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Match Day marks a milestone for medical students

Mar. 21, 2013

Fourth-year medical students across the nation, including 304 from the IU School of Medicine, learned where they will spend the next three to seven years of their lives on March 15 during “Match Day,” when they get their assignments for residency training, the final phase of their training to practice medicine. 

The day symbolizes the end of the all-consuming four years of medical school and the beginning of specialized residency training in the area the student selected for a career path. It is a time for reflection, a time for contemplation -- and a time to celebrate.

“It’s a lot of anticipation,” said Adrienne Cobb, who will be studying general surgery at Loyola Medical Center in Chicago. “Where you get matched pretty much determines what you’re going to do for at least the next few years of your life. I feel like I can finally start concentrating on the next step.”

The event, which is administered through the National Resident Matching Program of the Association of American Medical Colleges, coordinates thousands of medical students' and U.S. hospital programs' preferences based upon students applications and interview for their preferred residency positions throughout the nation. The program, which does not release its results until noon on Friday during the third week of March, is the main pathway by which most medical school graduates enter their residency training under the supervision of veteran physicians.

Other medical students to match on March 15 included:

Joshua Garza, a medical student at IU School of Medicine-Northwest, will be studying in anesthesia at the University of Arizona. He fit right in in the sea of green at the IUPUI Campus Center, where students donned matching shirts in honor of St. Patrick’s Day and prepared to walk the stage to read aloud the name and location of their “match.” Just a few short years ago, however, Garza was an electrician working a job straight out of high school.

“I decided to make the leap and go back to school,” said Garza, who decided to forfeit a position earning $38 dollars an hour for the chance to pursue something more challenging.

 “I like the hands-on approach of anesthesiology, he added. You get to work with a variety of medical cases and age ranges. Your job is the same -- you are there to stabilize the patient and ease their anxiety -- but you may see a baby born, a heart surgery or a pediatric surgery all in the same day.”

Ted Dropcho, who matched in internal medicine at IU Health, said the university medical center is familiar to him -- his father Edward Dropcho is a neuro-oncologist at IU Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center and his mother, Sheila Dropcho, is an oncology nurse at IU. His three-year internal medicine residence is just a starting point for him.

I feel very happy -- and relieved,” he said. “It’s exciting to know that I’ve got a job here and am will be a good group. I  really wanted to stay in Indiana – my finance is here – now I’ve got a little time her where we can finally relax a little before hitting the ground running in July.”

Dropcho plans to focus on the area of hematology/oncology due to the amount of care required by patients in the area and the opportunities to conduct research into fighting back the disease.

Chiba Ene, Ph.D., who was joined by his wife, Rachel Ene, and 19-month-old son, Benjamin, matched in neurosurgery at University of Washington in Seattle.

Dr. Ene grew up in Benin City, Nigeria. While attending IU School of Medicine, he was selected as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scholar, an honor that involves working at an HHMI lab for a year. That opportunity led to another -- a chance to attend Cambridge University in England, where he received a Ph.D. Now he is headed for seven years of training to become a neurosurgeon.

Maria Herrera, will serve for the next three years as pediatric resident at IU Health. Born in Guatemala, Maria and her family moved to Miami when she was 5.

“I’m primarily interested in working with underserved minority populations,” she said, adding that Indiana is a great place to practice due to the diversity of the underserved population.

Jean Masoso, a native of Zimbabwe whose lived in Indianapolis for the past eight years, matched in family medicine at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center in Baltimore, Md. She plans to practice medicine in a community setting and to share the advantages that her medical degree will bring.

“I want to do mission work -- going back to Africa to give back,” she said.

Nuria Rosa matched at IU in internal medicine. A native of Honduras, she completed a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry at Lipscomb University in Nashvill, Tenn. A host family there helped her attend medical school.

“I read a lot about IU and it had a lot of connections with Honduras,” Rosa said, noting she chose to study at the university due to the medical mission work performed by faculty and staff at the IU School of Medicine. “I like all the programs they have for working with the underserved.”

Holly Smith, who attended Match Day with her husband, Eric, and nine-month-old daughter, Addison, will study family medicine at St. Vincent Health. An Indianapolis native and IUPUI alumnas, Smith was happy to learn she would have the opportunity to server her community in residency.

They called four names for the same residency in front of me, so I was getting pretty nervous,” she said. “But when you finally get that envelop and open it and find out where you’re going – no matter where you’re placed -- it’s just such a cathartic moment.”

Overall, IU School of Medicine students in the Class of 2013 accepted residency positions in 36 states, including Indiana. Other facts about this year's residency matches from the IU School of Medicine:

 41 percent of the students will pursue at least part of their residencies in Indiana.
 80 students will be residents at IU Hospital, Riley Hospital for Children, other IU Health facilities, Wishard Health Services or the Roudebush VA Medical Center.
 40 percent of IU School of Medicine graduates will enter primary-care programs, which includes internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, primary internal medicine and combined internal medicine-pediatrics.

The students will receive their medical degrees on May 12.

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