke

Mikey Kutschke

Where he matched: Rhode Island Hospital/Brown University
Specialty: Orthopedics
Reaction: “This was a total surprise. The emotions leading up to today were very, very unbelievable. I don’t know how to put it all into one sentence. I think my wife’s energy is probably influencing how excited I was about it, because I’m not one to get typically worked up, but knowing that it affected her so much, I did get excited.”

Read more about Mr. Kutschke’s UTSW medical school journey.

Christian Leal
Christian Leal

Christian Leal

Where he matched: University of Oklahoma College of Medicine
Specialty: Ophthalmology
Reaction: “I feel amazing! I’m so excited. I’m so thrilled to be in the next part of my journey.”

Read more about Mr. Leal’s UTSW medical school journey.

Shayna Ratner
Shayna Ratner

Shayna Ratner

Where she matched: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center
Specialty: Psychiatry
Reaction: “I'm very excited to go to Columbia, but it's bittersweet because I love UT Southwestern,” Ms. Ratner said. “My brother lives in New York City and I have a lot of family there, so that was part of the reason I wanted to go there. I'm looking forward to not driving and using public transportation, and the food there is so good!”

Read more about Ms. Ratner’s UTSW medical school journey.

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