HOUSTON - (March 16, 2012) – With four years of medical school nearly behind them, 216 excited students at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School found out today – Match Day - where they will begin the next phase of their medical training.
Match Day is an annual event that occurs simultaneously across the country as students are matched with residencies with the aid of computer technology and the National Resident Matching Program. UTHealth students were among more than 38,300 participants competing for 26,772 residency positions.
“This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for,” said Katherine Lusk, president of UTHealth Medical School’s Class of 2012. Lusk learned today that she will remain at UTHealth for her pediatrics residency.
Of the 216 members of the graduating class at the UTHealth Medical School, 48 percent will stay in Texas for residency training. Twenty-one percent will stay right here at UTHealth! Almost a third of the class will do primary care residencies in internal medicine, family medicine and pediatrics.
The tight-knit class forged friendships during Hurricane Ike, which struck the Gulf Coast right before the students’ first big exam. Since then, together they have learned what it takes to be physicians dedicated to excellence in patient care.
In the months leading up to Match Day, the students interviewed with residency programs across the country. In line with national trends, internal medicine and anesthesiology were among the most popular areas of medicine that members of UTHealth Medical School’s Class of 2012 selected for residency training.
“We are very proud of this incredible class,” said Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, M.D., president ad interim of UTHealth and dean of the UTHealth Medical School.
Surrounded by family, friends and faculty, the students opened envelopes to reveal the location of their residency.
Here are stories from a few of the students who participated in this year’s match:
Lisa Osterhout, 29, had promising careers as a marketing executive and graphic artist, but she discovered that the volunteer work she was doing on weekends was far more rewarding that her weekdays promoting popular rock bands and creating 3D special effects. She was already contemplating a career move when, in 2004, she suddenly became sick. Two surgeries, encouragement from family and friends and news reports about the Indian Ocean tsunami ultimately led to her decision to become a physician committed to public service. In the summer of 2005, the Pearland native returned to The University of Texas at Austin, where she had previously earned a degree in marketing, to complete her pre-med coursework. “Medicine allows me to integrate the creative aspects from my previous work while focusing on service,” she said. Since enrolling at the UTHealth Medical School, she has served as executive director at the H.O.M.E.S. Clinic in Houston and founded a sustainable project to improve health in children’s homes in Kenya. This has been a big week for Osterhout. Yesterday, she got engaged. Today, she learned that she will be doing her pediatrics residency at University of Texas Southwestern Austin – her first choice!
When Irving Basanez arrived on the UTHealth campus in 2008 at the age of 19, he was the youngest student ever admitted to the Medical School. Basanez - who moved with his family from Veracruz, Mexico when he was 8 years old to live in Pharr, Texas - finished high school in three years and pushed himself to finish college in the same length of time. During his first year of medical school, he became interested in otolaryngology and decided he wanted to do his residency training in the ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialty. He also became interested in global health issues and participated in a number of mission trips, including one to Nigeria where he donated his own blood to save a woman from bleeding to death. Basanez was excited to learn today that he will be doing his residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “I’ve had such great mentors here (at UTHealth). I want to pay it forward and encourage and mentor students with an interest in ENT and global health,” Basanez said. “And I would like to come back and practice in the (Rio Grande) Valley.” Now 22, Basanez jokes, “Medical school has aged me.”
Chika Nwankwo, 25, is one of more than two dozen UTHealth Medical School students who will be doing graduate medical training in anesthesiology. And Nwankwo will be doing her residency right here at UTHealth! “It was the rotation I enjoyed the most and I have found that it is the most compatible with my personality,” she said. “In the OR, you encounter cases that are new, different and, at times, challenging. I think it is the variety that draws me to the field.” Nwankwo was born in Nigeria and moved to Dallas with her family when she was 10. Growing up, she remembers her mother, a nurse, telling her and her brothers and sister, “You’re all going to be doctors.” Nwankwo jokes that she was the only child who listened. In May, she and her fellow classmates will earn their medical degrees
Adam Weisbruch, 28, didn’t originally plan to become a doctor. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology and then took a job as a concierge at an upscale hotel in Dallas. Volunteering at a camp for children with diabetes was one of the reasons he chose to get out of the hospitality industry and into a profession in a hospital. Unlike the majority of his classmates, he was not at all anxious about the unknowns leading up to Match Day. That is because he is among a small group of UTHealth students who participated in the military match or early match. In December, he learned that he’ll be doing his internal medicine residency at Brooks Army Medical Center in San Antonio. “It was just like any other day,” Weisbruch said. “I received an email in the middle of the work day while I was on rotation. The attending congratulated me, and then it was back to work.” Weisbruch, a Dallas native who is married with four children, said he is happy to be staying in Texas for his residency training. “I love the environment of military medicine,” he said. He attended Match Day to support his classmates and take part in the celebration.
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