Happy Trails

May 16, 2014 at 12:02 pm by Staff

UCF College of Medicine celebrates 100 percent match rate for 2014

On Match Day 2014, UCF College of Medicine administrators dangled 55 gold and black paper lanterns from palm trees on the medical school’s Tavistock Green, each holding a sealed envelope containing the student’s residency match. After the clock tower tolled 12 times at noon, students pulled a string on the lantern to free their envelope and learn where they would spend the next several years of residency training. It’s the first year the school celebrated a 100 percent match rate for 2014.

Cheers, tears of joy, and the hugging of loved ones punctuated the ripping open of envelopes. Avianne Bunnell reached her hands up to the sky and said, “Thank you, God!” as she learned she would go to her first choice, the Medical University of South Carolina, to be a vascular surgeon. Bunnell’s husband, Brian, matched into a pre-doctoral program in clinical psychology at the same university about a week earlier. The couple approached Match Day unsure if they would be sent to the same location.

“I’m absolutely thrilled,” Bunnell said. “I’m so, so blessed.”

Jennifer Bazemore, a UCF biomedical sciences honors undergraduate, will complete her pediatric residency at Johns Hopkins. “I’m beyond excited,” she said, of landing her top choice at one of America’s premier programs. “I can’t stop crying.”

This year, USF medical school seniors matched into residency programs across the country in specialties that included primary care, anesthesiology, dermatology and vascular surgery. In-state residency locations include Orlando Health, Florida Hospital, University of Florida, University of South Florida, Miami Children’s Hospital and the Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education in Jacksonville. National residency locations include Harvard’s Massachusetts General, Georgetown University and Stanford University.

Deborah German, MD, vice president for medical affairs and founding dean of the College of Medicine, said she was “delighted” with the Class of 2014 match, the second in the young school’s history.

“As our students continue their training, they’ll care for patients throughout Florida and the nation,” she said. “They’re carrying on the legacy of our young medical school as UCF-educated physicians.”

Omar Shakeel opened his match envelope standing near his mother and learned he’ll do his pediatric residency at Emory University, his first choice. “I love taking care of kids. They’re the future,” he said. “And right now, I’m remembering everything these people did to get me here.”

Learning where they will pursue their residencies is the final hurdle before the college’s second class graduates on May 16. This year, 34,270 applicants participated in the national match program.

Many UCF students placed into primary care specialties – nine matched into internal medicine, eleven matched into pediatrics. Thirteen students matched in Orlando – 10 at Orlando Health, two at Florida Hospital and one at UCF’s new residency program. (Last year, only 10 UCF medical school seniors matched in-state.)

Alvin Detorres, a Stetson University graduate, matched at Georgetown University for otolaryngology. “I’m very excited,” he said. “I get to help people hear music the way I hear music.”

Bobby Palmer matched into orthopedic surgery at his first choice, the University of Florida College of Medicine in Jacksonville. An emotional Palmer dedicated his match to his grandfather, who had died a day earlier.

“I’m from a small town in South Florida, so Jacksonville felt like home to me,” he said, adding that he’s always been comfortable with tools, such as the ones orthopedic surgeons use. “I guess that’s because my granddad had a hardware store when I was growing up.”

UCF College of Medicine: http://med.ucf.edu/

Sections: Events