By Tina Shelton
Medicine’s own unique version of “March Madness” broke out all over the world today, as medical students around the globe learned, in one simultaneous moment, where they will begin their careers in as MDs-in-training.
The madness included the Aloha State, at the University of Hawai`i John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), where 59 members of the MD Class of 2014 ripped open the sealed envelopes which revealed where they “matched” into Residency Training programs.
In the months leading up to today, each student has interviewed at multiple post-graduate training programs, making a list of the top three places they’d like to go to learn their specialties. Every post-MD training program in North America has also made its lists of whom they would most like to accept into their programs. A computer matches the students with the programs on this single, emotion-filled day called “Match Day.”
In Hawai`i, shortly after 6 a.m., before the envelopes were opened, Class President Ken Ortiz sought to lighten the mood, which was a tense combination of excitement and stressful anticipation. “This is like the NFL Draft for nerds,” he said, prompting much laughter.
In fact, mimicking an NFL Draft tradition, Thomas Jessie (TJ) Aldan, who matched into the Hawai`i Internal Medicine Residency, sported a cap emblazoned with the UH Rainbow Warriors’ “H” logo. “I came prepared,” he proclaimed. Also wearing pile of lei from classmates around his neck, Aldan said he would become the first “second-generation” physician from Saipan to graduate from JABSOM. His father, Vicente, graduated from the University of Hawai`i medical school in 1990, and is practicing Family Medicine in Saipan, the largest of the Northern Mariana Islands.
See slideshow photos without flash player at UH MED FLICKR.
Many students were accompanied to Match Day by their parents, including Haleiwa’s Kendra Dilcher, who will enter the Pediatrics Residency Program in Honolulu. Her father, Dr. T. Dilcher, a family physician on O’ahu’s North Shore, says Kendra literally grew up in the doctor’s office, helping out. “She loves kids,” he said, acknowledging his daughter’s interest in becoming a pediatrician. “But I’m holding out hope she might switch later to family medicine,” he added, with a chuckle. Kendra was ecstatic with her match.
“This is one of the best moments of my life,” she said. ”I can’t remember a time where I have been more happy. I have my family here supporting me,” said Kindra Dilcher. It’s one of the biggest steps I have ever taken in my career so it is really important to me that my dreams came true.”
Jared Pate was finally feeling calm after he matched into the Orthopedic Surgery Program in Akron, Ohio. “I think a sigh of relief just to know where you are going and where you will be spending the next five years of your life. And then also, just knowing that, you really have, it’s now final. Like, you have a position that you will be going to next year,” said Pate.
Three of the members of the Class of 2014 became parents during their four years at JABSOM. Among them, Benjamin Greidanus, who plans to become an anesthesiologist. He, his wife, Katie, and infant daughter, Alison, will be heading to Canada, where he matched into a Family Medicine Residency in Edmonton. “I’m happy, but I’m going to be sad to leave Hawai`i,” Greidanus said.
The 59 JABSOM students matching today will begin their careers as physicians-in-training in a dozen states, the District of Columbia and Canada. The states include Hawai`i, Washington, California, Arizona, Texas, Oregon, Ohio, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire.
Among the happiest couple among those matching at UH today were Alexander Lin (Ophthalmology) and Yuree Nam, (Internal Medicine). They are sweethearts who each matched to programs in Seattle.
Twenty-five of the students at the UH medical school will remain in Hawai`i to practice medicine under the supervision of UH faculty in Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Obstetrics & Gynecology. The UH medical school also oversees residency programs in Geriatric Medicine, Pathology and Surgery.
“I really want to thank all the faculty and staff here at JABSOM, my friends and family for all the support they have given me and you know, just the opportunity that University of Hawai`i has given me to become a physician, make my dreams come true,” said Jodi Kagihara, who will enter the Internal Medicine Program in Honolulu.
The UH residency training programs are a partnership with the key training sites where students learn at the patient’s bedsides in their third and fourth years of medical school and where post-MD training as residents is centered. Those primary locations include The Queen’s Medical Center (Internal Medicine, Surgery, Psychiatry), the Hawai`i Pacific Health hospitals including Kap`iolani Medical Center (Pediatrics, OB-GYN), Kuakini Medical Center (Geriatric Medicine) and Wahiawā General Hospital (Family Medicine). The Pathology Residency is based at JABSOM’s Kaka`ako campus. See the entire Match List at Class of 2014 Match Results. Read about the Match nationwide stats at THE NMRP.