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The Class of 2010 Celebrates Match Day with Tears of Joy and Shouts of Glee

3/19/2010

Kicking off the Miller School Class of 2010’s Match Day, Aylin Tansel spelled out the rules to fellow fourth-year medical students anxiously waiting to learn where they’ll spend the next three to seven years in residency training:

When your name is called, come to the stage. Pose for the camera. Open the envelope. Toss $5 in the basket. Put a sticker on the map marking your destination. But, most of all, “be really proud and excited because you worked really hard to get there.’’

Few in the boisterous crowd gathered under the white party tent on the Schonliger Research Quadrangle Thursday had trouble complying with Tansel’s instructions.

Angela Dunn jumped up and down and screamed “Oh, my God!’’ upon learning she’d be heading to Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles for her obstetrics-gynecology residency.

David Dunhill pumped his fist in the air when he tore open his envelope and read he’d be doing his internal medicine training at Emory University. “That’s kind of a surprise,’’ he said. “It was my first choice but I got a sort of last-second interview there.’’

Anthony Daniyan let out a huge sigh of relief before belting out the only word he had hoped to see next to internal medicine: “Cornell!”

“I’m going back to New York City,’’ Daniyan exalted, after hugging his wife and texting his mom in Nigeria with news of his next locale. “I’m so excited. I have family there. My wife’s family is there. We’ll be broke as hell but I love that city.’’

Daniyan’s three young sons, who accompanied their father on stage dressed in shirts and ties, weren’t sure what all the fuss was about. But, as Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt noted, where newly graduated doctors pursue their specialties is no small matter.

“This is a big step, folks, because 60 percent of residents spend their lives and their careers where they did their residencies - so you better have picked the right place,’’ Dean Goldschmidt said, having great fun estimating racing pulse rates of trembling students as he emceed the festive ceremony. “I can assure you, no one picked Alaska.’’

Always a celebration at the Miller School, Match Day is conducted simultaneously at all U.S. medical schools by the National Resident Matching Program. Established in 1952 to provide a uniform date of appointment to positions in graduate medical education, the program relies on a computerized mathematical algorithm to match the ranked preferences of graduating medical students with the preferences of residency programs looking to fill thousands of positions available at U.S. teaching hospitals.

This year’s match was the largest in history, with 30,543 applicants. Of the Miller School’s 155 applicants, 68 are headed to primary care residencies and 41 are staying in Florida, including 28 who will remain at Jackson Memorial.

Shevonne Satahoo, who will train in general surgery, was ecstatic to be in the latter group. “I can breathe now!’’ she said, wiping tears and hugging friends.

Bradley Schmit and Jessica Linder, who will marry in eight weeks, were among the record 808 couples across the nation who linked their rank lists to ensure they could train near one another. They’ll both be at the University of Florida, he in internal medicine and she in general surgery.

Naureen Farid was elated to be among eight Miller students heading to the UT Southwestern Medical Center. She said the Dallas program was her No. 1 choice for internal medical because it’s “a high-volume center” with a great program and great people.

“I’m shocked,’’ she said. “I never thought I’d get in.’’

But Mark T. O’Connell, M.D., senior associate dean for medical education, wasn’t the least bit surprised, given the Miller School’s proven reputation. “What happens is they get one or two of our students and realize what quality they are and they set up a pipeline,’’ O’Connell said. “Our students are going to a lot of great programs coast to coast.’’

Among them: Dartmouth, Massachusetts General, Baylor, Case Western, Boston University, New York University and the University of Pittsburgh.
The match process actually began weeks earlier, when seniors traveled the country interviewing and meeting faculty at their preferred programs. For example, Raja Mohan spent two months “living out of a suitcase” to visit 20 programs. So after all that effort, and all the hard work of the previous four years, he was thrilled with the result.

He’ll be heading to his No. 1 choice, Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he plans to train in plastic microsurgery under one of the world’s foremost hand surgeons.

“Today’s my birthday so it was like the best birthday gift,’’ Mohan said.

Melissa Diamond got a double gift – news that she’ll be staying at Jackson for pediatrics, and the basket of $5 bills contributed by her classmates for the “torture” of being the very last person of the Class of 2010 to be called to the stage.

For Dean Goldschmidt, 2010 Match Day was particularly sweet. The 2010 class was the first he welcomed after becoming dean in 2006. “They are a fabulous group of students,’’ he said.