Miller School students share Match Day with families and friends

Alain Artiles matched in emergency medicine at UM/Jackson. Photo courtesy Alain Artiles
By News@TheU

Alain Artiles matched in emergency medicine at UM/Jackson. Photo courtesy Alain Artiles

Miller School students share Match Day with families and friends

By News@TheU
Unable to celebrate together on the medical campus because of health precautions related to COVID-19, medical school graduates learned about their residency matches by email from the national agency that coordinates the program.

Natalia Parra was nervous about where she would be placed for an obstetrics-gynecology residency after earning her medical degree at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. 

“This is the next step in my career, and all my studies have led to this point,” she said, before learning she would be going to New York Presbyterian Hospital—Columbia University Medical Center in New York. 

For Jason Onugha, a residency in psychiatry at Northwestern McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University was the fulfillment of a dream, just as it was for Sumedh Shah, who will pursue his career in neurological surgery at UM/Jackson Memorial Hospital. “My father had brain cancer, and that’s why I became a doctor,” said Shah. 

Parra, Onugha, and Shah were among the 179 members of the Miller School’s Class of 2020 who learned of their residency matches at noon on Friday, March 20. In past years, students celebrated Match Day on the Schoninger Research Quadrangle. But this year the medical campus was deserted because of COVID-19 health precautions. Instead, students got individual emails directly from the National Residency Match Program (NRMP) with the news. 

“Although we can't be together physically today, we are all cheering your amazing milestone and accomplishment remotely,” said Dr. Alex J. Mechaber, professor of medicine, Bernard J. Fogel Chair in Medical Education, and senior associate dean for undergraduate medical education.

“Today, we are all surrounded by uncertainty and looking for help and guidance,” added Mechaber. “You are brave, well-prepared for those challenges, and you will make an impact on the world.” 

Each year, students in the Miller School graduating class apply for residencies at medical institutions throughout the country, which then send their preferences for individual residents. On Match Day, the NRMP releases the results to applicants for residency positions. 

Mechaber said 26 percent of the graduating class will be staying at the UM/Jackson Memorial Hospital or at UM at Holy Cross in Fort Lauderdale, up from 21 percent last year. That includes Jessica Moore, who will be an ob-gyn resident, and her fiancé Joshua Goldstein, whose residency will be in emergency medicine.

“My father, Alan P. Goldstein, was a physician who graduated from our medical school in 1974 and passed away when I was 10,” said Goldstein.  “To be here, nearly 50 years after he matched, is a surreal experience. I feel like we have come in a full circle, and I have a deep appreciation for what my dad did with his life.” 

Looking at other trends, Mechaber said there was an uptick in residencies in family medicine, emergency medicine, and general surgery. About 36 percent of all graduates, and 41 percent of M.D./M.P.H. graduates, will be going into primary-care fields. 

Mechaber noted that 36 percent of graduates will be staying in Florida for some component of their training, up from 30 percent last year. Another 13 percent will be going to California and 9 percent to New York. 

Heading for the farthest corner of the continental U.S., Andrew Stine-Rowe will begin a residency in family medicine this fall at the University of Washington’s affiliated hospitals in Seattle. 

“I worked for a tech company for several years before deciding on a medical career where I could have a direct relationship with patients,” he said. “For me, this match was an ideal fit.”