June 8, 2001
Volume XXXIV, No. 23



In Memoriam


Match Day sends medical seniors to their futures

Photo of student with letter Nahla Darkazally (left) shows off her match letter. She and Rob Dickson (right) were matched to emergency medicine residency programs in Indiana. Dickson's wife, Joanie (in back), celebrates with them.

All graduating classes are different, but each class has its own personality. The Medical School class of 2001 is no exception. James Davey, a descendent of the Alamo's Davy Crockett, will be going to Washington, D.C. to study obstetrics and gynecology. Nicholas (Nhat) Vuong, whose parents are still living in North Vietnam, will move to Houston to pursue anesthesiology. Heather McKenzie will remain in San Antonio and train in physical medicine and rehabilitation right here at the UTHSC.

With laughter, tears and camaraderie, the seniors and some of their family, friends and faculty gathered at the Leon Springs Dance Hall on a recent Thursday morning to finally learn where they would be going for their internships and residencies after graduation.

A few students had automatic military matches, while some received early matches. But the majority — 175 of the 194 graduating seniors — had participated in the National Resident Matching Program by applying last October, interviewing at various possible programs in December, and submitting their list of ranked choices by February. Once the programs and the students had evaluated each other, would it be psychiatry in New York? Family practice in California? Pediatrics right here in San Antonio?

Photo of student on phone Student Manali Shendrikar (left) calls her husband in California with good news — that she was matched to a family practice residency program in the Golden State. Niki Kadir, who was matched to a neurology residency program in Illinois, shares in her excitement.

Once the envelopes were handed out, ripped open and the dust had settled, the numbers were impressive. One hundred and nine graduates got their first choice and an additional 30 got their second or third choices. As in recent years, a large proportion selected, and were matched with, primary care positions in pediatrics, family practice, internal medicine and obstetrics and gynecology.

"We were very pleased at how the class did," said senior associate dean in the medical dean's office, Dr. Nan Clare, who handed out some of the fateful envelopes to nervous students. "They made very intelligent choices. And a little more than 48 percent of the students selected primary care, which is above the national average."

Photo Wartman and student Dr. Steven A. Wartman, dean of the Medical School and executive vice president for academic and health affairs, congratulates Ellen Thomason on her match to a residency program in general surgery at the Health Science Center.

Thirty-five students selected family practice and 24 chose internal medicine. A larger than usual number of students selected anesthesiology this year — 21. "I knew I wanted to be an anesthesiologist when I first began that rotation during my third year," said Todd Wheeler, who is headed to Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta to pursue that specialty.

Pediatrics attracted 20 students, general surgery attracted 14, ob-gyn was a match for 12, and emergency medicine attracted 10. "I like the fact that emergency medicine physicians can do something positive for patients in need," said Jerald Wieters, originally from Marion just outside San Antonio. He will work on his emergency medicine residency training at Texas A&M Scott and White Hospital in Temple. Other matches were scattered among 17 other specialties.

"Eighty-six students will remain in Texas for their postgraduate training," Dr. Clare said, "and 30 of them will be working right next door at University Hospital."

According to the National Resident Matching Program, 20,411 applicants were placed into 3,790 residency programs at 675 teaching hospitals throughout the country this year.